Books: New Immortal

Yourcenar's academic victory

"This uncertain, floating me ... is surrounded, accompanied by an invisible troupe of women who perhaps should have received this honor long before ..."

The honor was admission to the Academic Française, a group of 40 "Immortals," guardians of the French language who are replaced when death cancels their title. The speaker was Author Marguerite Yourcenar, 77, the only female elected to the academy in its 346 years. The members' choice seemed perverse —they had previously spurned such women as Mme. de Staël, George Sand and Colette. Moreover, Yourcenar is...

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