[Bernhardt, Sarah. (1844–1923)] Dumas, Alexandre. (fils, 1824–1895)
L'Étrangère - SIGNED PRESENTATION COPY TO SARAH BERNHARDT
Paris: Calmann Lévy. 1877.
Presentation copy of the French author's play L'Étrangère, signed and inscribed by Dumas on the half-title to the important French actress Sarah Bernhardt, who starred in the original production. He pens (translated from the French): "To Mademoiselle Sarah Bernhardt, with the apologies, thanks, and unreserved compliments of the author, A. Dumas." 148 pp. Hardcover, 8vo, handsome contemporary red morocco with gilt; raised bands, title and Bernhardt's initials in gilt at the foot of the spine; silk endpapers. Neatly restored, faint water stain to endpapers; some light internal foxing; overall fine.
Sarah Bernhardt had a long association with Alexandre Dumas père and fils: it was the elder Dumas who took her to attend her first play at age 15 (where she was overcome by emotion and wept uncontrollably), and then coached her for her audition to the Paris Conservatory. Her breakthrough performance was in a revival of Dumas' Kean in 1868. She then went on famously to star in Dumas fils' play La Dame aux Camélias, a role which would become her signature. Among her other Dumas roles was that of Mistress Clarkson in the present play, L'Étrangère, premiered at the Théâtre-Français on February 14, 1876. Although this work, a comedy on modern Parisian life, is not generally considered one of Dumas' finest, Bernhardt won accolades for her performance.