Mémoires d'Hadrien Free read ´ 104

Summary ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ☆ Marguerite Yourcenar

Hadrian's Memoirs is described by its author as a psychological novel and a meditation on history In the form the narrative is a fictional autobiography written by the Roman Emperor Hadrian 76 138 AD to his seventeen year old grandson Marcus Aurelius who eventually becomes emperor In a tour de force of scholarship which uses Hadrian's extant writings and the writings of his. There is a word that keeps popping up in my reading I’d go so far as to say that this word is the underlying descriptor for the majority of my favorite books in some way The thing is that I can’t tell you exactly what that word is nor what it means In Turkish the word is hüzün In Korean it is maybe something close to han in French perhaps ennui though I am far from satisfied with that and in Japanese mono no aware None of these words mean uite the same thing none has the same connotations or the same cultural usage really but nonetheless they all get at something something they all peek and pry at from different angles but do not capture entirely For me the meaning of all these words is most exuisitely expressed in a Latin phrase Lacrimae rerum It is found in the Aeneid and my favorite translation of it which yes of course means I will ignore all others is “tears of things” It is said by Aeneas as he gazes at a mural of the Trojan War overcome with anger and sadness going to a place beyond either of these emotions to the “tears of thingsThis word whatever its meaning does not exist in English It needs several words to describe what it means in this language and I think that some words need to be repeated and said in the right way to convey it in the same way But it still wouldn’t work It certainly wouldn’t work in America America is the anti this word America is founded on the promise that everyone should be free to not know what this word means and over that its residents should make it a point to laugh at it when they see it This word is silly eye roll inducing a “stage” It is helpful that in the United States imitations and shadows of it are mostly laughable thought of as a way to sell black lipstick to 16 year old goth girls or let floppy haired boys think they are James Dean for owning a leather jacket It doesn’t really have anything to do with that though I said I was surprised that Memoirs of Hadrian isn’t considered a part of the canon here I’m not really How could it be The closest we get to this book is Gatsby and Jay Gatsby’s nouveau riche problems are mostly beside the point Our coming of age novel is Catcher in the Rye One of the French ones has a title that translates as The Lost Estate I think the title says enoughThis is not a historical version of The Unbearable Lightness of Being that I’m pitching here But it does have something to do with time time and the weight of it It has something to do with the last time I was in Italy I wandered off the standard routes into the side streets and came on an idle construction site a building with its foundations dug out standing on stilts shining and new but idle the sign said since the previous March This was because someone had found the remains of pottery art and other foundations from the Roman Empire The national authorities were so backed up with other discoveries of this kind around the country that they hadn’t gotten around to clearing it out nearly a year and a half later and this was a site near the center of Rome It isn’t about the fact that it happened only though Memoirs of Hadrian is a meditation on finding a pile of pottery shards and deciding what to do with them Your decision depends very much on what you see in them or really precisely who you see in them What tale takes shape in your brain what is relevant to be put down on paper if you think there’s anything genuine to be found or what genuine means to you and most of all if perhaps you’d just as well better get on with building your office park which is after all supported by some stilts right now and won’t and shouldn’t wait forever Yourcenar changed her mind about her particular pile of pottery shards many times She changed her mind so hard the first time she burned the remains Then she did it again five years later But she retained one sentence from her 1934 bonfire I begin to discern the profile of my death” With that sentence she had like a “painter who moves his easel from left to right” found the proper viewpoint for the book But pottery shards look different in the light of Europe 1939 They look even strange in 1942 in a Yale library next to newspapers whose headlines speak of many many office parks that need to be rebuilt and some that never will be until one thinks of the shards “with something like shame for having ever ventured upon such an undertaking”But then a trunk arrives from Switzerland in 1948 It bears letters from old friends many of whom are now dead and one letter to someone who has been dead much longer “Dear Mark” it begins Something else escaped Europe’s bonfires something she hadn’t remembered she’d created at all the beginning of another letter from an imagined Hadrian to his young heir Marcus Aurelius Somehow it survived And then she thought of something else to do with her pottery shards perhaps it was time to begin putting them back together Or better it was time to tell the young heirs how to put them back togetherBut how do you do that How do you pick up the pieces and go on when you can’t even honestly say you know where they should rightfully go You may have lived than thirty years trying to figure it out immersing yourself in the craft of it until you could do it blind but you’re just guessing in the end Aren’t you painting it just a little bit shinier than it was before Doesn’t everything fit together better than it should What should you do with this notation from a critic that says there was a crack in it from the very first time he saw it Do you restore the cracks Or do you have a responsibility to put the best face you can on it to present it as the maker would have ideally wanted it to be seen Don’t the ideas matter than the reality Whatever the answers to these things you have to start with the hardest task looking the remains in the face “Sheltering the flame of my lamp with my hand I would lightly touch that breast of stone Such encounters served to complicate memory’s task; I had to put aside like a curtain the pallor of the marble to go back in so far as possible from those motionless contours to the living form Again I would resume my round; the statue once interrogated would relapse into darkness; a few steps away my lamp would reveal another image; these great white figures differed little from ghosts I reflected bitterly upon those magic passes whereby the Egyptian priests had drawn the soul of the dead youth into the wooden effigies I had done like them; I had cast a spell over stones which in their turn had spellbound me”Who is the story of your life for Why are you creating this memory for someone Why should one pottery shard rule someone’s life for however long Is it only a decoration for an already grand tomb Or perhaps is it one way to make your peace with your own point of view before it too is thrown on the bonfire Hadrian is at delving into his memory as deeply as he can and fighting it at the same time He just wants to leave advice for an heir and it is advice that is needed than ever It is after all being left for a young man who is at the most an afterthought a lucky find after a series of disasters wherein the chosen heirs proved monstrously unworthy or have already died uselessly and horribly from an excess of virtue He is simply the one left standing in the ashes while an old man is staring his death throes in the face and like all his predecessors finding it difficult to let go So what do you do to tell him all he should know Someone not of your blood who you haven’t had the education of not really What you can do You tell him what happened to you as fairly as you can with whatever inner battles you need to fight laid open You tell him a story You tell him a story with as much as you can bear to tell left in and let it go on and on and on Make sure he feels the years as you build one temple after another and fall in love and out again win one city and watch another fall Make sure he hears about your errors your flaws Especially make sure to destroy the biggest positive myth about you he must know the way it is lest he look to myths for support when you are gone and find nothing but air You may have constructed gods but he will need to support them and say why they are there in order for them to live on You should temper the worst tales about you but not too much it is better if find out for himself that you’ve no need to protest your innocence He must feel your despair your Spenglerian conviction that the Faustian wintertime has come that there is nothing to be done “I was beginning to find it natural if not just that we should perish Our literature is nearing exhaustion our arts are falling asleep Pancrates is not Homer nor is Arrian a Xenophon; when I have tried to immortalize Antonious in stone no Praxiteles has come to hand Our sciences have been at a standstill our technical development is inadeuateeven our pleasure seekers grow weary of delight the masses remain wholly ignorant fierce and cruel when they can be so and in any case limited and selfish”He'll read these words words from the mouth of a generation so far removed from his own brought up with such wildly different expectations and knowledge about the world irrevocably shattered by events that they could not conceive of It could almost make you laugh with relief to read this and then think of Michelangelo’s angels screaming out of the marble Then almost unnecessarily you can tell him that “Life is atrocious we know But precisely because I expect little of the human condition man’s periods of felicity his partial progress his efforts to begin over again and to continue all seem to me like so many prodigies which nearly compensate for the monstrous mass of ills and defeats of indifference and error Catastrophe and ruin will come; disorder will triumph but order will too from time to time Peace will again establish itself between two periods of war; the words humanity liberty and justice will here and there regain the meaning which we have tried to give them Not all our books will perish nor our statues if broken lie unrepaired; other domes and other pediments will arise from our domes and pediments; some few men will think and work and feel as we have done and I venture to count upon such continuations placed irregularly throughout the centuries and upon this kind of intermittent immortality” That is how you make a memory without burden to reconcile Catcher and The Lost Estate after all If you cannot do it someone else will To paraphrase Stoppard we die on the march but nothing is outside of it and nothing can be lost to it If a sixteen year old math prodigy does not make calculus known to the world another man not long later will do it The weight of these statues these ghosts is not your obligation They are there for those who need to look at them and find themselves in their shadows and that is all Time can continue to pile down minute by minute but you are not its prisoner Merely a welcome guest who may stay as long as you like If you do not choose to walk in Time’s garden your loss will not bring haunting down upon you in another New world there will be enough who choose to stay Those who do stay will not be unmarked by it and those who leave will be the same with their choice we can but choose and choose and choose again We are what we consistently do What Time throws up for notice enough times to be rememberedThere is an epilogue though Of course there is Telling him the essential information to get through the day isn’t enough Not even telling him a story and setting him free No he needs to know why you got up every morning he needs to know about the lacunae between the temple building and warring in the desert He has to know why he should listen to you Digressions pauses and footnotes make the man and the boy you are reading to knows that better than anyone or he will by the time he finishes this So tell him about how heaven is the constellations in the Syrian night about the wind whispering out of the sands of Judea about the memory of an old man in a garden in Spain He needs to know about women you cherished and men you hated But most of all most of all he needs to know about the man you loved how you loved him and for how long how you thought of him and as death came close How Love seemed to be the way your story would end But it wasn’t We end with only ourselves History is in the last line of this book what Hadrian dies with is why History exists and should exist and we should all remember and yes beat on boats against the current borne ceaselessly back into the past

characters Mémoires d'Hadrien

Mémoires d'HadrienEstored order on the Danube and achieved diplomatic triumphs in the Near East Hadrian the man was uninhibited even according to the freer standards of his time a lover of life whose enjoyments ranged from hunts in barbaric lands to the most sophisticated experiments in love religion art and literature in the great urban centers of Syria and Egypt and in his cherished Athens. This ought not to work on a number of levels and ought not to be as good as it is A historical novel about the Romans there is so much temptation to go into Life of Brian mode at this point indeed about one of their emperors Hadrian dominated Marguerite Yourcenar’s life for many years with rewrites abandonments acres of notes and thoughts and an immense amount of research including travel to places Hadrian had been The novel is in the form of a letter from Hadrian to his adopted grandson Marcus Aurelius It is in the first person Hadrian is in his final illness and is looking back over his life If you are looking for snappy dialogue then this is not the book for you nor is there any “action” It is a series of musings reflections philosophizing and making comment as Hadrian works through his life The novel is essentially interior and Yourcenar does say why she selected this particular interior to focus on It stems from a uote she found by Flaubert;“Just when the gods had ceased to be and the Christ had not yet come there was a uniue moment in history between Cicero and Marcus Aurelius when man stood alone”This seems to have been the attraction of Hadrian The novel was published in 1951 and there may also be some connection between the post Second World War situation and Hadrian’s timeHadrian’s musings are wide ranging and cover love especially Antinous his teenage lover administration managing and empire war religion philosophy especially Greek food marriage pastimes hunting et al politics friends and enemies travel and much Hadrian is a great liker of things and generally uite positive not afraid to compromise to get things done Yourcenar puts into Hadrian’s mouth all sorts of aphorisms and wise words For example;Men adore and venerate me far too much to love meMeditation upon death does not teach one how to die“Our great mistake is to try to exact from each person virtues which he does not possess and to neglect the cultivation of those which he has”“I am not sure that the discovery of love is necessarily exuisite than the discovery of poetry”“The techniue of a great seducer reuires a facility and an indifference in passing from one object of affection to another which I could never have; however that may be my loves have left me often than I have left them for I have never been able to understand how one could have enough of any beloved The desire to count up exactly the riches which each new love brings us and to see it change and perhaps watch it grow old accords ill with multiplicity of conuests”There are dozens like that usually making the book a joy to read occasionally irritating or provoking You can tell this novel has really been polished and honed worked on over and over again This is so good a novel that it is easy to forget this isn’t real history Mary Beard’s Guardian article explodes some of those myths; is fiction but its great stuff and a great novel I am also interested in reading by Yourcenar her life was also very interesting

Marguerite Yourcenar ☆ 4 Free read

Mémoires d'Hadrien Free read ´ 104 Ë Hadrian's Memoirs is described by its author as a psychological novel and a meditation on history In the form the narrative is a fictional autobiography written by the Roman Emperor Hadrian 76 138 AD to his seventeen year old grandson Marcus Aurelius who eventually becomes emperor In a tour de force of scholHistorians friends and enemies the memoirs reconstruct Hadrian's complex incandescent character his cultivated mind the news events that studded his dramatic career and his thirty years of travel over the Roman Empire then at its vastest extent Missions of both war and peace took him to the furthest outposts; he reorganized Roman Britain and the frontier of the Rhine; he r. Through the mists of time the clouds lift but only partly always remain overcast they never give up their deep secrets and the myths will continue such is history such was the Roman Emperor Hadrian of the second century no Julius Caesar but who was Sill a very capable man born in Italica what is now Spain to a Roman family of landowners and Senators they had left Italy centuries before and prospered His cousin Emperor Trajan many years his senior later adopts the young man sent to Rome for an education by his family at 12 with a trusted guardian the father had just expired at 40 The future ruler shows promise studies hard and does well in the army he is fearless against the enemy maybe even reckless his men always cheer him as a civilian too a good magistrate in Rome though like many men of his age spends his money foolishly loving both men and women and goes into debt this annoys Trajan greatly The tough old soldier Emperor comfortable leading his conuering army than playing the politician in the capital it would be the same for Hadrian A crisis appears the dying feeble ruler is in no hurry to officially name his successor maybe this will insure his demise too busy planning and fighting a war in faraway Mesopotamia and dreams of future conuests for his glory a bloody conflict that cannot be won The Empress Pompeia Plotina a close friend of Hadrian helps him to be declared Emperor at the passing of his cousin Not a lover of women he had a few that were instrumental in his rise to power strangely Matilda his mother in law but not his second cousin Sabina his neglected wife she hated him but didn't cause any scandals to the grateful Hadrian And Hadrian wants peace his Empire needs it badly an inveterate reader lover of the Arts he fixes the economy reforms the law the army brings back wealth to its ignored citizens Yet he will leads the Romans in war as he does in Palestine suffering countless thousands of casualties against the Jewish uprising In Asia Minor what is now Turkey meeting a Greek boy Antinous in Claudiopolis the Roman province of Bithyniasent to Rome to receive schooling this attractive child grows up and becomes the love of Hadrian's life Years later the returning handsome teenager travels with the Emperor they become constant companions but in Egypt on the Nile River a mystery happens the lifeless body of Antinous 19 is found an apparent drowning or murder suicide an accident We will never learn the truthFor the rest of his days the melancholic Emperor mourns numerous statues made a magnificent new city built Antinoopolis by the river near where he the boy died an ardent cult begins to worship him games played for his memory deified also by Hadrian but he Antinous will still be gone forever An ailing Hadrian in his last few months sees that everything he has done will vanish as the desert sands shift so too does the hearts of men all is vanity A terrific historical novel one of the best if not the greatest ever written This book gives you an idea what the Roman Empire was like at its summit Well worth reading for those interested