The astonishing and unknown story of Marie Duplessis, the courtesan who inspired Dumas's novel and play La dame aux camélias, Verdi's opera La Traviata, George Cukor's film Camille, and Frederick Ashton's ballet Marguerite and Armand. Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse, Greta Garbo, Isabelle Huppert, Maria Callas, Anna Netrebko, and Margot Fonteyn are just a few of the actors, singers, and dancers who have portrayed her. Drawing on new research, Julie Kavanagh re-creates the short, intense life of the tall, pale, slender girl who at thirteen fled her brute of a father and Normandy to go to Paris, where she would become one of the grand courtesans of the 1840s. France's national treasure, Alexandre Dumas père, was intrigued by her, his son became her lover, and Franz Liszt, too, fell under her spell. With elegant clothes, a coach, and a grand apartment, she entertained a salon of dandies, writers, and artists. Her death from tuberculosis at 23 became a national tragedy, and her independent and modern spirit has timeless appeal.--From publisher description.