Marguerite Yourcenar and the Environment

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paper


The fictional writings of Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-1987) on historical subjects, such as Rome during the principate of a Roman emperor (Mémoires d’Hadrien, 1951), the Netherlands during the turbulent sixteenthcentury (L’Œuvre au Noir, 1968), works which brought her fame and election in 1981 to the French Academy, are well known to a discerning reading public throughout the world, either in the original French or in translation.
Less well-known in this writer, a classicist, who wields the French language with such skill, is the importance in her corpus of the environment. Little critical attention has been paid to this aspect of her work in France, perhaps because of her abode elsewhere. For Yourcenar did not live in France; most of her life was spent on Mount Desert Island, off the coast of Maine in the United States. This change of environment heralded a very clear identification and affiliation with her place of residence. She became a passionate environmentalist and ecologist. Her library in her house on Mount Desert Island, open to the public each year, contains works which are testimony to this passion, as is the collection of letters and other documents which she bequeathed to the Houghton Library at Harvard University. This paper will look at Yourcenar’s writings on the environment and explore the strong sense of identification emanating from her passion for the natural world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference of the Australian Society for French Studies
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018
EventInternational Conference of the Australian Society for French studies - University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Duration: 5 Dec 20187 Dec 2018


ConferenceInternational Conference of the Australian Society for French studies
Abbreviated titleASFS

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