Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 23

Eleonora Duse - Early life, acting career


Actress, born near Venice, NE Italy. The daughter of strolling players, she rose to fame in Italy, then triumphed throughout the European capitals (1892–3), mainly acting in plays by contemporary French playwrights, Ibsen, and the works of her lover, Gabriele d'Annunzio. Her histrionic genius ranks ‘The Duse’ as one of the world's greatest actresses. She retired through ill health in 1909, but returned to the stage in 1921, and died during a US tour. She was noted for the beauty and expressiveness of her gestures, her lithe grace, and the intensity of her emotional playing.

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