"Reconstructs the vibrantly intoxicating atmosphere of the theatrical world in the early nineteenth century. Lavishly romantic." --Booklist
Christine Balint reimagines the bittersweet life of Harriet Smithson, the tragedienne who brought Shakespeare to the French. Born in County Clare, Ireland, in 1800, Harriet is left in the care of the elderly priest Father Barrett, and is brought up on Lamb's Shakespeare, lime-sherbet sweets, and prayer. A child of traveling players, her ultimate inheritance is Covent Garden, London, the green room, and the theater's rough magic. With the arrival of Charles Kemble's English Theatre troupe in Paris in 1827, the Odeon Theatre is awash with the drama and music of Shakespeare. Harriet is Ophelia. The French Romantics swoon, traffic stops, and the high-society women plait straw in their hair in honor of her mad Ophelia. The fiery composer Hector Berlioz falls in love. In Ophelia's Fan, Balint re-creates the texture and breadth of the nineteenth century and brings alive Harriet Smithson; the actress and the woman, her roles and her loves. Reading group guide included.
- October 2005
- 5.6 × 8.3 in
/ 320 pages
- Territory Rights: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.
Also by Christine Balint