TO… MY COLLEAGUE IN DREAMS”: REMARKABLE PRESENTATION COPY OF L’AVEU, 1888, INSCRIBED BY ACTRESS SARAH BERNHARDT TO LORD LYTTON
BERNHARDT, Sarah. L’Aveu. Drame en un Acte en Prose. Paris: Paul Ollendorff, 1888. Octavo, contemporary full brown morocco, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $2800.
First edition, in French, of this one-act dramatic comedy, inscribed by Bernhardt in French to Lord Lytton on preliminary leaf: “To His Excellent Lord Lytton, my colleague in dreams, Sarah Bernhardt, 1890.” Handsomely bound by Pierson.
Sarah Bernhardt was the 19th century’s most famous actress. Known for the power of her acting as much as for her beauty, she captivated audiences in a wide variety of roles ranging from Joan of Arc to Cleopatra to the titular role in Hamlet. L’Aveu was one of Bernhardt’s own plays, produced in 1888 at the Odéon in Paris. Though it was not successful as some of Bernhardt better known plays, it was distinguished by Bernhardt’s personal dedication to it. Lytton was a successful playwright, poet (publishing under the name “Owen Meredith”), and diplomat, who served in India during the critical period of the Afghan War in the late 1870’s. Lytton undoubtedly met Bernhardt through their association with the theater.
Very light scattered foxing to text, binding handsome. Near-fine condition, most desirable inscribed.