Italian actress Eleonora Duse (1858-1924) was also an intellectual and book lover. Although she only performed in Italian, Duse spoke and wrote French fluently, and had a reading knowledge of English and German. She amassed a sizeable library in a variety of languages.
Many of Duse’s books found their way to the library of Murray Edwards College as part of the Bullough bequest. Identifying them has been a long and painstaking task, described in a recent publication by Anna Sica of the University of Palermo and Alison Wilson, former Librarian and Fellow of Murray Edwards. Entitled The Murray Edwards Duse Collection (Cam.d.2012.51), the book has 300 pages and was published last year by Mimesis edizioni in Milan (978857512556).
The publication consists of an extensive and absorbing essay by Anna Sica, Ex libris Eleonora Duse, and a detailed listing in 130 pages of titles in the collection, giving detailed information on provenance and inscriptions. There are also a fascinating 20 pages of illustrations.