時々のこと

時々気になることと少年サッカーについて

Marguerite Yourcenar and Japanese Literature


Marguerite Yourcenar, a French female writer who is not well known in Japan, wrote the novel “The Last Love of Prince Genji (Le Dernier Amour du prince Genghi )” in 1936 and the essay on Yukio Mishima, “Mishima: a Vision of The Void(Mishima ou la vision du vide)” in 1981. These works prove that she has a deep knowledge of Japanese literature. However, this does not mean that Yourcenar had a deep knowledge about only Japanese literature, she had much interest in a wide range of the literature which is based on the depth of her education. For this reason, she  also wrote short stories set in China and India.

Many of Yourcenar's works have a shadow of death. "The Last Love of Prince Genji" is a story about Genji's last love before death. The subject of "Mishima: a Vision of The Void" is the suicide of Mishima.
Since "The Tale of Genji" is a classic masterpiece that every Japanese knows, the idea depicting a story of Genji's last years as a novel is unbelievable and unthinkable in Japan. But Yourcenar was a challenger in the literary world, as written in an interview with Mishima's wife.  Yourcenar taught literature at a university in the United States. She can be said to be a person of literary interest.