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Bernhardt, Sarah) Banville, Theodore.

Les Exiles…


Rebound by Bernhardt for her Library
[Bernhardt, Sarah]. de Banville, Théodore. Les Exilés. Odelettes, amethystes rimes dorees, rondels, les princesses trente-six ballade joyeuses. Édition définitive. Paris: G. Charpentier, 1878.
8vo.; edges foxed; three-quarter marbled boards, lower panel stained; white paper-covered spine; leather title label affixed to spine, stamped in gilt; browned. In a specially made cloth slipcase.
First edition of this summarizing collection of his poetry; limited to fifty numbered copies on "papier de Hollande" and 10 numbered copies on "papier de Chine." This copy is unnumbered; it is possible the numbered leaf was excised by Bernhardt's binder.
Bernhardt had this book specially bound for her library, something she did for all of her books; the binder's label, "Reliure Franz," is affixed to the first endpaper. A presentation copy, inscribed on the half-title: A Mlle Sarah Bernhardt/Respect[    ] hommages/Théodore de Banville. It is unclear exactly when and how Banville and Bernardt became acquainted, but it might have been through the Comédie Francais, where Bernhardt acted and where some of Banville's plays were produced. In the 1870s, in reference to Bernhardt's acting in a Victor Hugo play, Banville said,
You cannot praise her for knowing how to say verse, she is the Muse of poetry incarnate. Neither intelligence nor art has anything to do with the matter; she is guided by secret instinct. She recites as the nightingale sings, as the wind sighs, as the water complains, as Lamartine in the old days used to write verse. (Sarah Bernhard, by Maurice Baring, New York: Ayer Publishing, 1972; p. 124)
He also praises her beauty: "She is the only player whom the Creator had fashioned solely for the art of play-acting…she is in so high a degree poetry incarnate that even when she is still and mute we are aware that her gait as well as her voice is subservient to a lyrical rhythm" (ibid., p. 23).
Banville (1823-1981) is the author of numerous stories, plays and poetry, including: Les Cariatides (1842), Les Stalactites (1846), Diane au Bois (1863), Odes funambulesques (1857), Les Fourberies de Nerine (1864), Gringoire (1866), Riquet a la houppe (1884), Petit traite de poesie francaise (1872), Contes heroiques (1884) and Contes bourgeois (1885).

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