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Sarah Bernhardt

posted on 2016-08-06, 00:00 authored by Victoria DuckettVictoria Duckett
Sarah Bernhardt (born Sara-Marie-Henriette Bernard, 1844-1923) is the most famous French actress of the late nineteenth century. Celebrated for her golden voice and for the sinuous flow of her slender figure on stage, she was also a theatre manager, author, sculptor, painter, and a clever businesswoman. She developed and nurtured global fame in an era when the popular press facilitated international renown. Print media as well as the emerging phonograph and film industries enabled Bernhardt to cultivate and develop her celebrity into the early twentieth century, appealing to new publics and audiences. During the First World War she became a French porte-parole for the Allied cause, appearing on stage and in a propaganda film, as well as in demonstrations and events in support of Allied troops across France and America. When Bernhardt died in 1923 at the age of 78, millions crowded the streets to watch her funeral cortège pass through Paris. This essay explores her achievements in her lifetime.


Title of book

The literary encyclopedia: exploring literature, history and culture

Volume Nineteenth-Century French Writing and Culture


1 - 1


Literary Dictionary Company


[London, Eng.]

Place of publication

[London, Eng.]





Publication classification

B1 Book chapter

Copyright notice

2016, The Literary Encyclopedia


Edward Forman, Nigel Harkness, Tim Unwin, David Williams, Jennifer Yee