L'Œuvre au noir

L'Œuvre au noir Complete Dustjacket DescriptionFSG Hardcover Edition Marguerite Yourcenar S Novel Of Sixteenth Century Europe Is, Like Memoirs Of Hadrian, Essentially A Meditation On The Nature And Condition Of Man But Unlike The Hadrian It Is Direct Narrative, And Is Somber, Even Bitter In Tone, Portraying The Struggle Of A Free Mind In Highly Troubled Times The Principal Character, Zeno, Typical Of The Leading Intellectuals Of His Day In The Wide Range Of His Studies And Activities, Is Botanist And Physician, Alchemist, Engineer, Metallurgist, And Philosopher In Advance Of The Recognized Science Of His Era, Forced Perpetually To Thread His Way Between Compromise And Revolt, He Is Akin To His Great Historical Contemporaries And Near Contemporaries, The Swiss Alchemist Paracelsus, The Spaniard Servetus, Preoccupied Like Zeno With Studies Of Circulation Of The Blood, The Leonardo Of The Notebooks, With Their Experiments And Secret Meditations, And That Audacious But Unlucky Philosopher, Tommaso CampanellaBorn In Flanders, The Illegitimate Son Of An Italian Prelate, And Reared In The Household Of His Wealthy Merchant Uncle, Henry Justus Lire Of Bruges, Zeno Is Destined For The Church, But He Early Abandons His Theological Studies In Louvain To Seek For Knowledge Untrammeled By Doctrine Drawn To The Subversive Dynamism Of Medieval Alchemy, He Pursues That Science Host Under The Auspices Of A High Churchman In Ghent, And Next With A Learned Jew Of Leon, In Spain He Then Goes To France To Study Medicine And Anatomy At The Ancient College Of Montpellier The Practice Of His Various Arts Takes Him Across Europe And The Levant Attending Sometimes Upon Sultans And Kings, And Some Times Upon The Poor And The Plague Ridden, Everywhere In Danger In A World Torn By War, And By Religious And Social Upheaval Often A Target For Jealous Colleagues, He Is Suspect For The Daring Of His Experiments, For His Writings, And For His Barely Avowed AtheismAfter The Burning Of One Of His Books In Paris, Following Censorship In Basel, That Is To Say, Attacked By Catholics And Protestants Alike, Zeno Risks A Return To Bruges For The First Time In Than Thirty Years Under An Assumed Name, Sebastian Th Us, He Carries On A Charitable Practice In The Dispensary Of A Franciscan Monastery, The Prior Of Which Becomes A Friend And, Unknown To Zeno, A ProtectorCertain Secondary Themes Provide A Muted Counterpoint To The Main Theme Of Philosophic And Alchemical Quest The Power Of Gold Or Other Wealth In The Hands Of Merchants And Financiers In The German States And In Flanders Religious Revolt That Sweeps Zeno S Mother And His Stepfather, Simon Adriansen, Into The Whirlpool Of Anabaptism The Secret Revolt Against Restrictions Imposed Upon The Senses, Bringing A Small Group Of Monks And Novices In Bruges To Destruction And Political Revolt In Spanish Flanders Under Philip II, Filling The Roads With Patriots In Flight Toward England And The Netherlands The Same Dilemmas And The Same Moral Anguish Which Beset Us Still Today Are Presented Here For The Years As Seen Realistically From The Perspective Of The Highway, The Laboratory, The Cloister, Shop, Or Tavern, And Finally As Seen From PrisonBoth As Physician And As Philosopher Zeno Seeks To Comprehend The Very Components Of Body And Soul, Tracing Substance Itself To Its Particles Moving In Time And In Space The Mental Experiment Is Dangerous, As The Ancient Alchemists Knew, It Involves Destruction Of All Preconceived Ideas And Prejudices, Even The Notion Of The Self, And Constitutes The First And Most Difficult Phase Of The Great Transmutation, The Black Phase Of The Process From Which The French Text Takes Its Title, L Oeuvre Au Noir By The Intensity Of His Experience, Both Physical And Spiritual, Zeno Achieves His Goal, Even Though His Unquenchable Desire To Explore The Confines Of This Our Prison Brings The Inevitable Confrontation That Leads To His DeathNo Living Writer Can Quite Compare With Marguerite Yourcenar In Intellectual Richness And Range Of Human Sympathy In Its Adherence To Historic And Human Truth The Novel Is Overwhelming

The first woman to be elected to The French Academy, the multi talented personality of Marguerite Yourcenar was a novelist, essayist, playwright, short story writer, poet and translator She was an artist at reconstructing historical eras in the form of her novels Her novels, dealing with modern issues set in historical eras won her immense fame as a writer.The inheritance Yourcenar received

[Reading] ➿ L'Œuvre au noir ➶ Marguerite Yourcenar – Uc0.info
  • Paperback
  • 374 pages
  • L'Œuvre au noir
  • Marguerite Yourcenar
  • English
  • 08 February 2019
  • 9780374516666

10 thoughts on “L'Œuvre au noir

  1. says:

    I can see that this is going to be tough going as fiction, as Chris says and probably not worth the effort for me, at least But I ll let the initial comment below stand, and put this book back on the shelf The Author s Note at the back of the book is worth reading Initial comment In the notes appended to the english edition of Memoirs of Hadrian, Youcenar writes to Frick that the book was in large part inspired by a quote she found in 1927, from Flaubert s correspondence, that runs Just when the gods had ceased to be, and the Christ had not yet come, there was a unique moment in history, between Cicero and Marcus Aurelius, when man stood alone Thus, the whole of the Hadrian book is a meditation and celebration of the classical pagan humanism for the nature of which, see also Cochrane s famous Christianity and Classical Culture.The Abyss starts with a quotation in the motto from Pico della Mirandola s Oratio de hominis dignitate that runs in part I have given you, O Adam, no fixed abode, no visage of your own, nor any special gift, in order that whatever place or aspect or talents you yourself will have desired, you may have and possess them wholly in accord with your desire and your own decision Other species are confined to a prescribed nature under laws of my making No limits have been imposed upon you, however you determine your nature by your own free will a passage which finds its direct echo in J J Rousseau s Second Discourse, where Rousseau argues for the plasticity of man the central premise underlying Rousseau s humanism.Zeno the chief character in The Abyss is placed in the middle of the 16th century at the crossroad where the Medieval worldview essentially Aristotelian was giving way to Modernity and early modern science to Bruno, Brahe, Copernicus, Galileo, and ultimately to the great Descartes himself For this junction, see the classic treatments of Koyr and Burtt, two magnificent books.Koyre With books like this, ignore the the fact that there are some people give these books two or three stars People who do this are simply ignorant These are must read booksBut the birth of modern science was not simply the birth of a mechanistic system because modern humanism and this line runs from Rousseau to Marx and to Freud , while materialistic, is not mechancistic but contains an element of vitalism there is no spirit everything is matter but matter is alive thinking matter , in Yolton s phrase This is a line of thought that traces back to the Stoics, and of course survives in the thought, for example, of Alfred North Whitehead Science and the Modern World It is key to understanding the humanist interpretation of Marx that was first espoused by Rodolfo Mondolfo.But what is interesting here and why I mention all this in the present context is that Yourcenar quite accurately traces this vitalistic element to late renaissance alchemy She writes in the author s note p 364f On a purely intellectual level, the Zeno of this novel, still marked by scholasticism, though reacting against it, stands halfway between the subversive dynamism of the alchemists Y is thinking here of the likes of Paracelsus and the mechanistic philosophy which is to prevail in the immediate future, between hermetic beliefs which postulate a God immanent in all things again, think Giordano Bruno and see Koyr and an atheism barely avowed Such a position is not unique in this century 16th.Regardless of how this book turns out from a novelistic point of view, Yourcenar s grasp of intellectual history is profound and reliable.

  2. says:

    Mysteriously satisfying As far as historical recreations go, something like the polar opposite of Deadwood or Amalgamation Polka the past is interesting not because of its excessive color and profuse cocksucking but because of the relentless nature of its blandness I find myself puzzling over how exactly Y manages this She gets a certain amount of momentum from establishing and then abjuring scenes everything is setup for setup, narrative for narrative, until you realize that, like most narrative heavy books Bolano s 2666 is another good example , the real hero of this story is fate, meaning Death, the end The End to which all good things must come Which makes you think, Okay, I guess it s okay if none of the normally exciting things happen, since really this is a book like its protagonist that sees excitement as a sort of cop out, excuse, avoidance Emotional syncopation, maybe or noncopation removing the stress from the score entirely And yet I have to admit The Abyss ends up resembling someone I never thought it would during the first 2 3rds Albert Camus Y s hero makes a legitimate, believable stand, and does indeed feel heroic for doing so Relentlessly unhistrionic.

  3. says:

    Opera negra l oeuvre au noir the french title better than the abyss is the first stage of the transformation alchemist to gold We use the most vulgar matter not differencied It will be followed by works with the white and the red Z non, physician, alchemist are shared between two times the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, between Aristote and Plato But on the metaphysical level, this alchemist transformation is also that of man who progresses on the way of knowledge.The end is tragic but did the death gain For Z non which exceeded for a long time the work with the black, it is the ultimate sublimation The novel takes on a metaphorical dimension Then I think to a sentence of Goethe Die and becomes in the life, it is necessary to die to certains things to rebirth to others.

  4. says:

    Marvelloussimply marvellous The action takes place between 1510 and 1569, in Europe, mainly in Bruges and the historical reconstitution is rigorous By that time, Flanders was a very violent place The Reformation, the birth of modern science, the beginnings of industrialisation originated intrigues , peasant revolts and religious wars Zeno, the alchemist, healer and philosopher hero, represents these new ideas, these new possibilities He is one of the most real fictional characters I have ever come across He was inspired by Da Vinci, Giordano Bruno, Galilei, Copernicus, Paracelsus and others , but mainly by Erasmus of Rotherdam, also a bastard son And like some of these free spirits Zeno s ending is tragic.

  5. says:

    I enjoyed this very much It is not a page turner, but a novel of reflection It helps to have some understanding of the situation in the Low Countries during the Reformation period, when they were ruled by Spain and the Duke of Alva was resident Also, though less important, the conflicts between the Holy Roman Empire and France during this period.

  6. says:

    beautifully written historical novel, maybe one if the best ever a story of Zenon a typical renaissance person who a bit resemble de vinchi and arasmus from roterdam in the ability to look for truth, the strong will for liberty and the believe in the ability of man things which are easily forgotten in dark times

  7. says:

    The jaded public library copy I ve been reading just gave out And for the best I need my own copy it has been torture, resisting the urge to underscore all the aphoristic sparkle.

  8. says:

    This is a must read if you want to know something about the way scholars were treated by the church in the Middle Ages It s not an easy read, but Yourcenar s language, even in translation, is so poetic The book was composed of several stories the author wrote was she was a young girl For years those stories were left unpublished Finally Marguerite Yourcenar picked up the story, edited it and published it as L uvre au noir The title refers to the alchemist process of finding the ultimate wisdom or the philospher s stone or the process of making gold Scholars alchemist were looking for the ultimate knowledge during the medieval time It was a search that has to be done in secret They travelled a lot, hiding their profession Many of time became doctors, because they also examined the working of the human body But everything they did was forbidden by the church and when caught their books were burned and scholar was accused of heresy and burned at the stake Yourcenar tells a story about one of those men, longing for knowledge and following the path of his own heart and wishes The book concentrates on three parts of his life his travels through Europe gathering all the secret knowledge his return to his birth place under a false name and finally his confrontation with the church I borrowed the book from the library, after my husband and I visited a exhibition about Marguerite Yourcenar s life in Kassel in France I had never heart of this author, but she was very famous in France and was the first woman who was offered a place at the Academie Francaise.At the exhibition we also saw fragments of the movie that was made of this story I borrowed that too and although very dramatic it followed the plot line very accurately In English the title is The Abyss A Novel

  9. says:

    Truly epic

  10. says:

    Writing a review for The Abyss leaves me torn since it is almost like writing a review for two different books awkwardly stuck together The first book is structured with a clear direction with repeated examples of the absurdity of the human condition such as fear of new technology, petty interests, manipulative greed, religious zeal, resignation, etc and excellently paints a picture of the most ridiculous aspects of human nature that hold us back as a species and as a society In the middle of this scene are put two young men, Zeno and Maximilian one seeking a life of knowledge and the other seeking a life of glory but, ultimately, their journeys follow a much different course than they could have imagined The second book seems to meander with no clear purpose, direction or discernible structure I think the themes and writing is richer in the second half of the book but when you combine the first and second sections of the book, it feels disjointed and confused The second half of the book explores institutionalized cruelty, innocent sins, lack of trust, loyalty, unjust punishments, death, etc.I think the first half of this book and the second half, the two sections into which the author divided the book, would have both been great books on their own had they been completed and fleshed out following a natural course but instead we have two books, written at different times, haphazzardly strung together The overall impression is a lack of cohesiveness and a dissonance that is readily noticeable to the reader I think Marquerite Yourcenar is a capable writer but, in this case, what was being attempted leaves the reader wanting.The one thing that will really stick with the reader is the vivid feeling of being trapped in a world with the cruelest of creatures where every path or road you take leads to the same abyss from which the only escape is your inevitable death.Do I regret reading this book No.Would I read it again knowing what I know now Yes.This is a tough book to review I liked the writing and it was a pleasurable read but the overall experience leaves a lot to be desired.

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