Nineteenth-century Irish actress Harriet Smithson, the woman who brought Shakespeare to Paris and made the role of Ophelia her own, is the muse for this stunning novel.
Born in County Clare, Ireland, brought up on Lamb's Shakespeare, lime sherbet sweets and the golden dust of fairy's wings, young Harriet Smithson's imagination promises the world in a bubble. A child of the stage, her inheritance is Covent Garden, London, the Green Room and the rough magic of the theatre.
Paris: September 1827. With the arrival of Charles Kemble's English Theatre troupe, the Od on Theatre is awash with melodrama and the music of Shakespeare. Harriet Smithson is Ophelia. The French Romantics swoon, traffic stops and the high society femmes plait straw in their hair in honour of Harriet's performance. The young composer, Hector Berlioz, falls in love.
In Ophelia's Fan, Balint imaginatively re-creates the texture of the nineteenth century and brings to life Harriet Smithson. She is the woman who brought Shakespeare alive to the French Romantics and is best remembered as the inspiration behind Berlioz's ground-breaking Symphonie Fantastique.
A story about dreams, Shakespeare and love.
About the Author:
Christine Balint is the author of the highly praised novel, Salt Letters. Shortlisted in The Australian/Vogel Literary award in 1998, Salt Letters was published by Allen & Unwin in 1999. It was subsequently published by W.W. Norton, New York and translated into Italian and German.
Christine is completing a PhD in Creative Writing at Melbourne University and teaches in the MA Creative Writing Program at RMIT.