A Blue Tale and Other Stories

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University of Chicago Press, Nov 1, 1995 - Fiction - 82 pages
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Published to great acclaim in France in 1993, this collection is not only a delight for Marguerite Yourcenar fans but a welcome port of entry for any reader not yet familiar with the author's lengthier, more demanding works. The sole published work of fiction by Yourcenar yet to be translated into English, this collection includes three stories written between 1927 and 1930 when the author was in her mid-twenties. These stories cover a range of themes, from an allegory on greed and a scene from the war of the sexes, to a witchhunt that obsessively creates its own quarry.

For the devoted readers of Yourcenar, this collection allows a rare glimpse at the beginnings of a writer's craft. In these accomplished but forgotten pieces, edited and introduced by her biographer, Josyane Savigneau, the reader will find the blend of fable and fairy tale of Oriental Tales, the psychological chronicle of Dear Departed, the ironic realism of A Coin in Nine Hands. Read as an introduction to Yourcenar's work, the stories take us into the writer's workshop, as it were, to the early days of creation. In either case, A Blue Tale and Other Stories carries the unmistakable voice of a formidable and vastly talented writer.

Marguerite Yourcenar (her pseudonym was an anagram of her family name, Crayencour) was born in Brussels in 1903 and died in Maine in 1987. One of the most respected writers in the French language, she is best known as the author of the best-selling Memoirs of Hadrian and The Abyss. She was awarded many literary honors, most notably election to the Académie Francaise in 1980, the first woman to be so honored.
 

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A BLUE TALE: and Other Stories

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

These three stories, recently published in book form in France, are the only remaining fiction previously untranslated into English from the great French writer (1903-87) best known for her brilliant ... Read full review

A blue tale and other stories

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Discovered among Yourcenar's papers after her death in 1987, the three stories in this slim volume were written from 1927 and 1930, when the author was in her mid-twenties, and are a startling ... Read full review

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About the author (1995)

A French novelist, playwright, and essayist born in Belgium, Marguerite Yourcenar was a resident of the United States for many years, living in isolation on a small island off the coast of Maine. Educated at home by wealthy and cultured parents, she had a strong humanistic background, translating the ancient Greek poet Pindar and the poems of the modern Greek Constantine Cavafy. She has translated American Negro spirituals and works of Virginia Woolf (see Vol. 1) and Henry James (see Vol. 1). Her novels include Alexis (1929) and Coup de Grace (1939). A collection of poems, Fires, was published in 1936. Yourcenar is particularly known for Hadrian's Memoirs (1951), a philosophical meditation in the form of a fictional autobiography of the second-century Roman emperor. In Germaine Bree's judgment, "With great erudition and great psychological insight, Marguerite Yourcenar constructed a body of work that is a meditation on the destiny of mankind." In 1981, she became the first woman ever elected to the French Academy.

Internationally acclaimed as an anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist, and editor, Alberto Manguel is the bestselling author of several award-winning books, including A Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading. He was born in Buenos Aires, moved to Canada in 1982 and now lives in France, where he was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre fran?ais des Arts et des Lettres.

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