Two Lives and a Dream

Marguerite Yourcenar, Author, Walter C. Kaiser, JR., Translator Farrar Straus Giroux $16.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-374-28019-2
These three tales of the Renaissance by the first woman elected to the Academie Francaise capture ""the misery and sweetness of existence.'' ``An Obscure Man'' recounts the short life of Nathanael, who runs away to sea from his Amsterdam home, fearing he has killed a man. He serves years before the mast, witnesses the horrors of slavery, lives in the wilds of Canada and loves three women; one, the prostitute/thief Sarai, gives him a son. The tale evokes classic Dutch paintings; the author describes its visual inspiration in her valuable postfaces, which trace the inception and long evolution of these fictions. The graceful, slighter ``A Lovely Morning'' shows Nathanael's son running off with a troupe of actors, joyous at becoming ``so many people living out so many adventures.'' The gothic tale ``Anna, soror . . . '' takes the reader to Spain and Italy, describing the doomed, incestuous passion of a brother and sister. The volume takes its place alongside Yourcenar's other penetrating re-creations of life in historic periods (Hadrian's Memoirs; Oriental Tales. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 04/01/1987
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-0-226-96529-1
Hardcover - 208 pages - 978-0-85628-160-0
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-374-52091-5
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