epub º Mémoires d'Hadrien ë Hardcover read  marguerite yourcenar

Marguerite Yourcenar ¸ Mémoires d'Hadrien ebook

epub º Mémoires d'Hadrien ë Hardcover read  marguerite yourcenar ✓ Hadrian's Memoirs is described by its author as a psychological novel and a meditation on history In the form the narrative is a fictional autobiography written by the Roman Emperor Hadrian 76 138 AD to his seventeen yearHistorians friends and enemies the memoirs reconstruct Hadrian's complex incandescent character his cultivated mind the news events that studded his dramatic career and his thirty years of travel over the Roman Empire then at its vastest extent Missions of both war and peace took him to the furthest outposts; he reorganized Roman Britain and the frontier of the Rhine; he r In the notes at the back of this book Marguerite Yourcenar tells us that in 1941 she stumbled upon some Piranesi engravings in a shop in New York One of them was a view of the interior of Hadrian’s Villa as it might have looked in the 1740s I say ‘might have’ because the famous Piranesi had a talent for adding interesting layers to his engravings of the monuments of Rome What his contemporaries viewed as simply ruins took on new life in his rendering imbued with the phantasms of his peculiar imagination Yourcenar who had been researching Hadrian’s life for many years interprets Piranesi’s version of Hadrian’s Villa as the inside of a human skull upon which strands of vegetation hang like human hair She recognizes Piranesi’s genius in conveying an hallucinatory echo of the tragic interior world of the Villa’s former owner the Emperor Hadrian and she praises Piranesi’s medium like gifts his ability to be an extraordinary intermediary between the Villa and the Emperor When I had digested her words it occurred to me that this is exactly how I’d describe her own achievement in this book Hers too are medium like gifts; she is an extraordinary intermediary between Hadrian and the reader We are inside his head uite an hallucinatory experienceAnd there’s a further parallel between the Piranesi engraving and Yourcenar’s book Piranesi chose to represent the part of the villa known as the Temple of Canope which Hadrian had created as a space to commemorate Antinous the dead Greek youth he idolized The statue of Antinous which Hadrian had placed in the centre of that space was no longer there in Piranesi’s time but it is interesting that among the many possible views of Hadrian’s Villa which Piranesi could have selected he chose the exact site of the missing statue Antinous dominates Piranesi’s work by his absence just as he dominated Hadrian’s life by his absence and Yourcenar’s book in turnIt seemed fitting to seek out the missing statue though it’s not been an easy task We know it was a Bacchus but among the many statues of Antinous that exist several depict him as Bacchus The large marble known as the Braschi Antinous now in the Vatican Museums corresponds best perhaps to Yourcenar’s description of the statue that she believes once stood in Hadrian’s Temple of Canope view spoiler hide spoiler

mobi ò Mémoires d'Hadrien ¸ Marguerite Yourcenar

Hadrian's Memoirs is described by its author as a psychological novel and a meditation on history In the form the narrative is a fictional autobiography written by the Roman Emperor Hadrian 76 138 AD to his seventeen year old grandson Marcus Aurelius who eventually becomes emperor In a tour de force of scholarship which uses Hadrian's extant writings and the writings of his ”I was beginning to find it natural if not just that we must perish Our literature is nearing exhaustion our arts are falling asleep; Pancrates is not Homer nor is Arrian a Xenophon; when I have tried to immortalize Antinous in stone no Praxiteles has come to hand Our sciences have been at a standstill from the times of Aristotle and Archimedes; our technical development is inadeuate to the strain of a long war; our technical development is inadeuate to the strain of a long war; even our pleasure lovers grow weary of delight More civilized ways of living and liberal thinking in the course of the last century are the work of a very small minority of good minds; the masses remain wholly ignorant fierce and cruel when they can be so and in any case limited and selfish; it is safe to wager that they will never change” HadrianHadrian ruled from 117 138 and was the 14th Emperor of the Roman Empire He was the third of five emperors that are referred to as the good emperors He had good men to follow and also provided a good example of leadership to those that followed in his footsteps He was the adopted son of Trajan Roman Emperors seemed to routinely struggle to produce offspring and the first controversy of his ascension to power was that Trajan had never officially named him as his successor but on a deathbed edict signed by Plotina the wife of Trajan not by the Emperor Hadrian was named to succeed He was uniuely ualified to lead Rome As a soldier he was able to view the empire from a different perspective than any of the leadership in Rome He fought courageously but was discomforted from all the killing that was necessary to put down rebellions or conuer new territory To Hadrian the warriors women and children they were killing were people that could have made good Roman citizens This experience convinced him to change the policies of his predecessors As Emperor he stopped the expansion of the empire and spent his time shoring up the relationship of Rome with the people of all the nations that composed the Roman Empire He wanted everyone to have skin in the game ”I was determined that even the most wretched from the slaves who clean the city sewers to the famished barbarians who hover along the frontiers should have an interest in seeing Rome endure” PantheonHe rebuilt the Pantheon ”I myself had revised its architectural plans drawn with too little daring by Apollodorus utilizing the arts of Greece only as ornamentation like an added luxury I had gone back for the basic form of the structure to the primitive fabled times of Rome and to the round temples of ancient Etruria” Hadrian was enad with Greece and brought their philosophies and focus on art back to prominence in Roman thought He built cities repaired sculptures and ancient architecture not just in Italy but throughout the territories He wanted his thinking his beliefs to be felt everywhere He was the first Emperor to travel to all of the geography of the Roman Empire Instead of conuest he built walls most famously in England to keep out nations hostile to Rome He spent time away from Rome than he did in Rome and improved the feeling towards Rome just by being a presence in areas most disaffected and disenchanted with being part of the Empire Hadrian's WallHadrian loved meeting people from different cultures and as a good Roman always wanted to assimilate the best of all humanity He was a deep thinker who had a broad understanding of philosophies and religions He liked to take time to think to fantasize about a new life a new world but at the same time found that even entertaining such ideas he was alone among men of his class ”I played with the ideaTo be alone without possessions without renown with none of the advantages of a civilization to expose oneself among new men and amid fresh hazardsNeedless to say it was only a dream and the briefest dream of all This liberty that I was inventing ceased to exist upon closer view; I should uickly have rebuilt for myself everything that I had renounced Further wherever I went I should only have been a Roman away from Rome A kind of umbilical cord attached me to the City Perhaps at that time in my rank of tribune I felt still closely bound to the empire than later as emperor for the same reason that the thumb joint is less free than the brain Nevertheless I did have that outlandish dream at which our ancestors soberly confined with the Latian fields would have shuddered; to have harbored the thought even for a moment makes me forever different from them” Even Emperor’s dream of being someone else Marguerite YourcenarYourcenar as you can tell from the uotes I have shared tells this story from the first person narrative in the form of a letter to Marcus Aurelius We are in the mind of Hadrian We experience the building of his philosophies the implementation of change he had envisioned while only a tribune and the compassion and retribution he shows his enemies We feel the grief on par with Alexander for Hephaestion when Hadrian’s very close lover a Greek youth named Antinous drowns Rome was lucky to have him as Emperor during a time when they were struggling to maintain control of an empire that had grown too large He certainly extended the life of the Roman Empire and put forward concepts in particular to euality that were far ahead of their time This novel is considered a classic of historical fiction and like all good literature I know I will be thinking about it for a long long time Highly RecommendedIf you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

epub Mémoires d'Hadrien

Mémoires d'HadrienEstored order on the Danube and achieved diplomatic triumphs in the Near East Hadrian the man was uninhibited even according to the freer standards of his time a lover of life whose enjoyments ranged from hunts in barbaric lands to the most sophisticated experiments in love religion art and literature in the great urban centers of Syria and Egypt and in his cherished Athens Margerite Yourcenar’s Hadrian is not only the Roman Emperor citizen of the world and deified ruler whose heart throbbed at the cadence of Greek poetry whose resilient physiue conuered the barbarian borders of northern Britannia whose strategic mind enforced groundbreaking laws to regulate the use of slaves and to promote culture in the Pantheon whose modesty silenced insurgent voices and whose excesses intimidated allied ones “I have come to think that great men are characterized by the extreme position which they take and that heir heroism consists in holding to that extremity throughout their lives They are our poles or our antipodes”Underneath the imposing greatness of the historical figure that Yourcenar pens with unfaltering dexterity a moribund man exhales his last breath prostrated on his deathbed and confronts his contradictory selves Drowned in erotic ambiguity haunted by idyllic remembrances of platonic love and superfluous infatuation Hadrian drops the mask of formidable Emperor and shows himself as a vulnerable man plagued by his remorse aggressive pride and reckless ambition who can’t impede the upcoming dissolution of the world he has so meticulously constructed with obsessive discipline and bloodstained sacrifice Combining prodigious refinement with erudite depth Yourcenar masters the first person narrative and becomes a multifaceted ventrilouist that deconstructs the layers of Hadrian’s overpowering personality while unfolding his intimate ponderings about ageing and death friendship and true love art and philosophy justice and social order with academic rigorousness and aesthetic excellence creating a dramatic tension that reaches its peak through self absorbed observation rather than galloping actionAnd when the last line is avidly consumed and the confessor meets its nemesis no historical grandeur or remarkable feat will be imprinted on the reader's ephemeral memory The intoxicating scent of literary perfection is what will linger in anonymous nostrils the texture of velvety words is what will invade mental taste buds and a wave of disarming tenderness and stunned regret will choke the humbled witness of the remnants of two thousand years of magnificence folly and debatable progress that meander the moors of remote lands that once yielded to one of the greatest men of ancient history Hadrian's Wall November 2014