I am honored to introduce WOMEN IN THE ARTS, a continuing series of books about courageous, talented women whose work has changed the way we think about art and society. The women highlighted in this series were persistent, successful, and at times controversial. They were unafraid to ask questions or challenge social norms while pursuing their work. They overcame barriers that included discrimination, prejudice, and poverty. The energy, creativity, and perseverance of these strong women changed our world forever.
The Bernhardt was one of the biggest names on the stage, and in European and American culture, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her unfortunate past was shrouded in mystery, but her ability to carry audiences from joy to despair, combined with the enormous scandals of her public life, made her a legend.