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Framed as a letter from the Roman Emperor Hadrian to his successor, Marcus Aurelius, Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian is. Memoirs of Hadrian by (Series). Bright Summaries Author (). cover image of Mémoires d'Hadrien de Marguerite Yourcenar. Read "Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar (Book Analysis) Detailed Summary, Analysis and Reading Guide" by Bright Summaries available from.

Or, perhaps, is it one more 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 more 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?

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 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.

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. 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.

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.

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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. 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 remembered. Of course there is. 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.

Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome

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 more and more as death came close.

How Love seemed to be the way your story would end. No car would be available. I yelled and screamed. The producer acquiesced. I was allowed to use the car on weekends. Left to my own devices with a car, I promptly got lost. Outside the Old City where all the tourists are, English-speaking Romans are hard to come by. The street light and the street sign, if they exist, are extraordinarily well hidden. I got seriously lost any number of times. Only by the divine providence of the Roman gods, not to mention blind luck, did I manage to find my way back to Via Sanzeno.

Even during daylight hours, I became lost with breath-taking ease. One Sunday afternoon after driving aimlessly around for several hours with no clue as to where I was, I stumbled across Via Veneto, a street I at least recognized.

Since it was a tourist area, there was bound to be an English-speaking Italian. I got out of my car and approached a parked taxi. The driver spoke English.

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It saved my life. With it attached to the dashboard, I never again got lost. The tickets flowed.

Rome really does empty out in August. The Old City is flooded with tourists, but the area around Via Bertoloni became a ghost town. The shops and restaurants all closed. The streets were empty.

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I continued to come into the office every day and work on the script. John Boorman would fly in from Ireland every other week to review our progress. Mostly he pronounced himself satisfied.

The Italian producer who was my ally liked the script. Unfortunately, the producer who liked the script had a problem: he could not read English. Ah, well. He immediately decided that Clooney would be perfect to play Hadrian. Never mind that Hadrian was gay and obsessed with the beautiful, underage Antinous, a love affair that practically destroyed him after the boy drowned.

Boorman reacted with head-shaking disbelief when he heard the Clooney idea.

Memoirs of Hadrian

So did I.What eases death for him the most is the rememberance of t "I was beginning to find it natural, if not just, that we should perish.

Rome would be perpetuated herself in the least of the towns where magistrates strive to demand just weight from the merchants, to clean and light the streets, to combat disorder, slackness, superstition and injustice, and to give broader and fairer interpretation to the laws.

Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar ,. Everyone that is but the producer with the apartment overlooking Via Veneto. Word Wise: