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Ophelia's Fan

Ophelia's Fan by Christine Balint
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Born in County Clare, Ireland, brought up on Lamb's Shakespeare, lime sherbet sweets and the golden dust of fairy's wings, young Harriet Smithson's imagination promises the world in a bubble. A child of the stage, her inheritance is Covent Garden, London, the Green Room and the rough magic of the theatre. Paris: September 1827. With the arrival of Charles Kemble's English Theatre troupe, the Odéon Theatre is awash with melodrama and the music of Shakespeare. Harriet Smithson is Ophelia. The French Romantics swoon, traffic stops and the high society femmes plait straw in their hair in honour of Harriet's performance. The young composer, Hector Berlioz, falls in love. In Ophelia's Fan, Balint imaginatively re-creates the texture of the nineteenth century and brings to life Harriet Smithson. She is the woman who brought Shakespeare alive to the French Romantics and is best remembered as the inspiration behind Berlioz's ground-breaking Symphonie Fantastique. A story about dreams, Shakespeare and love.
Allen & Unwin; January 2004
347 pages; ISBN 9781741154658
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Title: Ophelia's Fan
Author: Christine Balint
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