The Abyss: A Novel

The Abyss: A Novel

The Abyss A Novel Complete dustjacket description FSG hardcover edition Marguerite Yourcenar s novel of sixteenth century Europe is like Memoirs of Hadrian essentially a meditation on the nature and condition of

  • Title: The Abyss: A Novel
  • Author: Marguerite Yourcenar Grace Frick
  • ISBN: 9780374100407
  • Page: 214
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Complete dustjacket description 1976 FSG 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 charaComplete dustjacket description 1976 FSG 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 Campanella.Born 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 atheism.After 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 protector.Certain 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 1510 1569 as seen realistically from the perspective of the highway, the laboratory, the cloister, shop, or tavern, and finally as seen from prison.Both 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 death.No 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.

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    217 Comment

    (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: " [...]

    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 more setup, narrative for more narrative, until you realize that, lik [...]

    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. Zénon, 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 bu [...]

    Eppur si muove…« Ecrites pendant les années 60, les pages de L’Œuvre au noir sont hivernales, froides et livides; elles nous renvoient la pâleur de l’époque. Cette luminosité se distingue d’emblée de celle des Mémoires d’Hadrien dont les reflets chauds et dorés nous rappellent les prémices de l’automne. Les vers du demi-dieu affleurent l’encre bleue de Méditerranée comme autant de pépites cuivrées qui annoncent le crépuscule d’un monde. L’hiver du Moyen-âge, lui [...]

    Ας φανταστούμε τους χρόνους της πανώλης. Οτιδήποτε υπερβαίνει τους απτούς φυσικούς νόμους πρέπει να υπόκειται στην πίστη. Διαφορετικά αποπέμπεται και οδηγείται σε φριχτές τιμωρίες. Και όμως υπάρχουν κάποιοι φτωχοδιάολοι κυνηγημένοι που αναπτύσσουν ιδέες και προσπαθούν [...]

    Nella nota finale l’autrice svela che il titolo del libro e il personaggio immaginario di Zenone, del quale è raccontata la vita nel romanzo, le sono stati inizialmente ispirati dall’opera di Albrecht Dürer , “Melencolia”, che raffigura una figura giovanile circondata da diversi oggetti della vita pratica quali strumenti di lavoro o congegni matematici, che medita amaramente mentre misura con un compasso. Quello fu lo spunto iniziale da cui prese origine l’ispirazione della scrittric [...]

    L'Œuvre au noir, qu'en dire…Jamais je ne sentais un sentiment de bien, de sécurité et de tranquillité en lisant cet œuvre de la magnifique Marguerite Yourcenar. Comme l'a dit l'une de mes amis ici, ce n'est pas livre qui se lit rapidement. Ce livre, au fond une fresque historique des Pays-Bas espagnoles au XVIe siècle, au carrefour entre le Moyen Ȃge, la Renaissance et l'époque moderne, se pose des questions essentielles, qui sont pertinentes encore aujourd'hui. Qui sommes-nous? Pourqu [...]

    Μεσαιωνικό μυθιστόρημα που πραγματεύεται τη σχέση Εκκλησίας-αθεΐας.Ο θάνατος του άθεου από τον σκοταδισμό της θρησκείας σε κάνει να αναρωτιέσαι αν αυτό ήταν φαινόμενο που περιοριζόταν την εποχή του Μεσαίωνα και της Ιεράς Εξέτασης ή αν έχει επιβιώσει και στη σημερινή εποχ [...]

    Marvellousmply 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 ev [...]

    Roman intéressant mais à l’intérêt inégal, j’ai pourtant relu avec plaisir le style élaboré et soigné de Marguerite Yourcenar que j’avais déjà croisée il y a longtemps avec Alexis et Le coup de grâce qui m’avait beaucoup plu. L’écriture et fluide et intelligente, l’histoire intéressante, mais les personnages manquent de je ne sais quoi qui aurait pu les rendre plus…passionnants. Le destin hors du commun de Zénon nous rappelle que l’homme n’a pas souvent été en [...]

    " A obra ao negro" relata a vida de Zenão, um filósofo, um alquimista, um médico, um engenheiro, um inventor Este grande homem pode ser comparado Da Vinci. Também ele foi um homem demasiado inteligente para o seu tempo! Possuindo ideias perigosas que o levaram a ser condenado pela Inquisição. Zenão é filho de um homem que conviveu com os Medici, e com grandes artistas como Da Vinci e Miguel Ângelo. Mas este abandonou a sua mãe. E ela por sua vez deixou seu filho aos cuidados dos monges [...]

    “A Obra ao Negro” é a história de Zenão (o filho bastardo de um grande negociante de Bruges)***A Europa do século XVI,as intrigas politicas e religiosas associadas à ciência!!!1968,no meio da agitação e das dúvidas“Pensei escrever as ‘Memórias de Adriano’ para dez pessoas, e enganei-me. Creio neste momento terminar ‘A Obra ao Negro’ para dez pessoas e é muito possível que não me engane.”(Marguerite Yourcenar)Voltou a enganar- se“Trata-se da vida movimentada, mas ta [...]

    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.

    Zenão é médico, filósofo e alquimista. À volta da vida desta personagem fictícia - e numa escrita primorosa - a autora constrói um romance sobre a história da Europa do século XVI. Intrigas políticas, lutas religiosas, discussões científicas e filosóficas,não aprecio. Com grande pena, desisti a meio.

    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'Œuvre au noir. The title refers to the alchemist process of finding the ultimate w [...]

    Je voulais commencer l'année 2018 en finissant ce roman incontournable de M. Yourcenar. Quelle écriture! Une richesse dans la narration, aux descriptions si froides et pourtant si riches. Il faut toujours quelques lignes pour se replonger dans l'histoire et d'ailleurs il m'aura fallu plus de 3 mois pour le lire sans en perdre une miette et comprendre le déroulé des evenements du première et second plan.L'histoire en elle même n'est pas très originale et suit la progression de deux personn [...]

    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.

    L'oeuvre au Noir est un excellent livre à lire pour comprendre ce qu'était vraiment le Moyen-Âge. On est loin de la petite mode médiévale d'il y a quelques années. Dans ce roman tout est noir. C'est surtout au niveau de l'obscurantisme dans les idées. Tout doit passer par Dieu et Jésus sinon c'est diabolique et condamnable. Malheureusement pour le pauvre Zénon, ses idées concordent plus avec celles de la Renaissance qui est en train de commencé. De toutes les époques de l'histoire, c [...]

    I read it in Romanian, and, lucky me, the translation was amazing (thank you, Mrs Sanda Oprescu!). What can I say (I hope I've made myself pretty clear so far, my reviews are pretty poor and rather subjective)? You know when you have to run? I'm a runner. Well I'm trying to be. Lately, I haven't been running too much, and every now and then I made it up to the gym, I ran for 5-6 minutes, then I have to stop, and walk for a couple of minutes. Reading this book was pretty much the same. I would re [...]

    Isto devia ter uma opção para os livros que não se lêem até ao fim.Na falta disso, vai para a prateleira dos não terminados. Ficou a meio porque tive de o devolver. Não que não tivesse tido tempo para o acabar, pois perdi a conta aos livros que li pelo meio, mas porque não me apeteceu, não estou para aqui virada, tenho outras prioridades.Primeira abordagem à obra da autora e encontrei uma escrita densa, analítica, de certo modo fria e masculina. Isto não tem nada que ver com o géne [...]

    Il romanzo racconta la vita di Zenone, medico, filosofo e alchimista del XVI secolo. Sebbene la figura di questo uomo sia frutto della fantasia dell'autrice, Zenone si inserisce perfettamente nel panorama culturale e storico dell'epoca, e il libro risulta essere un'accuratissima rappresentazione del secolo in questione. All'inizio la storia fa un po' fatica a decollare, ma una volta entrati nello spirito del romanzo è difficile non lasciarsi affascinare da Zenone, personaggio enigmatico e inqui [...]

    Médico, filósofo, alquimista, Zenão baseia-se em diversas pessoas reais, entre as quais Leonardo da Vinci e Paracelso. Livre pensador, vive no século XVI, entre a Reforma Protestante e a Contra-Reforma, viaja pela Europa, Oriente, Norte de África, convive com alquimistas, cientistas, clérigos, em busca incessante do conhecimento criou uma personagem riquíssima e um romance impressionante. As notas finais da autora são fundamentais, incluindo as excelentes pesquisas bibliográficas.

    La grandiosità della ricostruzione storica chiama le cinque stelle, la pesantezza immane di alcune parti ne vorrebbe a gran voce tre.Mi attesto nel mezzo, perché è pur sempre un'opera che andrebbe letta, anche se non di facile digestione né per le tematiche, né per i personaggi.

    Se só houvesse um livro a salvar, em toda literatura lida até hoje, seria este. Se alguma vez encontrarem nos meus comentários alguma contradição com o acima afirmado, PF não hesitem em fazer-mo notar.Este é o livro que mais me impressionou, desde sempre, até hoje.

    Zénon est un médecin, philosophe et de surcroît un alchimiste trop moderne par les idées pour son temps, ou le simple fait de penser que c’est la Terre qui tourne autour du soleil et pas l’inverse peut vous mener au bûcher, à la décapitation ou autre barbarie très en vogue au XVIe siècle. J’ai trouvé intéressant l’exploration de la profondeur de l’âme humaine par le prisme de la philosophie ou les volontés & les caractères sont versatiles à cette période de grands b [...]

    Es un fenomenal libro de Yourcenar. Pero, eso sí, la erudición que demostró la señora de verdad que da miedo.

    A differenza di ciò che potreste leggere online circa l’origine del titolo, l’autrice riferisce nell’appendice che L’opera al nero prende il nome da una formula che gli alchimisti francesi traducevano così dal latino o dal greco. Ed è proprio di alchimia che si parla, così come di religione, morale, medicina, filosofia ed eresia: materie che spesso nel corso della storia si sono fuse e confuse tra di loro.La storia si svolge nel ‘500 e ha come narratore Zenone Ligre, figlio illegit [...]

    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 [...]

    Dit gitzwarte boek begint wanneer Zeno onverwacht in Vlaamse velden zijn zielenbroer Henri-Maximilien Ligre op het lijf loopt. De ene is een avonturier van de geest, de andere van de macht. We volgen beiden, maar uiteindelijk is het de eerste die centraal staat.Zeno is wijsgeer, geneesheer, alchemist en zwerver, een boeiend personage dat de beklemmingen van zijn tijd weet te ontstijgen, maar daardoor misbegrepen en uiteindelijk ook gestraft wordt. Zeno jaagt de verlokkingen van het verborgene na [...]

    Nella tradizione alchemica l'opera al nero, nigredo in latino, è il primo stadio delle trasformazioni che portano la materia, qualunque essa sia, verso la perfezione e la innalzano nel suo percorso attraverso le impurità.La vita di un alchimista come Zenone da Bruges, il protagonista del romanzo di Marguerite Yourcenar, è in realtà solo una parte di questo complesso processo di sublimazione che diventa una metafora della ricerca della conoscenza attraverso la trasformazione di sé, condotta [...]

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