From the prizewinning Jewish Lives series, a riveting portrait of the great Sarah Bernhardt from acclaimed writer Robert Gottlieb
Everything about Sarah Bernhardt is fascinating, from her obscure birth to her glorious career--redefining the very nature of her art--to her amazing (and highly public) romantic life to her indomitable spirit. Well into her seventies, after the amputation of her leg, she was performing under bombardment for soldiers during World War I, as well as crisscrossing America on her ninth American tour.
Her family was also a source of curiosity: the mother she adored and who scorned her; her two half-sisters, who died young after lives of dissipation; and most of all, her son, Maurice, whom she worshiped and raised as an aristocrat, in the style appropriate to his presumed father, the Belgian Prince de Ligne. Only once did they quarrel--over the Dreyfus Affair. Maurice was a right-wing snob; Sarah, always proud of her Jewish heritage, was a passionate Dreyfusard and Zolaist.
Though the Bernhardt literature is vast, Gottlieb's Sarah is the first English-language biography to appear in decades. Brilliantly, it tracks the trajectory through which an illegitimate--and scandalous--daughter of a courtesan transformed herself into the most famous actress who ever lived, and into a national icon, a symbol of France. About Jewish Lives:
Jewish Lives is a prizewinning series of interpretative biography designed to explore the many facets of Jewish identity. Individual volumes illuminate the imprint of Jewish figures upon literature, religion, philosophy, politics, cultural and economic life, and the arts and sciences. Subjects are paired with authors to elicit lively, deeply informed books that explore the range and depth of the Jewish experience from antiquity to the present.
In 2014, the Jewish Book Council named Jewish Lives the winner of its Jewish Book of the Year Award, the first series ever to receive this award. More praise for Jewish Lives:
"Excellent." -New York Times
"Exemplary." -Wall Street Journal
"Distinguished." -New Yorker
"Superb." -The Guardian