Subversive Subjects: Reading Marguerite Yourcenar

Subversive Subjects: Reading Marguerite Yourcenar

Subversive Subjects: Reading Marguerite Yourcenar

Subversive Subjects: Reading Marguerite Yourcenar

Synopsis

"This collection of articles approaches Marguerite Yourcenar's oeuvre from a variety of critical perspectives. Each author included in the volume ventures beyond traditional readings of Yourcenar's complex texts, pushing against the boundaries of interpretation that the Belgian-born writer carefully established. The authors' goal is not to pigeonhole Yourcenar, but to interrogate her writing in the hope of enhancing understanding and stimulating further investigation of her wide-ranging works." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This project on french writer Marguerite Yourcenar— who spent the years between 1943 and her death in 1987 alternating between her cozy cottage on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine and traveling all over the world with her female or male companions— needs some explanation. in this brief preface I hope to give the necessary background information that will place our collection of essays in its historical and cultural context. When Ingeborg Majer O'Sickey began in the mid-1990s to collect articles on Marguerite Yourcenar that reflected the influence of feminist and poststructuralist theories, I was simply an aspiring contributor. Ingeborg turned the project over to me in 1997 when she received a yearlong fellowship to work on women filmmakers in Germany. We continued, however, to work together throughout the late 1990s as we communicated with contributors, and, in some cases, translators. We had collected essays from colleagues in the United States, Europe, and Canada, all of whom were interested in Yourcenar's labyrinthine texts. We worked on adding contributors' revisions and sought re- translations for two of the essays because we felt that the initial translations we had commissioned were not good enough to include in this volume. For newer translations of the articles by Cliche and Hillenaar I must thank Gervais Reed, professor emeritus of Lawrence University, who is currently editor of creative works for the French Review. His thoughtful translations capture and preserve the spirit and tone of the originals. Chantal Rodais took on the task of translating Mieke Taat's dense and highly theoretical article, and I commend her for its outcome. While working on this project I have acquired a newfound admiration for translators, including Yourcenar herself, who translated British and American authors as well as various Negro spirituals.

Finally, the process of putting together this collection of articles took far longer than anticipated; thus, I wish to thank our ever- patient contributors. I am delighted to present to an English-speaking audience on the one-hundredth anniversary of Yourcenar's birth these long overdue viewpoints on a fascinating and often over-

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