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Memoirs of Hadrian (1951)

by Marguerite Yourcenar

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,5311231,913 (4.15)1 / 218
Both an exploration of character and a reflection on the meaning of history, "Memoirs of Hadrian" has received international acclaim since its first publication in France in 1951. In it, Marguerite Yourcenar reimagines the Emperor Hadrian's arduous boyhood, his triumphs and reversals, and finally, as emperor, his gradual reordering of a war-torn world, writing with the imaginative insight of a great writer of the twentieth century while crafting a prose style as elegant and precise as those of the Latin stylists of Hadrian's own era.… (more)
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» See also 218 mentions

English (78)  French (11)  Spanish (11)  Italian (8)  Catalan (6)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (123)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Really enjoyed the insight this gave me into the world of the ealy milennium Roman Empire. There are many passages that spring to mind, involving the early life of the would-be Emperor of the world, the formation of Hadrian's mindset by years in the Army and in Athens alike. The messages I feel are probably very in keeping with what Hadrian himself would be thinking (this is a historical novel, not a source work). I found his achievements and his observations of his own life among those achievements very moving. Don't forget to read the last section of notes on how the novel came to be over the author's lifetime and interruption by WWII. Many many sections of this work will be in my mind as long as I live. ( )
  Tadams862 | Sep 11, 2023 |
Ms. Yourcenar worked on this fictional memoir of the Roman emperor Hadrian for at least 20 years and it is considered a classic of historical fiction. I found it fine, but its greatness may be beyond me. I was very interested in the postscript in which the author describes how she wrote the book, her literary and human sources, which characters were real and which were created, and how and why she made various decisions about content. The only thing that caught my eye was a mention of Jesus which seemed to be an anachronism for someone born in the year 76 CE who was not a Christian.

I read a Kindle version of this book which is not listed in the Goodreads database. It lists illustrations with what looks like an associated dead internet link; so, I saw no figures. Many of the described figures are easily found on the internet. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
Ma come fate a dargli cinque stelle ?
La banalità fatta libro ( )
  AsdMinghe | Jun 4, 2023 |
Not like I thought it would be. Has a lot of philosophy and poetic passages, but I was hoping it would be more like "I Claudius" which I really liked. Still a worthwhile book. Makes you think about eternity and the legacy you leave behind. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
Best book ever. ( )
  gomezborbon | Jul 27, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
'La mayoría de los hombres gusta resumir su vida en una fórmula, a veces jactanciosa o quejumbrosa, casi siempre recriminatoria; el recuerdo les fabrica, complaciente, una existencia explicable y clara. Mi vida tiene contornos menos definidos. Como suele suceder, lo que no fui es quizá lo que más ajustadamente la define: buen soldado pero en modo alguno hombre de guerra; aficionado al arte, pero no ese artista que Nerón creyó ser al morir; capaz de cometer crímenes, pero no abrumado por ellos. Pienso a veces que los grandes hombres se caracterizan precisamente por su posición extrema; su heroísmo está en mantenerse en ella toda la vida. Son nuestros polos o nuestros antípodas'.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia
 

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yourcenar, MargueriteAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bailey, PaulIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calderaro, MarthaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Creus, JaumeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duquesnoy, TheodorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frick, GraceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hakamies, ReinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hornelund, KarlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaffé, FritzÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandfort, J.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Storoni Mazzolani, LidiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuin, JennyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallquist, GunnelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Animula vagula, blandula, hospes comesque corporis, quae nunc abibis in loca pallidula, rigida, nudula, nec, ut soles, dabis iocos ... P. Aelius Hadrianus, Imp.
Dedication
First words
My dear Mark,
Today I went to see my physician Hermogenes, who has just returned to the Villa from a rather long journey in Asia.
Quotations
I am trusting to this examination of facts to give me some definition of myself, and to judge myself, perhaps, or at the very least to know myself better before I die.
Thus from each art practiced in its time I derive a knowledge which compensates me in part for pleasures lost. I have supposed, and in my better moments think so still, that it would be possible in this manner to participate in the existence of everyone; such sympathy would be one of the least revocable kinds of immortality.
Grammar, with its mixture of logical rule and arbitrary usage, proposes to a young mind a foretaste of what will be offered to him later on by law and ethics, those sciences of human conduct, and by all the systems whereby man has codified his instinctive experience.
natura deficit, fortuna mutatur, deus omnia cernit
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
014001358X 1978 Penguin
0140061711 1982 Penguin
0140087648 1986-1987 Penguin
0140181946 1989 Penguin Classics
0141184965 2000 Penguin Modern Classics
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Both an exploration of character and a reflection on the meaning of history, "Memoirs of Hadrian" has received international acclaim since its first publication in France in 1951. In it, Marguerite Yourcenar reimagines the Emperor Hadrian's arduous boyhood, his triumphs and reversals, and finally, as emperor, his gradual reordering of a war-torn world, writing with the imaginative insight of a great writer of the twentieth century while crafting a prose style as elegant and precise as those of the Latin stylists of Hadrian's own era.

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