Colette Peignot

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Colette Peignot (October 8, 1903 – November 7, 1938) was a French author who is most known by the pseudonym Laure, but also wrote under the name Claude Araxe.

She was profoundly affected during her childhood by the deaths of her father and three uncles during World War I, by her failing health (tuberculosis nearly killed her at age 13), and by sexual abuse from a priest. Her writings are full of fury, improprieties, and suffering.

Highly implicated in the early communist movement, she used her life as a tool of emancipation: her affairs with prominent intellectuals (Jean Bernier, Eduard Trautner, Boris Pilnyak, Boris Souvarine, George Bataille) were for her as important as affective encounters, than as weapons against her condition of woman, bourgeoise, ill, colonialist. She spent all the money she inherited from her father in supporting political journals and reviews (Critique sociale, for example).

At the end of her life, she was considered to be a muse for the French avant-garde of literature and politics. She was at the center of Georges Bataille's secret society Acéphale. She died at age 35 in Bataille's house.

Her works were published posthumously by Georges Bataille and Michel Leiris, close friend of her, against the will of her brother, Charles Peignot. Because of that, they published with a surname and chose "Laure". Her nephew, the poet Jérôme Peignot (who thought of Colette as a “diagonal mother”), republished the manuscripts in 1971 and 1977, despite the same family's opposition.


  • Laure: the Collected Writings translated by Jeanine Herman (City Lights, 1995) ISBN 978-0-87286-293-7

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