Sarah Bernhardt My Double Life

ISBN 13: 9781421912493

My Double Life

 
9781421912493: My Double Life
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Excerpt: ...he no doubt considered unkind, for he bore me malice for them, and attempted to avenge himself in the following way. He called on me one day, and Madame Guérard was there when he was shown in. "Do you know that I am all-powerful at present?" he said. "In these days there is nothing surprising in that," I replied. "I have come to see you, either to make peace or declare war," he continued. This way of talking did not suit me, and I sprang up. "As I can foresee that your conditions of peace would not suit me, cher Monsieur, I will not give you time to declare war. You are one of the men one would prefer, no matter how spiteful they might be, as enemies rather than friends." With these words I rang for my footman to show the Prefect of Police to the door. Madame Guérard was in despair. "That man will do us some harm, my dear Sarah, I assure you," she said. She was not mistaken in her presentiment, except that she was thinking of me and not of herself, for his first vengeance was taken on her, by sending away one of her relatives, who was a police commissioner, to an inferior and dangerous post. He then began to invent a hundred miseries for me. One day I received an order to go at once to the Prefecture of Police on urgent business. I took no notice. The following day a mounted courier brought me a note from Sire Raoul Rigault, threatening to send a prison van for me. I took no notice whatever of the threats of this wretch, who was shot shortly after and died without showing any courage. Life, however, was no longer possible in Paris, and I decided to go to St. Germain-en-Laye. I asked my mother to go with me, but she went to Switzerland with my youngest sister. The departure from Paris was not as easy as I had hoped. Communists with gun on shoulder stopped the trains and searched in all our bags and pockets, and even under the cushions of the railway carriages. They were afraid that the passengers were taking newspapers to Versailles. This was...

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From the Back Cover:

"Bernhardt was one of the leading international actresses of her day. This memoir is particularly interesting not only because of the light it sheds on theater, but also because of what it tells us about the role of an artist in a particularly troubled period of French history.

"Larson's translation is very good and extremely readable. The only other version in English was published in the first decade of this century and is hopelessly out of date. Larson has taken pains to ensure that the language is contemporary but jargon-free, and the book is very well written. The translator's notes are an asset to readers who have no background knowledge of the period." - Susan Bassnett, University of Warwick

My Double Life is the autobiography of the French actress Sarah Bernhardt, who was internationally famed during her lifetime and afterwards as one of the classical theater's all-time greatest stars. Bernhardt's memoirs are composed with a novelist's (or actress's) sense of artistry and suspense that leaves no doubt of the charisma for which she was famed in her "double life," both on- and off-stage. Yet at the same time as this book very consciously contributes to the crafting of her image, it also illuminates a whole era: not only the world of theater, but also the worlds of women, politics, society, Europe and America, and, indeed, of history making itself.

"This is one of the most interesting works I've read in the last few years. I found it a compelling read from the very first page to the last. I wish there were another volume to follow!" - Anna St. Leger Lucas, McMaster University

About the Author:

Victoria Tietze Larson is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and General Humanities at Montclair State University. She is the author of The Role of Description in Senecan Tragedy .

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