Memoirs of Hadrian

Memoirs of Hadrian

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374529260
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 05/18/2005
Series: FSG Classics Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 140,028
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.28(h) x 1.11(d)

About the Author

Marguerite Yourcenar is one of the most acclaimed writers of the twentieth century. Author of over twenty books—of which Hadrian is her acknowledged masterpiece—she was the first woman elected to the Academie Française. She died in 1987.

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Memoirs of Hadrian 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
jasonlf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is meant to be one of the greatest historical novels ever written and I had been looking forward to reading it for a while. Unfortunately, I was disappointed, although the problems were more with my taste in books than any objective shortcoming. I would have been happier re-reading I, Claudius, Claudius the God or Kingdom of the Wicked all of which bring a greater sense of irony to the enterprise.The book is in the form of a first person memoir by Hadrian, dictated on his deathbed as a letter to one of his chosen successors, Marcus Aurelius. It was published in France in 1951 and has been successful ever since.Hadrian's life lends itself to the novel form because it is so thinly and poorly sourced that it is difficult for a biographer to tackle (the shortcoming of Anthony Everitt's biography). Marguerite Yourcenar tells it reasonably well. As she explains in the afterword, she chose this time and place because it was after the Roman gods were no longer believed in but before Christianity. Hadrian was a Hellenophile who brought a certain amount of peace and consolidation to the borders of the Empire as well as stability to the succession and significant building in Rome.The aspect that were less to my taste were that much of it was meditative ruminations on the nature of love, art, power, etc. I admit this might reflect my own limitations more than it does the author's.
JBreedlove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting book written through the eyes of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Some interesting insights about the time and a little history as well. The second century was more wide open than I would have thought. Before the Christians took over. Very well researched.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Marguerite Yourcenar brings with panache Hadrian, a 2nd century Roman Emperor, back to life. Impersonating Hadrian, Yourcenar imagines that he is writing a series of letters to the attention of Marcus Aurelius, his successor. The dying emperor is pondering over his own life and legacy to the world, as any contemporary reader will do one day. Although Hadrian knows that his contribution to humanity is as fragile as his own existence, he wants to remain optimistic about the destiny of Rome and the future of human race.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, written by the first woman to be admitted into the French Academy (l'Academie Francaise) will captivate you. Written as an autobiography, it expresses the thoughts and feelings of a common man, who was also the emperor or Rome. Beautifully written, it covers all aspects of a man's life, describing the soul, mind and heart of Hadrian. This is a masterpiece which should be read by anyone looking for a superb story full of humanity. This book is the best example of french contemporary literature. An outstanding book which you will like to give to anyone you love.