(French, 1903– 87)
The first woman to be elected to the Académie Française (in 1980), Marguerite Yourcenar felt that the characters in her novels were also companions she communed with in the garden of her home in Connecticut. This is strikingly apparent in Memoirs of Hadrian (1951). The Roman Emperor Hadrian, near death, reflects on his own life, most poignantly on his love for the young Antinous who took his own life, apparently in the belief that by dying he would enable Hadrian to live on. The Abyss (1984) takes up the tale of Zeno, an alchemist who commits suicide rather than recant or be burnt at the stake, and Oriental Tales (revised edition 1983) is a magical little book of retold myths and folk-tales from China, India, Greece, the Balkans, and Japan.
Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende AT