Review: George Rousseau’s “Yourcenar: Life & Times”

by writereaderly

 Marguerite Yourcenar, author of Memoirs of Hadrian and The Abyss, was a Belgian-born novelist and the first woman named to the prestigious Académie Francaise (only ever 40 members at one time). Memoirs is a splendid novel, so finely wrought, so carefully weighted, and I was keen to read this mini-bio which arrived just the week after discussing MY with the book man at my local market (excellent stall, by the way, so well curated). Rousseau writes for a French audience – Yourcenar’s literary heartland – and therefore assumes prior knowledge on his subject; for the uninformed such as myself, I wanted a little more scurrilous detail about her lady-loving seductions and a little less Gallic flamboyance butting in on the argument as to whether she really was a “gay writer” (she lived with Grace Frick for over 40 years) who fictionally inhabited powerful gay-male heroes. A lovely edition and quite a nice little bio of an excessively self-important woman – an amazing novelist, though, I’m interested to throw myself into The Abyss (ha!).

PS Sorry, got lots wrong about this. Rousseau isn’t French, he must be imitating Gallic flamboyance and pre-emptive knowledge.

Where it came from: Gift from CH
Time & manner of reading: A week of moderately interested bitser-reads
Where it went to: Trev the book man
Reminds me of:
Who I’d recommend it to: Someone one knows a fair bit about Yourcenar and wants to know more
Also reading: The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

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