Happy Birthday, Marguerite Yourcenar, born 8 June 1903, died 17 December 1987
- A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.
- Of course one never knows how close fictional characters are to real people. At the beginning of my memoirs I say, “L’être que j’appelle moi”—the person I call myself—which means that I don’t know who I am. Does one ever?
- The true birthplace is that wherein for the first time one looks intelligently upon oneself; my first homelands have been books, and to a lesser degree schools.
- I have never seasoned a truth with the sauce of a lie in order to digest it more easily.
- A touch of madness is, I think, almost always necessary for constructing a destiny.
- The written word has taught me to listen to the human voice, much as the great unchanging statues have taught me to appreciate bodily motions.
- I do not know what being lionised means, and I dislike all literary worlds, because they represent false values.
- … books are also a way of learning to feel more acutely. Writing is a way of going to the depth of Being.
- I write everywhere. I could write here, as I am talking to you. When in Maine or elsewhere, when I am travelling, I write wherever I am or whenever I can. Writing doesn’t require too much energy—it is a relaxation, and a joy.
Marguerite Yourcenar was a Belgian-born French novelist and essayist. She was the first woman elected to the Académie Française, in 1980. She is the author of Memoirs of Hadrian.
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