|Born||Marguerite Antoinette Jeanne Marie Ghislaine Cleenewerck de Crayencour
8 June 1903
|Died||17 December 1987
Northeast Harbor, Maine, USA
|Occupation||Author, essayist, poet|
|Notable work(s)||Mémoires d'Hadrien|
|Notable award(s)||Erasmus Prize (1983)|
|Partner(s)||Grace Frick (1937-1979)|
Marguerite Yourcenar (8 June 1903 – 17 December 1987) was a Belgian-born French novelist and essayist. Winner of the Prix Femina and the Erasmus Prize, she was the first woman elected to the Académie française, in 1980, and the seventeenth person to occupy Seat 3.
Yourcenar was born Marguerite Antoinette Jeanne Marie Ghislaine Cleenewerck de Crayencour in Brussels, Belgium to Michel Cleenewerck de Crayencour, of French bourgeoisie descent, and a Belgian mother, Fernande de Cartier de Marchienne, of Belgian nobility, who died ten days after her birth. She grew up in the home of her paternal grandmother.
In 1939 Yourcenar's intimate companion at the time, a translator named Grace Frick, invited the writer to the United States to escape the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Yourcenar lectured in comparative literature in New York City and Sarah Lawrence College. Yourcenar was bisexual and she and Frick became lovers in 1937, and would remain so until Frick's death in 1979. They bought a house together in Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island, Maine and lived there for decades.
In 1951 she published, in France, the novel Mémoires d'Hadrien, which she had been writing with pauses for a decade. The novel was an immediate success and met with great critical acclaim. In this novel Yourcenar recreated the life and death of one of the great rulers of the ancient world, the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who writes a long letter to Marcus Aurelius, the son and heir of Antoninus Pius, his successor and adoptive son. The Emperor meditates on his past, describing both his triumphs and his failures, his love for Antinous, and his philosophy. This novel has become a modern classic, a standard against which fictional recreations of antiquity are measured.
Yourcenar was elected as the first female member of the Académie française, in 1980. An anecdote tells of how the bathroom labels were then changed in this male-dominated institution: (Messieurs (Men) and Yourcenar). "One of the respected writers in French language, she published many novels, essays, and poems, as well as three volumes of memoirs.
Legacy and honors
- 1968, Prix Femina for L'Œuvre au noir (The Abyss)
- 1980, elected to the Académie française
- 1983, winner of the Dutch Erasmus Prize, for contributions to European literature and culture
Other works available in English translation
- A Blue Tale and Other Stories, ISBN 0-226-96530-9. Three stories written between 1927 and 1930, translated and published 1995.
- With Open Eyes: Conversations with Matthieu Galey
- Shusha Guppy (Spring 1988). "Marguerite Yourcenar, The Art of Fiction No. 103". The Paris Review., accessed 17 february 2011
- Joan Acocella (14 February 2005). "Becoming the Emperor". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- "Marguerite Yourcenar". 2002-02-21. Retrieved 2009-10-15-05.
- Josyane Savigneau, Marguerite Yourcenar: Inventing a Life (1993).
- George Rousseau, Marguerite Yourcenar: A Biography (London: Haus Publishing, 2004).
- Judith Holland Sarnecki, Subversive Subjects: Reading Marguerite Yourcenar (2004)
- Giorgetto Giorgi, "Il Grand Tour e la scoperta dell’antico nel Labyrinthe du monde di Marguerite Yourcenar," in Sergio Audano, Giovanni Cipriani (ed.), Aspetti della Fortuna dell'Antico nella Cultura Europea: atti della settima giornata di studi, Sestri Levante, 19 marzo 2010 (Foggia: Edizioni il Castello, 2011) (Echo, 1), 99-108.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Marguerite Yourcenar|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Marguerite Yourcenar|
- Works by Marguerite Yourcenar on Open Library at the Internet Archive
- Marguerite Yourcenar on Books and Writers, kirjasto.sci.fi.
- Jacob Stockinger (3 March 2004). "Yourcenar, Marguerite (1903-1987)". glbtq Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- Marguerite Yourcenar et Suzanne Lilar : plus qu’une rencontre, une complicité by Michèle Goslar
- English translations of Marguerite Yourcenar by Walter Jacob Kaiser, Catalogue of correspondence and manuscripts concerning Walter Kaiser's English translation of works by French writer Marguerite Yourcenar, Houghton Library, Harvard University