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Marguerite Yourcenar: Inventing a Life Hardcover – October 1, 1993

1.7 out of 5 stars 3 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One feels a bit like a voyeur reading this biography, not because of what it reveals about the first female member of the Academie and author of Memoirs of Hadrian , Fires and The Abyss , but rather for what it reveals about the land that gave us chauvinism. Born in 1903 in Brussels, Marguerite de Crayencour was raised by her good-hearted wastrel of a father who taught her, encouraged her to write and helped her devise her anagrammatic pen name (originally the genderless Marg Yourcenar). During her extensive travels, Yourcenar met Grace Frick, an American woman who became her companion for more than 40 years until Frick's death in 1979. Hoping to be with Frick and to escape the war in Europe, Yourcenar came to the U.S. in 1939 and continued to be based here until her death in 1987. There's the rub: Savigneau, editor of the book review section of Le Monde , simply cannot believe this practitioner par excellence of the French language would want to live in the U.S.--or, for that matter, with Frick. Savigneau does not present convincing evidence for the oft repeated thesis that Yourcenar, tough though she decidedly was, was bullied by Frick into staying in the U.S. This, combined with very little descriptive sensibility (Yourcenar's travels are reduced to a list of proper nouns) and even less original critical commentary about Yourcenar's work makes for a deeply unsatisfying portrait.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

In a densely worded but thoroughly engrossing biography of this important French writer, Savigneau lifts the shroud of mystery Yourcenar so avidly cultivated to reveal a woman whose precocious intellect surfaced at an early age. And Savigneau delves into the autobiographical aspects of Yourcenar's work, examining the history of her relationships and complicated sexual proclivities (she made a habit of seducing women but more than once fell in love with a homosexual man). Yourcenar was an important literary figure in her homeland as well as in the U.S., where she lived for many years with her partner, Grace. The fact that Yourcenar chose to keep sealed many of her letters to Grace for a 50-year period after her death does not seem to have hampered the biographer's efforts. A fascinating, unconventional portrait of the first woman ever elected to France's Academie Fran{‡}caise. Alice Joyce

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ University of Chicago Press; 1st edition (October 1, 1993)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 546 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0226735443
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0226735443
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.06 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9.34 x 6.42 x 1.7 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    1.7 out of 5 stars 3 ratings

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1.7 out of 5 stars
1.7 out of 5
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tomomori
2.0 out of 5 stars マルグリット・ユルスナール伝記ざます。
Reviewed in Japan on May 4, 2014
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