Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sarah Bernhardt - A Loose Jewess?

What next?

Sarah Bernhardt - the Divine Sarah herself! - had her outsize life reduced by the police to fiche No.158 in 1875.

The Bernhardt authority Robert Gottlieb takes offense at her being listed, especially in 1875 when she was at the height of her glory. Her finances, like her morals, were shaky, Gottlieb says, but she cannot be called an Insoumise. For one thing she had nothing against authority. "She didn't care about authority, as long as she got her way," he said.

Gottlieb suggests that the fact that Bernhardt was avaricious, sexual and, above all, Jewish - in other words, considered alien and disruptive - might explain her inclusion among the courtesans. Indeed, looking at the police fiches one suspects many private agendas and opportunities for blackmail.

Or sometimes it was just jealousy. Even the police note that Bernhardt was denounced by Henri Ducasse, a member of Parliament who had already supplied information on other women. In Bernhardt's case, his beef was that she kept him waiting while she received older men.


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