RACHEL AND THE NEW WORLD by Leon Beauvallet

RACHEL AND THE NEW WORLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Elisa Rachel Felix, known to the theatre world as Rachel, was considered by most to be the greatest actress of her era. Persuaded by her manager, brother Racael that she could make a bigger impact...and more money than her contemporary Jenny Lind in the new world, she embarked on a disastrous tour that ended in tuberculosis and subsequent death. This account was written by a member of the ill-fated French company and was first published in Europe in the 1800's. Essentially, it has little to do with Rachel herself: it's almost entirely a chauvinistic Frenchman's view of America and her people from the moment the boat sailed with its ""inconceivable culinary medley"" to New York, a ""gigantic billboard for a traveling circus"" to Boston and its ""squirrel stew..."" and on. According to Monsieur Beauvallet Americans could not only not understand French or great acting, they could not deal with tragedy. They were boorishly illiterate because ""Americans never read, they count. They find it more instructive."" Yet he was fascinated by the energy, the economy, the mores-one could duel but it was against the law to smoke or spit on the streets. Of minor importance, this still offers some intriguing glimpses into this period and Beauvallet has some sharp, witty asides.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1967
ISBN: 114420562X
Publisher: Abelard-Schuman