The life of Camille Claudel, the great 19th-century sculptor, is a tragic story of a woman who was ahead of her time. In fin-de-siecle France the proper focus of a woman's energy was her home and her only acceptable identity was an extension of her father, brother, or husband. Sculpture-dirty, supremely unladylike work-was an especially scandalous metier for the daughter of a respectable family to choose. Brilliant and strong-willed, Claudel dared to pursue artistic achievement and public recognition.The pressure of an intolerant society exacted its toll, however. Claudel's critical standing was persistently overshadowed by her 15-year liaison with Auguste Rodin. And fears that her scandalous lifestyle would jeopardize her brother's diplomatic career influenced her parents' decision to commit her to an insane asylum, where she unhappily spent the final thirty years of her life. Less than a century after the height of her success, Camille Claudel's only place in history was in reference to her brother, the poet Paul Claudel, and the sculptor Auguste Rodin, her mentor and lover.The 1982 French publication of Anne Delbee's Une Femme catapulted Claudel back into her rightful place in the accepted pantheon of great artists. Combining conscientious historical research with the narrative perspective of a woman artist of today, this fictionalized biography has rescued a significant sculptor from the obscurity into which so many women of the past have fallen.Anne Delbee is an author, producer, and actor, and founder of the Go Theater. She is currently the creative director of the National Drama Center in Angers. She lives in Paris.Carol Cosman is the translator of Sartre's multivolume biography of Flaubert, The Family Idiot. She is coeditor of the anthologies The Other Voice and The Penguin Book of Women Poets. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.