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 Harrier Smithson--the actress and the woman, her roles and her loves.
Used availability for Christine Balint's Ophelia's Fan
August 2004 : USA Hardback
September 2005 : USA Paperback
August 2004 : Australia Paperback