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Rachel(räshĕl`), stage name of
Élisa Félix(ālē`zä fālēks`), 1821–58, French actress, b. Switzerland. Exploited by her father in her childhood, she sang in the streets with her sister Sarah. In Paris, showing great promise at the Théâtre Molière school, she entered the Gymnase (1833) and in 1838 made her debut with great success at the Comédie Française in Corneille's Horace. In 1841–42, after a sensational success in London, Rachel gained acclaim throughout Europe. She was applauded in all the major works of Racine and Corneille, Phèdre (1843) being her best role. She created the title role in Scribe's Adrienne Lecouvreur in 1849. Rachel appeared in the United States with fair success in 1855 (she knew little English) and on this visit aggravated the tuberculosis that led to her death three years later. Regarded as the greatest actress of her day, her clear diction, rhythmic speech, and economy of gesture contrasted with the exaggerated style of the time.
See M. Cost, I, Rachel (1957).
Rachel(rā`chəl), in the Bible, wife of JacobJacob
, in the Bible, ancestor of the Hebrews, the younger of Isaac and Rebecca's twin sons; the older was Esau. In exchange for a bowl of lentil soup, Jacob obtained Esau's birthright and, with his mother's help, received the blessing that the dying Isaac had intended for his
..... Click the link for more information. and mother of JosephJoseph,
one of the heroes of the patriarchal narratives of the Book of Genesis. He is presented as the favored son of Jacob and Rachel, sold as a boy into slavery by his brothers, who were jealous of Joseph's dreams and of his coat of many colors given him by Jacob.
..... Click the link for more information. and BenjaminBenjamin
[Heb.,=son of fortune], younger son of Jacob and Rachel, eponymous ancestor of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. His mother, dying, named him Benoni [Heb.,=son of my sorrow].
..... Click the link for more information. . She is one of the four Jewish matriarchs. An alternate form is Rahel.
Rachel,pseud. of Rachel Bluwstein, 1890–1931, Russian poet who wrote in Hebrew. She moved to Palestine in 1909 where she worked as a laborer. Her verse is simple and relates to the experience of Jewish settlement in Palestine and to the countryside itself.
(stage name of Élisa Félix). Born Feb. 28, 1821, in Mumpf, Switzerland; died Jan. 3 or 4, 1858, in Le Cannet, Maritime Alps. French actress.
The daughter of a fruit peddler, Rachel sang on the streets of Paris as a child. She took acting lessons from the actor and teacher J.-I. Samson. In 1837 she made her debut at the Gymnase Theater, and in 1838 at the Comédie Française.
Rachel helped revive the classical tragedy of the French stage. She acted mainly in plays by P. Corneille and J. Racine. Her chief roles in Corneille’s works were Camille in Horace, Ae-milie in Cinna, and the title role in Phèdre. Her main roles in the works of Racine were Hermione in Andromaque, Roxane in Bajazet, and the title roles in Esther and Athalie. The heroines portrayed by Rachel fearlessly opposed coercion and the injustices of despots. During the Revolution of 1848, she performed the “Marseillaise.” Rachel’s acting was marked by precision, versatility, great expressiveness, and immediacy. Beginning in the 1850’s, during the Second Empire, when bourgeois drama of everyday life was established, Rachel’s tragic gifts became outmoded. In the second half of the 1840’s she toured in Europe and North America; in 1853 and 1854 she performed in Russia. Her acting was praised by M. S. Shchepkin and A. I. Herzen. Rachel left the stage in 1855.