Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-1987) was born into an aristocratic Flemish family in Brussels. She first started to write in her adolescent years. After the death of her father, she was able to support herself independently by her writing, producing many novels, plays, poems, critical essays, letters, and three volumes of personal memoirs, most of which were written in French and translated into English.
Yourcenar moved to America at the outbreak of World War II. In 1951, the publication of Mémoires DHadrien, translated by her life-long partner, Grace Frick, brought her international acclaim. The book, written in the form of a diary of the Roman emperor Hadrian, is considered by many to be the greatest historical novel of the twentieth century. In 1980, she became the first woman to be elected to the Académie Française.
George Rousseau explores the complexities of a lesbian who wrote mainly in the voices of gay men, a fiercely controlled intellectual who wrote brilliantly about overwhelming sexual passion.