Zenobia may also recall the quintessentially romantic figure of the improvisatrice
, popularized by the international success of Madame de Steel's Corinne, or Italy (1807), a work with which Hawthorne was familiar (as attested, in particular, by both his French and Italian Notebooks and The Marble Faun).
In the two years running up to the publication of the The Improvisatrice
, Jerdan assiduously asserted the existence of a wide audience for L.E.L.
Because the whole experiment had sprung from questions about Fuller, I called my protagonist Corinne (the improvisatrice
of de Stael's eponymous novel, often compared to Fuller), and the protector of Alice Austen's work is named Miss Birdseye (after Henry James' caricature of Elizabeth Peabody in The Bostonians).
early volumes, such as The Improvisatrice
and Other Poems by L.E.L.
(7) Merimee borrowed from the themes and poetic imagery of these lament texts to create songs for his young improvisatrice
to sing in Colomba.
The eponymous heroine of Germaine De Stall's Corinne, or Italy (1807) is renowned throughout Italy for her talent as an improvisatrice
; she sacrifices the possibility of marriage to her artistic career only to pine to death for her lover, Lord Nelvil.
(35) 'The improvisatrice
's [Corinne's] poetry becomes less important than what she symbolizes--whether that is an implicitly feminized Italy, overflowing with excessive fertility in literature as in agriculture, or the doomed career of the artist as woman, reliving Sappho's tragic fate' (Caroline Gonda, 'The Rise and Fall of the Improvisatore, 1753-1845', Romanticism, 6 (2000), 195-210 (p.
(C 132-3) It is precisely as poet, writer, and improvisatrice
that our heroine becomes identified with Italy and that Italy becomes a nation in the novel.
The young woman who was to become Marie Corelli, in Rebecca West's rather snobbish formulation, "had a mind like any milliner's apprentice; but she was something much more than a milliner's apprentice." After a failed attempt at a career as a piano improvisatrice
and singer, she took to writing to support her indigent and neurotic father and half-brother Eric, both of whom she worshiped.
(10) Coleridge's title--The Improvisatore--announces its specifically female context by alluding to a popular poem by Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802-38), who styled herself "L.E.L.": her long poem, The Improvisatrice
, published in 1824, two years before Coleridge's poem was written, was mentioned in the table of contents of the issue of The Amulet in which Coleridge answered it.
 See also James's use of 'improvisatrice
' as a term of approbation to describe George Sand in two of his eulogistic pieces on her: 'Letter from Paris' (22 July 1876), and 'George Sand' (July 1877): 'People may like George Sand or not, but they can hardly deny that she is the great improvisatrice
of literature -- the writer who best answers to Shelley's description of the skylark singing "in profuse strains of unpremeditated art".
As Angela Leighton has shown, Landon enacted the Sappho-Corinne myth in her life and art.(38) Known to readers as L.E.L., Landon made her name writing verses about slighted and unrequited love, wearing her hair a la Sappho, as young Disraeli described it, and making the heroine of her widely-popular The Improvisatrice
(1824) a modern Sapphic artist.(39) The Improvisatrice
begins with its poetess-heroine singing "a last song of Sappho" and ends with her Sappho-like death of unrequited love.