Books: Animal Queen

CLOSE TO COLETTE (245 pp.)—Maurice Goudeket—Farrar Straus & Cudahy ($4).

"The feminine face needs leafage," Colette used to say, and regardless of fashion, she wore her hair pulled down over her forehead. Hundreds of photographers presented her to the world masked by her "leafage"—until one day, on her 80th birthday, Vogue's Irving Penn took "a staggering photograph" that left France's greatest authoress "exposed before posterity" (see cut). As if really seeing her for the first time, Colette's husband, Maurice Goudeket, marveled at what lay beneath the leafage—"a huge, domed forehead, like Beethoven's ....

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