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About the Author
Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-87) wrote stories, plays, poems, and novels, notably Memoirs of Hadrian. She was the first woman to be elected to the Academie Francaise.
"Marguerite Yourcenar instantly assumes command of our imagination in her novel The Abyss. Almost before we know it, the author establishes a scene (a road in northern France) and time (the second quarter of the sixteenth century), and engages us in the fate of two cousins. The younger, sixteen-year-old Henry Maximilian, has set out to become a soldier and poet; the elder, twenty-two-year-old Zeno, has left a seminary to make himself an alchemist-philosopher. The book reads as if an old map--decorated with walled cities, boats on rivers, castles, people, and animals--had come alive . . . As rich as a tapestry." --Naomi Bliven, The New Yorker
"A brilliant tapestry of Western Europe in the Middle Ages, as sharply detailed as a Brueghel." --Michael Kernan, The Washington Post