For centuries English and French theatrical traditions have had an uneasy relationship with one another: mutual admiration, mutual envy, mutual distrust. Just as the fascination of difference lies in the potential for sameness, so these opposed traditions have observed each other at close quarters and invited each other back home. In this unusually detailed and carefully illustrated book, John Stokes explores the reception of the French actress by the English audiences, from the early nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth - a period when the relationship between England and France was transformed and redefined. Mlle Mars, Sarah Bernhardt and Edwige Feuillere are among the many actresses invoked; prominent English spectators include William Hazlitt, Charles Dickens, and Oscar Wilde. The result is a vivid coming together of theatre history and cultural studies, and will appeal to scholars of English and French literature as well as students of acting.