Marguerite Yourcenar

Marguerite Yourcenar (märgərēt´ yōōrsənär´), 1903–87, French writer, b. Belgium as Marguerite de Crayencour. The first woman elected (1980) to the prestigious French Academy, Yourcenar moved to the United States in 1939, became an American citizen in 1947, and spent much of her life on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Combining vast erudition with clarity and a classical sense of form, her novelistic reconstructions of historical eras and people have reached a wide audience. Her many works include Memoirs of Hadrian (1951, tr. 1954), a fictionalized autobiography of the Roman emperor that is probably her finest book; The Abyss (1968, tr. 1976), set in 16th-century Flanders; and Le Labyrinthe du monde (3 vol., 1974–88), a historical memoir of her own family.

See biography by J. Savigneau (1993); studies by P. Horn (1985) and G. Shurr (1987).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2016, The Columbia University Press.

Marguerite Yourcenar: Selected full-text books and articles

Subversive Subjects: Reading Marguerite Yourcenar By Judith Holland Sarnecki; Ingeborg Majer O'Sickey Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2004
Legendary Figures: Ancient History in Modern Novels By Clayton Koelb University of Nebraska Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The Alien within Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian"
Faith of a (Woman) Writer By Alice Kessler-Harris; William McBrien Greenwood Press, 1988
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 25 "Marguerite Yourcenar's Sexual Politics in Fiction, 1939"
Rhetoric: Readings in French Literature By Michael Hawcroft Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Marguerite Yourcenar at the Academie Francaise" begins on p. 65
The Seduction of the Mediterranean: Writing, Art, and Homosexual Fantasy By Robert Aldrich Routledge, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Peyrefitte, Yourcenar, Renault" begins on p. 187
French Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook By Eva Martin Sartori; Dorothy Wynne Zimmerman Greenwood Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: "Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-1987)" begins on p. 535
Short French Fiction: Essays on the Short Story in France in the Twentieth Century By J. E. Flower University of Exeter Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Marguerite Yourcenar: 'Le Lait de la mort'"
Women's Vision in Western Literature: The Empathic Community By Laurence M. Porter Praeger, 2005
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The Peaceable Empire: Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoires d'Hadrien"
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