The Lifetime Affair Between The Diva and Doctor God

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New book explores the little known story of Sarah Bernhardt and Doctor Samuel Pozzi

They met first in the Latin Quarter of Paris—he a student at the University’s Faculty of Medicine and she an actress just beginning her ascent to stardom. The sexual attraction was mutual, immediate and overwhelming and would burn for ten years. They would remain dedicated to each other until death separated them. Co-authors Caroline de Costa and Francesca Miller explore their story in The Diva and Doctor God: Letters from Sarah Bernhardt to Doctor Samuel Pozzi.

French actress Sarah Bernhardt, the first international ‘superstar’, died nearly one hundred years ago, but she continues to fascinate an audience around the world. While biographies keep appearing and the Internet does a brisk trade in photos of Sarah in her many roles, little that is new has been published about her life in at least twenty years. Doctor Samuel Pozzi is often mentioned in passing by her biographers, as a friend and physician to the star, but scant attention has been paid to his relationship with her throughout their lives. Bernhardt and Pozzi were actually lovers for the ten years from 1869, and their sexual liaison then morphed into a deep and sincere friendship lasting until his death in 1918. He was perhaps her oldest and closest friend.

In writing The Diva and Doctor God, the authors have had access to more than one hundred letters and telegrams from Sarah Bernhardt to Samuel Pozzi, from the private archives in Paris of Pozzi’s great-grandson Nicolas Bourdet—most of which have never been published. While many are very short notes, the sense of the close relationship between the two across almost fifty years is clearly conveyed. Around these letters, the little-known story of Bernhardt and Pozzi is woven, which has allowed the authors to recount the most interesting aspects of Pozzi’s life as well as the enormous contribution he made to improving women’s reproductive health. For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to

About the Authors
Caroline de Costa is professor of obstetrics and gynecology at James Cook University School of Medicine in Cairns, North Queensland, Australia, and a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist. She has published many books in the United States and Australia, including books of information for women on reproductive health, popular textbooks for medical students, and three novels. She has a particular interest in the health of Indigenous Australian women and women from recently-arrived immigrant groups and has been a strong advocate for improvements in women’s healthcare in Australia. She also has an interest in the history of gynecology and has published widely in this area. As well as her medical qualifications she has a degree in French language and literature. She is the mother of seven children and lives in Cairns with her husband, a surgeon. For further information see

Francesca Miller has spent much of her professional life as an entertainment journalist and movie reviewer in print, on-line and on radio. She has worked as an editor for magazines in Los Angeles, Seattle, Canada, New York and San Francisco, interviewed a number of Hollywood luminaries, written numerous “puff pieces” and critiqued hundreds of films. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the International Press Academy. With Caroline she has co-authored articles on Samuel Pozzi and Sarah Bernhardt for The Lancet and History Today. She has completed two works of fiction and is presently working on a crime novel about New Orleans in the 1950s. For further information see

The Diva and Doctor God * by Caroline de Costa and Francesca Miller
Letters from Sarah Bernhardt to Doctor Samuel Pozzi
Publication Date: October 28, 2010
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 262 pages; 978-1-4535-7965-7
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 262 pages; 978-1-4535-7966-4
eBook; $9.99; 978-1-4535-8314-2

Members of the media who wish to review this book may request a complimentary paperback copy by contacting the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (610) 915-0294 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.

For more information on self-publishing or marketing with Xlibris, visit . To receive a free publishing guide, please call (888) 795-4274.

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