"THE MOST FAMOUS ACTRESS THE WORLD HAS SEEN": SARAH BERNHARDT'S MEMOIRS, ONE OF ONLY 250 COPIES SIGNED BY HER
BERNHARDT, Sarah. Memories of My Life. New York: D. Appleton, 1907. Thick octavo, original gilt-stamped white cloth, top edge gilt, watered silk endpapers, uncut. $3800.
Limited first American edition of Bernhardt's Memories of My Life, number 153 of only 250 in the limited "autograph edition" signed by her, with frontispiece and over 25 full-page illustrations.
"Sarah Bernhardt was not simply the most famous actress the world has seen; she was among the most gifted… Working within the Romantic tradition, she created exciting entertainment out of wild emotion, yet never quite lost her ability to touch the heights and depths of tragic understanding… audiences found it hard to resist making connections between her roles and her lifestyle" (ODNB). This intimate account of her life is "intensely readable… central to our knowledge of her life up to and through her first American tour of 1880-1881" (Gottlieb, Sarah Bernhardt). In her conclusion Bernhardt observes: "My life, which I thought at first to be so short, seemed now to be very, very long, and that gave me a great mischievous delight whenever I thought of the infernal displeasures of my enemies." With frontispiece portrait and over 25 full-page illustrations. Issued the same year as the first American and English trade edition (the latter as My Double Life), no priority established. With six pages of publisher's advertisements at rear. Without scarce and fragile original acetate dust wrapper. Dramatic Bibliography, 66. Ink stamps to front endpapers.
Interior clean, neat repair to front inner paper hinge. Light soiling to cloth, toning to spine, mild rubbing to corners. An exceptionally good signed copy.