Saturday, January 20, 2007

Memoirs of an Emperor

In 1951 Jules Romains, commenting on the most recent work by Marguerite Yourcenar, said that she had a writing style "of near constant perfection and felicity". He was referring to her novel, Memoirs of Hadrian, and more than fifty years later all I can do is concur and add a few more superlatives to describe my reaction to Yourcenar's novel. She captures the spirit of one of the truly great Roman emperors. Hadrian was a builder, a dreamer and a spiritual man with a particular eye for youthful male beauty. All this and more is expressed in the flawless prose of Ms. Yourcenar. With her other works, especially The Abyss, Alexis, Coup de Grace and Fires, she created an oeuvre that is a reader's delight. One of my favorite authors.

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