Catherine Colomb

Catherine Colomb (1892–1965) has long been considered one of the most original francophone novelists of the twentieth century in Switzerland. Using penname Catherine Tissot, she published her first novel, Pile ou Face (Heads or Tails), in 1934. Adopting the name Catherine Colomb, she wrote a second novel, Châteaux en enfance (Castles in Childhood, 1945), which drew attention to her work. Colomb’s next novel, Les Esprits de la terre (The Spirits of the Earth, 1953), was a critical success. Except for stays in Weimar, Potsdam, Berlin, Paris, and London (where she met members of the Bloomsbury Circle, including Lloyd George, Bertrand Russell, Lytton Strachey, and Vaslav Nijinksy—but not the Woolfs), Colomb spent her entire life in the canton of Vaud. It is known that she read Balzac, Hölderlin, Jean Paul, and especially Proust, as well as, late in life, Virginia Woolf; but, above all, she fashioned her exceptional style and formally innovative fictions in relative isolation.

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