Intervju za „Parisku reviju“: Margerit Jursenar

Marguerite Yourcenar

U nastavku sledi odlomak iz intervjua koji je Margerit Jursenar nekoliko meseci pre smrti dala za književni magazain The Paris Review.


So who was a decisive influence on you in youth?


As I said in the preface to Alexis, at the time it was Rilke. But this business of influence is a tricky one. One reads thousands of books, of poets, modern and ancient, as one meets thousands of people. What remains of it all is hard to tell.


You mentioned modern poets. Which ones for example?


There is a Swedish poet whom I have never succeeded in introducing to my French friends: Gunnard Ekelof. He has written three little books called Divans, I suppose influenced by Persian poetry. And, of course, Borges, and some of Lorca’s poems, and Pessoa, Apollinaire.


Talking about Borges, what about other South American writers, the whole school of magical realism?


I don’t like them—they are like factory products.


But surely you must have read writers like Henry James, Faulkner, Hemingway, Edith Wharton?


Some. There are great moments in Hemingway, for example “The Battler” or, even better, “The Killers,” which is a masterpiece of the American short story. It is a tale of revenge in the underworld, and it is excellent. Edith Wharton’s short stories seem to me much better than her novels. Ethan Frome, for example, is the story of a peasant of New England. In it the protagonist, a woman of the world, puts herself in his place and describes the life of these people in winter, when all the roads are frozen, isolated. It is short and very beautiful. Faulkner brings with him the true horror of the South, the illiteracy and racism of poor whites. As for Henry James, the best definition is the one by Somerset Maugham, when he said that Henry James was an alpinist, equipped to conquer the Himalayas, and walked up Beaker Street! Henry James was crushed by his stifling milieu—his sister, his mother, even his brother who was a genius but of a more philosophical and professorial kind. James never told his own truth.


Traveling extensively as you do, how do you manage to write? Where do you find so much energy, and what is your work routine?


I write everywhere. I could write here, as I am talking to you. When in Maine or elsewhere, when I am traveling, I write wherever I am or whenever I can. Writing doesn’t require too much energy—it is a relaxation, and a joy.

Full Interview


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