Eleonora Duse

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Eleonora Duse
Eleonora Giulia Amalia Duse
BirthplaceVigevano, Italy

Duse, Eleonora

(do͞o`zə, Ital. ālāōnô`rä do͞o`zā), 1859–1924, Italian actress. From a theatrical family, she made a successful appearance at 14 as Juliet and in 1879 gained recognition in Emilé Zola's Thérèse Raquin. In 1893, in New York and London, her portrayal of Dumas's La Dame aux camélias was extraordinarily sensitive and deep. With her portrayal in 1895, in Paris, of Magda in Hermann Sudermann's Heimat, she became the only rival of Sarah BernhardtBernhardt, Sarah
, 1844–1923, stage name of Rosine Bernard, French actress, b. Paris. At age 13 she entered the Paris Conservatory, and later attracted attention during appearances at the Odéon (1866–72).
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. For some years a romantic attachment existed between Duse and the Italian poet Gabriele D'AnnunzioD'Annunzio, Gabriele
1863–1938, Italian poet, novelist, dramatist, and soldier, b. Pescara. He went to Rome in 1881 and there began his literary career. Considered by some to be the greatest Italian poet since Dante, he expressed in many of his works the desire to live in
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, whose plays she was often the first to present and champion. She appeared in the film Cenere (1916), which she also directed. A great interpreter of Ibsen, she made her farewell appearance (1923) in his Lady from the Sea in New York. Duse's acting was characterized by simplicity, subtlety, and a lack of theatrical artifice. She excelled in emotional parts, and her dramatic power, however restrained, was tremendous in its effect. A slender woman of melancholy appearance, she was an independent and enigmatic personality who disdained publicity.


See biographies by J. Stubbs (1971), E. Le Gallienne (1966), W. Weaver (1984), and H. Sheehy (2003); biography of her and Sarah Bernhardt by P. Rader (2018).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Duse, Eleonora


Born Oct. 3, 1858, in Vigevano; died Apr. 21, 1924, in Pittsburgh, USA. Italian actress.

Duse was born into a family of actors. Beginning at the age of four, she performed with touring companies. She played the parts of Desdemona and Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Othello and Hamlet and Therese Raquin in Zola’s play of the same name, among others. She became Italy’s most popular actress in the late 1880’s, performing also with great success in most West European countries as well as in the USA, Latin America, and Egypt. In 1891-92 and in 1908 she toured Russia. Her creative work drew on contemporary Italian and foreign drama. She was the first in Italy to perform roles in Ibsen’s plays (for example, Nora in A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler in the play of the same name). The roles performed in the plays of G. D’Annunzio (Anna in La città morta, Francesca inFrancesca da Rimini, and others), M. Maeterlinck (the title role in Monna Vanna), A. Dumas fils (Marguerite Gautier in La Dame aux camélias, one of her best roles), and V. Sardou occupied an important place in her work. Duse proved particularly adept at portraying nervous, passionate women, dissatisfied with the present and terrified of the future. A special quality of humaneness and a charming femininity characterized her portrayals. Her art, developed in the mold of psychological realism, was imbued with the desire to express the important thoughts and true feelings of people. Duse left the stage in 1909 but returned to it in 1921.


Kugel’, A. R. Teatral’nye portrety. Petrograd-Moscow, 1923.
Stanislavskii, K. S. “Moia zhizn’ v iskusstve.” Sobr. soch., vol. 1. Moscow, 1954.
Signorelli, O. Eleonora Duse. Milan, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Despite that, as Rader recounts in Playing to the Gods, the French actress Sarah Bernhardt and the Italian actress Eleonora Duse became celebrated figures throughout Europe and the U.S.
If the actor knows "her" place and gender, the poet always takes the initiative: "Cuando el comico es hembra, que no reniega de su sexo, todo va como una seda." Here Clarin is favorably comparing Maria Guerrero to the "masculine" Sarah Bernhardt, but his argument is similar to that employed by Bernard Shaw (quoted previously) when he contrasted Bernhardt with Eleonora Duse, Margarita Xirgu's idol and model.
These three different collections of books reached Cambridge at different times and now shape the Murray Edwards Eleonora Duse Collection.
Il fuoco (The Flame, 1900) recounts the story of his turbulent love affair with Eleonora Duse. The work's protagonist is the writer Stelio Effrena, D'Annunzio's alter ego, who is working on a play for his muse Foscarina, who represents Duse.
Hence, unlike Eleonora Duse, whose acting was always marked by physical restraining, Borelli's body becomes the text of the silent film, the cinematic narrative that the viewer is invited to read.
In front of me, in the palace I can almost touch with my hand, a shadow passes: white lace, little black overcoat, and a small hat like Eleonora Duse's.
In 1894 D'Annunzio began a long liaison with the actress Eleonora Duse, and he wrote several plays for her, notably the tragedies La Gioconda (performed 1899) and Francesca da Rimini (performed 1901).
In the meantime, in 1902, she found her vocation as poet while watching a stage performance by the Italian tragedienne Eleonora Duse. For the remainder of her life Lowell found inspiration in the company of gifted women, the actress Ada Russell serving as her muse and companion in the last decade of her life.
His other novels include L ' innocente (1892; translated as The Intruder, 1898), Il trionfo della morte (1894; translated as The Triumph of Death, 1898, reprinted 1975), and The Flame of Life, based on his celebrated liaison with the actress Eleonora Duse (1859 - 1924).
She will play Eleonora Duse at La Scala in a ballet to be created for her by John Neumeier.--Wendy Perron
The Sir Michael Stoutetrained Centred, a half-sister to Group 2 winner, Eleonora Duse, finished third on her debut at Kempton behind placepotp erm RFOsuggestsapermof16 linesat30p,costingpounds 4.80 2.20 2Bold Prediction 10Jontleman 2.50 10JuanaBelen 14Sojoum 3.20 2Amour Propre 3.50 3Centred 12 Perfect Pose 4.20 7Villa R oyale 4.50 2Head O fSteam 6Common Touch
On that occasion, he wrote to his friend, the journalist Albertini: "I do not know what stopped me from taking the eight o'clock train, so powerful was the longing for my distant homeland gnawing at my heart." (15) At the end of July of that same year, D'Annunzio received a telegram from Eleonora Duse. It said: "Change Wings." (16) Heeding her advice, he seized the opportunity to reinvent himself.