Marguerite Yourcenar

Marguerite Yourcenar was a French novelist and essayist born on June 8, 1903, in Brussels, Belgium. She was the first woman elected to the French Academy, in 1980. Yourcenar is best known for her novel 'Memoirs of Hadrian,' which she considered her masterpiece. She was a prolific writer whose works include novels, short stories, poems, and essays, often reflecting her extensive travels and deep interest in history and culture. She passed away on December 17, 1987.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Memoirs of Hadrian

    "Memoirs of Hadrian" is a historical novel that presents a fictional autobiography of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who reigned from 117 to 138 AD. Narrated in the first person, the novel explores Hadrian's ascension to the throne, his administration, his love for the young Antinous, and his philosophical reflections on life and death. The narrative is framed as a letter to his successor, Marcus Aurelius, offering insights into the complexities of power, the nature of leadership, and the human condition.

    The 310th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Abyss

    "The Abyss" is a historical novel set in the 16th century that follows the life of Zeno, a physician, philosopher, and scientist. The narrative explores Zeno's journey from his birth in Bruges to his travels across Europe, his experiences during the Inquisition, and his ultimate death in Constantinople. The book delves into the intellectual and spiritual challenges of the Renaissance era, providing a profound exploration of the human condition, the quest for knowledge, and the struggle between faith and reason.

    The 2005th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Dear Departed

    "Dear Departed" is a reflective and poignant exploration of the human condition, delving into themes of mortality, memory, and the enduring impact of the past on the present. Through a series of letters and personal narratives, the book weaves together the lives of various characters, each grappling with the loss of loved ones and the quest for meaning in the face of death. The narrative serves as a meditation on the ways in which individuals cope with grief and seek to preserve the essence of those they have lost, ultimately offering a profound commentary on the universal experience of mourning and the delicate balance between holding on and letting go.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Coup De Grace

    Set against the backdrop of the Russian Civil War, the novel explores the complex relationships and moral dilemmas of a group of aristocratic officers fighting for the White Army. The protagonist, an emotionally detached soldier, finds himself entangled in a tragic love triangle with a fellow officer and a young Baltic woman who sympathizes with the Bolsheviks. As the war rages on, the protagonist must confront his own feelings of passion, loyalty, and the brutal realities of a conflict that challenges the very essence of honor and humanity. The narrative culminates in a poignant act that serves as both a personal and political statement, reflecting the disillusionment and devastation of a world in upheaval.

    The 7168th Greatest Book of All Time