Marguerite Yourcenar (French pronunciation: [maʁɡəʁit juʁsənaʁ]; 8 June 1903 – 17 December 1987) was a French novelist and essayist born in Brussels, Belgium, who became a US citizen in 1947. 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.
|Born||Marguerite Antoinette Jeanne Marie Ghislaine Cleenewerck de Crayencour|
8 June 1903
|Died||17 December 1987 (aged 84)|
Northeast Harbor, Maine, U.S.
|Occupation||Novelist, essayist, poet|
|Notable works||Mémoires d'Hadrien|
|Notable awards||Erasmus Prize (1983)|
|Partner||Grace Frick (1937–1979; Frick's death)|
Yourcenar was born Marguerite Antoinette Jeanne Marie Ghislaine Cleenewerck de Crayencour in Brussels, Belgium, to Michel Cleenewerck de Crayencour, of French bourgeois descent, originating from French Flanders, 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. She adopted the surname Yourcenar – an almost anagram of Crayencour, having one fewer c – as a pen name; in 1947 she also took it as her legal surname.
In 1939, her intimate companion at the time, the literary scholar and Kansas City native Grace Frick, invited Yourcenar to the United States to escape the outbreak of World War II in Europe. She lectured in comparative literature in New York City and Sarah Lawrence College.
Yourcenar was lesbian; she and Frick became lovers in 1937 and remained together until Frick's death in 1979. After ten years spent in Hartford, Connecticut, they bought a house in Northeast Harbor, Maine, on Mount Desert Island, where they lived for decades. They are buried alongside each other at Brookside Cemetery, Mount Desert, Maine.
In 1951, she published, in France, the novel Memoirs of Hadrian, which she had been writing on-and-off 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. The novel has become a modern classic.
In 1980, Yourcenar was the first female member elected to the Académie française. An anecdote tells of how the bathroom labels were then changed in this male-dominated institution: "Messieurs|Marguerite Yourcenar" (Gents/Marguerite Yourcenar). She published many novels, essays, and poems, as well as three volumes of memoirs.
Legacy and honorsEdit
- 1952, Prix Femina Vacaresco for Mémoires d'Hadrien (Memoirs of Hadrian)
- 1958, Prix Renée Vivien for Les charités d'Alcippe (The Alms of Alcippe)
- 1963, Prix Combat for Sous bénéfice d'inventaire (The Dark Brain of Piranesi)
- 1968, Prix Femina for L'Œuvre au noir (The Abyss)
- 1972, Prix Prince Pierre de Monaco for her entire oeuvre
- 1974, Grand Prix national de la culture for Souvenirs pieux (Dear Departed)
- 1977, Grand Prix de l'Académie française for her entire oeuvre
- 1980, elected to the Académie française, the first woman so honored
- 1983, winner of the Erasmus Prize for contributions to European literature and culture
- 1987, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- 2003, 12 November: Belgium issues a postage stamp (Code 200320B) with the value of 0.59 Euro.
Other works available in English translation
- George Stade (1990). European Writers: Twentieth Century. Scribner. p. 2536. ISBN 978-0-684-19158-4.
- 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 8 January 2009.
- "Marguerite Yourcenar". 21 February 2002. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
- "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter Y" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- "Literatuur op postzegels België 2003" (in Dutch). Filahome.com. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- Joan E. Howard, From Violence to Vision: Sacrifice in the Works of Marguerite Yourcenar (1992)
- 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 March 2010 (Foggia: Edizioni il Castello, 2011) (Echo, 1), 99–108.
- Les yeux ouverts, entretiens avec Mathieu Galey (Éditions du Centurion « Les interviews », 1980).
- Bérengère Deprez, Marguerite Yourcenar et les États-Unis. Du nageur à la vague, Éditions Racine, 2012, 192 p.
- Bérengère Deprez, Marguerite Yourcenar and the United States. From Prophecy to Protest, Peter Lang, coll. « Yourcenar », 2009, 180 p.
- Deprez, Marguerite Yourcenar. Écriture, maternité, démiurgie, essai, Bruxelles, Archives et musée de la littérature/PIE-Peter Lang, coll. « Documents pour l’histoire des francophonies », 2003, 330 p.
- Donata Spadaro, Marguerite Yourcenar et l'écriture autobiographique : Le Labyrinthe du monde, bull. SIEY, no 17, décembre 1996, p. 69 à 83
- Donata Spadaro, Marguerite Yourcenar e l'autobiografia (ADP, 2014)
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Marguerite Yourcenar|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marguerite Yourcenar.|
- Marguerite Yourcenar, alchimie du paysage, a documentary film by Jacques Loeuille, France Télévisions 2014.
- Works by Marguerite Yourcenar at Open Library
- Petri Liukkonen. "Marguerite Yourcenar". Books and Writers
- Jacob Stockinger (3 March 2004). "Yourcenar, Marguerite (1903–1987)". glbtq Encyclopedia. Retrieved 8 January 2009.
- 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