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By Margaret Elizabeth Colvin

This quantity is the 1st in-depth research of the French novelist Marguerite Yourcenar’s fiction to contend that the author’s texts express in unforeseen methods a number of features of the neobaroque. This subversive, postmodern aesthetic privileges extravagant inventive play, flux, and heterogeneity. In demonstrating the affinity of Yourcenar’s texts with the neobaroque, the writer of this examine casts doubt on their presumed transparency and balance, features linked to the French neoclassical culture of the earlier century, the place the Yourcenarian œuvre is in general put. Yourcenar’s election to the distinguished, tradition-bound French Academy in 1981 as its first woman “immortal” cemented her already well-established area of interest within the twentieth-century French literary pantheon. A self-taught classicist, historian, and modern day French moralist, Yourcenar has been praised for her polished, “classical” variety and analyzed for her use of fantasy and common subject matters. whereas these components at the start appear to justify amply the neoclassical label through which Yourcenar is most generally well-known, this study’s shut studying of 4 of her fictions finds as a substitute the texts’ opacity and subversive resistance to closure, their rejection of strong interpretations, and their deconstruction of postmodern Grand Narratives. Theirs is a neobaroque “logic,” which stresses the absence of theoretical assurances and the constraints of cause. The twist of fate of the recent millennium — which in such a lot of methods displays Yourcenar’s disquieting imaginative and prescient — and her centenary in 2003 provides now not rather a lot an excuse to reject the author’s neoclassical label, yet fairly the duty to re-evaluate it in gentle of latest discourses. This learn might be of curiosity to scholars of twentieth-century French fiction and comparative literature, specially that of the latter half the 20th century. desk OF CONTENTS: I. A Frontispiece II. creation Marguerite Yourcenar and the Writing of Fiction: a cultured important III. bankruptcy 1 Anna,Soror...: Neobaroque Sacralizes the Abject IV. bankruptcy 2 Denier du rêve : Baroque Discourses,Fascist Practices V. bankruptcy three Neobaroque Humanism: “Sounding the Abyss ” in L ’Œuvre au Noir VI. bankruptcy four Neobaroque Confessions: Un homme obscur and the Oppressive Superficiality of phrases VII. end An writer for the recent Millennium VIII. chosen Works mentioned and Consulted IX. Index of right Names

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I mentioned earlier the discursive play within Marguerite Yourcenar’s texts, which opens them to revolt, relativism, and plurality of meaning61 not possible in the closed, totalizing system of the purely classical text. Yourcenar’s sexually ambivalent or frankly transgressive personae also suggest a challenge to reason and an uneasy distrust of fixity, a preference for the entre-deux, also characteristic of the neobaroque spirit. Virtually all of Yourcenar’s fictional works are suffused with a profound melancholy and a muffled violence which suggest a neobaroque sense of emptiness, human frailty, and revolt.

38 Baroque Fictions Yourcenar’s classicism is real and tangible, something else is also taking place that disturbs the unity of her classical image. The purely classical text constitutes a non-discursive, closed system of values, principles, and rules. 46 Yourcenar certainly seems to share Debord’s judgment, for even as she raises the classical standard, she is in the process of driving a wedge into its monolithic unity by establishing a discourse between classical values and traditions and classicism’s subversive “lining,” to which I alluded earlier (Rabelais, Bruno, Vico).

72 Revisions and rewritings make it difficult to establish a chronology. Furthermore, Yourcenar “created” these key stories and characters when she was still an adolescent. 1 One of the more transgressive fictional texts in modern European literature, Marguerite Yourcenar’s novella Anna, Soror... recounts the consummation of physical passion between a brother and a sister living in Naples at the end of the sixteenth century. The antithesis between the subversive theme and the polished, “classical” virtuosity of the text may strike readers as intentional, artificial, and exaggerated—in short, as a mannerist exercise.

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