Eleonora Duse

Eleonora Duse (dōō´zə, Ital. ālāōnô´rä dōō´zā), 1859–1924, Italian actress. From a theatrical family, she made a successful appearance at 14 as Juliet and in 1879 gained recognition in Emilé Zola's Thérèse Raquin. In 1893, in New York and London, her portrayal of Dumas's La Dame aux camélias was extraordinarily sensitive and deep. With her portrayal in 1895, in Paris, of Magda in Hermann Sudermann's Heimat, she became the only rival of Sarah Bernhardt. For some years a romantic attachment existed between Duse and the Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, whose plays she was often the first to present and champion. She appeared in the film Cenere (1916), which she also directed. A great interpreter of Ibsen, she made her farewell appearance (1923) in his Lady from the Sea in New York. Duse's acting was characterized by simplicity, subtlety, and a lack of theatrical artifice. She excelled in emotional parts, and her dramatic power, however restrained, was tremendous in its effect. A slender woman of melancholy appearance, she was an independent and enigmatic personality who disdained publicity.

See biographies by J. Stubbs (1971), E. Le Gallienne (1966), W. Weaver (1984), and H. Sheehy (2003).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Enchanted Aisles
Alexander Woollcott.
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1924 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Duse" begins on p. 39
Julia Marlowe's Story
E. H. Sothern; Fairfax Downey; Julia Marlowe.
Rinehart, 1954
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Eleonora Duse"
FREE! Iconoclasts: A Book of Dramatists
James Huneker.
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1905
Librarian’s tip: Chap. X "Duse and D'Annunzio"
Plays & Players; Essays on the Theatre
Bernard Shaw.
Oxford University Press, 1952
Librarian’s tip: "Duse and Bernhardt" begins on p. 33
These Things Are Mine: The Autobiography of a Journeyman Playwright
George Middleton.
The Macmillan Company, 1947
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XIX "Duse, Bernhardt, and Lucien Guitry"
The Kingdom of Art: Willa Cather's First Principles and Critical Statements, 1893-1896
Bernice Slote; Willa Cather.
University of Nebraska Press, 1966
Librarian’s tip: "Bernhardt and Duse: A Duel of Genius" begins on p. 116
Remembered Yesterdays
Robert Underwood Johnson.
Little, Brown, 1923
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "Two Actors of Italy: Tommaso Salvini -- Eleonora Duse"
FREE! The Theatre--Advancing
Edward Gordon Craig.
Little, Brown & Company, 1919
Librarian’s tip: "To Eleonora Duse" begins on p. 241
FREE! The Colour of Life: And Other Essays on Things Seen and Heard
Alice Meynell.
John Lane Company, 1896 (4th edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Eleonora Duse" begins on p. 45
Decadence and the 1890s
Ian Fletcher.
Holmes & Meier, 1980
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VII "The Legend of Duse"
Verdi's Falstaff in Letters and Contemporary Reviews
Hans Busch; Giuseppe Verdi; Hans Busch.
Indiana University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Includes several letters by Eleonora Duse
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