From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Louise Colet (August 15, 1810 – March 9, 1876), born Louise Revoil, was a poet born in Aix-en-Provence in France. In her twenties she married Hippolyte Colet, an academic musician, partly in order to escape provincial life and live in Paris.
Upon arrival in Paris, Colet began to submit her work for approval and publication and soon won a two-thousand-franc prize from the Académie française, the first of four prizes won from the Académie. Today critics claim she won the prizes, not by merit, but through the influence of friends. At her salon she associated with many of her contemporaries in the Parisian literary community, such as Victor Hugo.
In 1840 she gave birth to her daughter Henriette, but neither her husband nor her lover, Victor Cousin, would acknowledge paternity. Later she became the paramour of Gustave Flaubert, Alfred de Musset, and Abel Villemain. After her husband died, Colet supported herself and her daughter with her writing.
Her brother was painter Pierre Révoil. Louise Colet died in Paris.
Though married to Hyppolite Colet, Louise had a steamy eight-year affair with Gustave Flaubert. The relationship turned sour, however, and they broke up. Louise is said to be inspiration for Gustave Flaubert's famous book, Madame Bovary a story of an adulterous woman whose ideals and desires lead to her own ruin. Louise was allegedly so angry by the publication of this book that she wrote her own book, "Lui", in an effort target Flaubert. However, Colet's book has failed to have the lasting significance of "Madame Bovary."
Writings of Louise Colet
- Fleurs du midi (1836)
- Penserosa (1839)
- La Jeunesse de Goethe (1839)
- Les Coeurs brisés (1843)
- Les Funérailles de Napoléon (1840)
- La Jeunesse de Mirabeau (1841)
- Lui (1859)
- Enfances Célèbres (1865)