B0905. Anna, Comtesse de Bremont. The World of Music - The Great Singers. New York, Brentano's 1892. 228 pp. Covers elaborately gilt. Note to American readers added at end. Detailed biographies of 18 famous nineteenth-century singers, incl. John Braham, Mrs. Billington, Angelica Catalani, Manuel Garcia, Giuglini, Giulia Grisi, Catherine Hayes, Luigi LaBlache, Jenny Lind, Maria Malibran, Mario, Euphrosyne Parepa-Rosa, Giudita Pasta, Giambattista Rubini, Giorgio Ronconi, Wilhelmine Schroder-Devrient, Henriette Sontag, and Theresa Tietjens. Magnificently bound in ¾ leather, marbeled boards, gilt print on black spine.
“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. She was born Anna Dunphy in New York in c.1856, and moved to Cincinnati with her mother, following her father's death. She was at one time principal singer in the choir of Cincinnati Cathedral and later a contralto soloist at Henry Ward Beecher's church in Brooklyn. She married Count Leon de Brémont, a French medical doctor in New York, and moved to Europe after his death in 1882. 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.
In London in 1888 she was initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn, alongside Oscar Wilde's wife Constance. She later wrote a memoir about Wilde and his mother. In the May of the same year she appeared at the Globe Theatre in London in ‘the Countess de Brémont's Matinee’, playing Rosalind in the forest scenes from AS YOU LIKE IT. The Era said ‘her style was decidedly unsatisfactory’. In 1893, in the course of a review of three volumes by de Brémont, 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’.
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. ‘The Gentleman Digger’ was published the next year, its characters thinly disguised versions of real people.
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.
She was in London during the First World War, where her experiences of German air-raids inspired her novel ‘The Black Opal’.”
- Z. D. Akron