Framed as a letter from the Roman Emperor Hadrian to his successor, Marcus Aurelius, Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian is translated from the French by Grace Frick with an introduction by Paul Bailey in Penguin Modern Classics.
In her magnificent novel, Marguerite Yourcenor recreates the life and death of one of the great rulers of the ancient world. The Emperor Hadrian, aware his demise is imminent, writes a long valedictory letter to Marcus Aurelius, his future successor. The Emperor meditates on his past, describing his accession, military triumphs, love of poetry and music, and the philosophy that informed his powerful and far-flung rule. A work of superbly detailed research and sustained empathy, Memoirs of Hadrian captures the living spirit of the Emperor and of Ancient Rome.
Marguerite de Crayencour (1903-88), who went by the inexact anagrammatic pen name 'Marguarite Yourcenar', was a Belgian-born French novelist and essayist, the first woman to be elected to the Académie française. Her first novel Alexis was published in 1929; in 1939 she was invited to America by her lover Grace Frick, where she lectured in comparative literature at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. When Mémoires d'Hadrien was first published in 1951, it was an immediate success and met with great critical acclaim.
If you enjoyed Memoirs of Hadrian, you might like Robert Graves's I, Claudius, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'A timeless masterpiece ... every page is informed by her profound scholarship'
Paul Bailey, author of Gabriel's Lament
'Yourcenar conjures worlds. She can make us share passion - for beauty, bodies, ideas, even power - and consider it closely at the same time. She is that most extraordinary thing: a sensual thinker'
Independent on Sunday
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Both an exploration of character and a reflection on the meaning of history, Memoirs of Hadrian has received international acclaim since its first publication in France in 1951. In it, Marguerite Yourcenar reimagines the Emperor Hadrian's arduous boyhood, his triumphs and reversals, and finally, as emperor, his gradual reordering of a war-torn world, writing with the imaginative insight of a great writer of the twentieth century while crafting a prose style as elegant and precise as those of the Latin stylists of Hadrian's own era.About the Author:
Marguerite Yourcenar (8 June 1903 - 17 December 1987) was a Belgian-born French novelist and essayist. Winner of the Prix Femina and the Erasmus Prize, she was the first woman elected to the Academie francaise, in 1980, and the seventeenth person to occupy Seat 3.
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Book Description PENGUIN BOOKS LTD. Paperback. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # G014001358XI5N00
Book Description Penguin Books, New York, NY, U.S.A., 1978. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: 2. Dust Jacket Condition: 0. Reprint Edition. Fair Book. 12mo-over 6?-7?" tall. As a picture of the whole various Empire with its manners and beliefs, no less than as an imaginary portrait of its ruler, this book can hardly be too vehemently commended.Clean throughout/much used with creases, heavy edgewear, browning from aging. Bookseller Inventory # 051623
Book Description Penguin, UK, 1978. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Light reading wear. Very clean interior. Bookseller Inventory # 005222
Book Description Penguin, UK, 1978. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. Reprint. Paperback reprint. Clean & tight. No inscription. Uncreased spine. Sent FIRST CLASS NEXT WORKING DAY OR SOONER securely boxed in cardboard. ref 09:18. Bookseller Inventory # 011624