Anna de Brémont

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Anna de Brémont, (c.1856–1922), born Anna Dunphy, was an American singer, novelist, poet and journalist. She spent much of her life in England; a period in South Africa provided the material for some of her books.

Life[edit]

She was born Anna Dunphy in New York in around 1856, and moved to Cincinnati with her mother, following her father's death.[1] She was at one time principal singer in the choir of Cincinnati Cathedral[1] and later a contralto soloist at Henry Ward Beecher's church[2] in Brooklyn.[1] She married Count Leon de Bremont, a French medical doctor in New York, and moved to Europe after his death[2] in 1882.[3] In London she met theatrical promoter Brandon Thomas, who set up a literary and musical tour for her, in the course of which she visited India, Australia and South Africa.[1]

In London in 1888 she was initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn, alongside Oscar Wilde's wife Constance.[4] She later wrote a memoir about Wilde and his mother.[3] In the May of the same year she appeared at the Globe Theatre in London in "the Countess de Bremont's Matinee", playing Rosalind in the forest scenes from As You Like It. The Era said "her style was decidedly unsatisfactory".[5] In 1893, in the course of a review of three volumes by de Bremont, published under the general title of The World of Music, the New York Times reported that "it is said that this quondam light of Cincinnati now coruscates amid the incandescents of the Mrs. Leo Hunter circle of London."[6]

She spent some time in South Africa. On her departure from the country in June 1890, it was reported that she had a novel based on her experiences there in progress, and had begun preparing a lecture on life in the Transvaal, focussing on the social effects of the discovery of gold.[7] The Gentleman Digger was published the next year,[8] its characters thinly disguised versions of real people.[9]

In 1894, while working for St Paul's magazine in London, she wrote to the librettist W.S. Gilbert requesting an interview. He replied, saying that he would cooperate in return for a fee of 20 guineas. She wrote back saying that she anticipated "the pleasure of writing Mr Gilbert's obituary for nothing". Gilbert retaliated by sending letters to the press which referred to "a lady styling herself the Countess de Brémont". She sued Gilbert for libel, claiming that he had implied that she had no right to her title. Gilbert told the court that he had no knowledge of de Brémont except for the letter, and the jury found in his favour.[10]

She was in London during the First World War, where her experiences of German air-raids inspired her novel The Black Opal.[2] She died in Earls Court in 1922 and was buried in the Roman Catholic section of Kensal Green Cemetery.[11]

Publications[edit]

  • Love Poems (Cape Town, 1889)
  • The Gentleman Digger: a Study of Johannesburg Life (London,1891)
  • The World of Music: The Great Virtuosi (1892)
  • The World of Music: The Great Singers (1892)
  • The World of Music: The Great Composers (1892)
  • Sonnets and Love Poems (New York, 1892)
  • The Ragged Edge. Tales of the African Gold Fields (London, 1895)
  • A Son of Africa. A Romance (London, 1899)
  • Daughters of Pleasure: Being the History of Neara a Musician, Athene an Actress, and Hera a Singer (London, 1900)
  • Lady Lilian's Luck. A Romance of Ostend (London, 1907)
  • The Lioness of Mayfair (London, 1909)
  • Mrs Evelyn's Husbands : a Problem in Marriage (London, 1909)
  • Sonnets from a Parisian Balcony (London, 1910)
  • Coronation Sonnets to Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Mary (London, 1911)
  • Oscar Wilde and his Mother: A Memoir (London, 1911)
  • Love Letters in Verse To a Musician (London and New York, 1914; dedicated to the pianist Thuel Burnham)[12]
  • The Black Opal. A Fantastic Romance (London, 1918)[13]

Translation[edit]

  • The Doctor Wife 1909. From the French novel Princesses de Science by Colette Yver (a pseudonym for Antoinette Huzard.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Material for a Libretto". Roman Citizen (Rome, New York. 11 December 1894. 
  2. ^ a b c "Woman of 70 writes book". The Telegram (Elmira, New York). 11 January 1920. 
  3. ^ a b "The Gentleman Digger: Being Studies and Pictures of Life in Johannesburg". World Digital Library. 
  4. ^ Moyle, Franny (2011). Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde. Hachette UK. p. 118. ISBN 9781848544611. 
  5. ^ "The Countess de Bremont's Matinee". The Era (London, England) (2591). May 19, 1888. 
  6. ^ "Music and Writers of it". New York Times. 8 January 1893. 
  7. ^ "Cape News". The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania). 28 June 1890. p. 1. 
  8. ^ "Author:Anna Brémont". COPAC. 
  9. ^ "The Gentleman Digger". Western Mail (Perth, Western Australia). 30 December 1899. p. 69. "She has relied more on the freedom, happily not usual among novelists, with which, with the slightest of disguises, she has placed real characters in her pages." 
  10. ^ "Singular Action for Libel". Birmingham Daily Post (Birmingham, England) (11703). December 20, 1895. 
  11. ^ "Countess' Missing Will". Hawera & Normanby Star (New Zealand). 30 December 1922. p. 9. 
  12. ^ "Love Letters in Verse To a Musician". Internet Archive. 
  13. ^ list from "Author:Anna Brémont". COPAC.  unless otherwise stated

External links[edit]