Books: The Magnificent Lunatic

MADAME SARAH by Cornelia Otis Skinner. 356 pages. Houghton Mifflin. $6.95.

Max Beerbohm thought that she shed an aura of lurid supernaturalness. Dumas the elder described her voice as "a spring that ripples and leaps over golden pebbles." One awed critic wrote that watching her was as fascinating as watching a wild animal in a cage. She herself apparently felt like a great tigress stalking among fluttering doves; she always claimed that she once tried to persuade a famous surgeon to graft a tiger's tail to her spine so that she could lash it...

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