Gigi (novella)

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Gigi Colette.jpg
Publication date1944
Published in English1953

Gigi (pronounced [ʒi.ʒi]) is a 1944 novella by French writer Colette. The plot focuses on a young Parisian girl being groomed for a career as a courtesan and her relationship with the wealthy cultured man named Gaston who falls in love with her and eventually marries her.

The novel was translated into English by Roger Senhouse and published (with "The Cat" translated by Antonia White) in 1953.[1]

The life story of Yola Letellier,[2] the wife of Henri Letellier (publisher of Le Journal and mayor of Deauville (1925–1928)[3]), was the inspiration for the novel.[2]


The novella was the basis for a 1949 French film starring Danièle Delorme and Gaby Morlay.

In 1951, it was adapted for the stage by Anita Loos. Colette had personally picked the yet unknown Audrey Hepburn on first sight to play the title role.[4] Her Aunt Alicia was played by stage legend Cathleen Nesbitt, who was to become Hepburn's acting mentor from that time on. Opening on Broadway at the Fulton Theatre on 24 November 1951, the play ran for 219 performances (finishing on 31 May 1952) and Hepburn's Broadway debut earned her a Theatre World Award.[5]

A 1958 musical film version, starring Leslie Caron in the title role, with a screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner and a score by Lerner and Frederick Loewe, won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Lerner and Loewe adapted the film for an expurgated 1973 stage musical that proved to be unsuccessful but was revived on Broadway in 2015.[6]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Vintage reissue of 1953 edition". Retrieved 2009-04-15.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b Hicks, Pamela (2014). Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten. Simon and Schuster. p. 24. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  3. ^ Sylvie Aubenas, Virginie Chardin, Xavier Demange (2007). Elegance: The Seeberger Brothers and the Birth of Fashion Photography. Chronicle Books. pp. 91, 111.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Gigi Times Three". Love Letters to Old Hollywood. June 4, 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Gigi". Internet Broadway Database.
  6. ^ Isherwood, Charles (8 April 2015). "Review: Vanessa Hudgens in a Squeaky Clean 'Gigi' on Broadway". New York Times. Retrieved 19 January 2017.