Marguerite Yourcenar

The first woman to be elected to The French Academy, the multi talented personality of Marguerite Yourcenar was a novelist, essayist, playwright, short story writer, poet and translator. She was an artist at reconstructing historical eras in the form of her novels. Her novels, dealing with modern issues set in historical eras won her immense fame as a writer.

The inheritance Yourcenar received after the death of her father, allowed her to devote herself to traveling and literary pursuits and love affairs on the Paris artistic scene. She joined a bohemian crowd of artists, moving between Paris, Lausanne, Athens, Istanbul, Brussels and the Greek islands, which inspired her travel writing “Nouvelles Orientales” and “Feux” based on Greek mythology.

Yourcenar was among the first female writers to live an openly lesbian lifestyle, and she moved to the USA in 1939 to live with her partner Grace Frick. The couple were to remain together until Frick’s death in 1979. She taught French History and History of Art, and continued to write: her novel “Mémoires d’Hadrien” was published in 1951 and enjoyed success with both the critics and the public worldwide.

She was an inveterate traveler and remained active right up to her death in 1987. She was a militant vegetarian and defender of the rights of animals and inspired Brigitte Bardot to set up her animal sanctuary.

Books (In English) in order of publication:

A Coin in Nine Hands1934
Oriental Tales1938
Coup de Grâce1939
Memoirs of Hadrian1951
The Dark Brain of Piranesi and Other Essays1962
Mishima: A Vision of the Void1981
Two Lives and a Dream1982
That Mighty Sculptor, Time1983
A Blue Tale and Other Stories1993
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