Bernhardt and the Theatre of Her Time

Front Cover
Eric Salmon
Greenwood Press, 1984 - Performing Arts - 287 pages

Sarah Bernhardt, possibly the greatest actress of the late nineteenth century, was a symbol of French Romantic theatre at its height and of the melodramatic excesses that led to its demise. The theatre of Bernhardt's time was changing rapidly, and Salmon depicts this change as it was reflected in her roles, temperament, and approach to acting. This book reexamines Sarah Bernhardt, not solely as an individual, but in comparison with other contemporary thespians and their styles and approaches to theatrical performance. The romantic vision of Bernhardt and her contemporaries in time produced the emotionalism, vulgarity, sensationalism, and empty spectacle that typified Romanticism in decline, and pushed it into the deeper channels of fin-de-siecle naturalism. This study explores the complex relationship between art and craft, between art and its creator, between celebrity or notoriety and real achievement, and between Romantic Theatre a la Bernhardt and other theatrical expressions of Romanticism.

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Traditional Performance
The Stage Techniques of Sarah Bernhardt

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