Marguerite Yourcenar

Marguerite Yourcenar

Marguerite Yourcenar

Author: Marguerite Yourcenar

Profile: Marguerite Yourcenar was a French poet, essayist and novelist. She was born in Brussels, Belgium and died in Bar Harbor, Maine, U.S.  Marguerite Yourcenar was born Marguerite Antoinette Jeanne Marie Ghislaine Cleenewerck de Crayencour to Fernande de Cartier de Marchienne, a Belgian mother and Michel Cleenewerck Flanders, a rich landowner. Her paternal grandmother took care of her in her younger days.


In 1947 she became a citizen of the United States. In 1980 she was the first woman to be elected to the Academie Francaise and the seventh individual to occupy Seat 3. Her most notable work is Memoires d’Hadrien. Marguerite Yourcenar was a bisexual and lived with her partner and lover, Grace Frick till Frick died in 1979. With Jerry Wilson she had a distressful relationship.

Almost an anagram, she adopted Yourcenar, her surname as a pen name in the year 1947 which she also made it as her legal surname. In 1929 Marguerite published her debut novel. In 1937 over a ten month period she translated, ‘The Waves’ of Virginia Woolf. Yourcenar was invited by Grace Frick her partner to the U.S. in 1939 to escape from the World War II outbreak in Europe. In the U.S. she gave lectures in comparative literature in Sarah Lawrence Collee and New York City.

Writing style: Marguerite Yourcena’s genre was poetry, fiction, drama and nonfiction.

Published Texts:


1921 – Le jardin des chimeres

1922 – Les dieux ne sont pas morts

1029 – Alexis ou le traite du vain combat

1931 – La nouvelle Eurydice

Read realted notes  Valerie Taylor

1932 – Pindare

1934 – Denier du reve

1934 – La mor conduit l’attelage

1936 – Feux (prose poem)

1938 – Nouvelles orientales (short stories)

1938 – Les songes et les sorts

1939 – Le coup de grace

1951 – Memoires d’Hadrien

1954 – Electre ou la chute des masques

1956 – Les charites d’Alcippe

1958 – Constantin Cavafy

1962 – Sous benefice d’inventaire

1964 – Fleuve profond, sombre riviere: les negros spirituals

1968 – L’Ceuvre au noir

1974 – Sourvenirs pieux

1977 – Archives du Nord

1974-84 – Le labyrinth du monde

1980 – Mishima oou la vision du vide (essay)

1981 – Anna, soror

1982 – Comme l’eau qui coule

1984 – Le temps, ce grand sculpteur

1984 – The Dark Brain of Piranesi and Other Essays

1986 – La Couronne et la Lyre

1988 – Quoi? L Eternite

Other works available in English translation

`A Blue Tale and Other Stories

With Open Eyes: Conversations with Matthieu Galey

Awards and Acknowledgements:

1952 – Prix Femina Vacaresco for Memoires d’Hadrien (Memoirs of Hadrian)

1958 – Prix Renee Vivien for Les charites d’Alcippe (The Alms of Alcippe)

1963 – Prix Combat for Sous benefice d’inventaire (The Dark Brain of Piranesi)

1968 – Prix Femina for L’OEuvre au noir (The Abyss)

1972 – Prix Prince Pierre de Monaco for her entire oeuvre

1974 – Grand Prix national de la culture for Souvenirs pieux (Dear Departed)

1977 – Grand Prix de l’Academie francaise for her entire oeuvre

1980 – Elected to the Academie francaise, the first woman so honored

Read realted notes  The Signalman – Charles Dickens

1983 – Winner of the Erasmus Prize for contributions to European literature and culture

1987 – Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

2003, 12th November, Belgium – A postage stamp is issued by Belgium with the value of 0.59 Euro

2020 – Her 117th birthday was celebrated with a Google Doodle by Google