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My Double Life: The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt

My Double Life: The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt
Your Price: $39.99 CDN
Author: Sarah Bernhardt
Translated by: Victoria Tietze Larson
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Series: Women Writers in Translation
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 345
Pub. Date: 1999
ISBN-10: 0791440540
ISBN-13: 9780791440544

About the Book:

A translation of Ma Double Vie, the autobiography of the French actress Sarah Bernhardt, who was one of the classical theatre's all-time greatest stars.

My Double Life is the autobiography of the French actress Sarah Bernhardt, who was internationally known during her lifetime and afterwards as the most famous actress of the late nineteenth century stage. She owned her own theater, which she also ran. It had a dressing room that was actually five rooms, with a marble fireplace. Writers like Victor Hugo and Edmond Rostand lined up to create new works for her. And if Bernhardt preferred to perform a classic, she could put on tights and play Hamlet for an audience of 1,700. This was in 1899.

Sarah 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 theatre, but also the worlds of women, politics, society, Europe and America, and, indeed, of history making itself.

What people say:

"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 The only other version in English was published in the first decade of this century and is hopelessly out of date.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

"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 Professor of Classics and General Humanities at Montclair State University and the translator of My Double Life: The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt.