Three stories written between 1927 and 1930, when the author was in her mid-twenties. Covering diverse themes that reappear in Yourcenar's later work, the tales range from an allegory on greed, to a scene from the war of the sexes, the a witchhunt that obsessively creates its own quarry.
"A Blue Tale" is a sensual, fantastic attampt to describe reality in blue. Drawing on an ancient oral tradition, Yourcenar offers a tale of the credulity of men who are lured by riches - in this case, sapphires.
"The First Evening" was originally written, though left unfinished, by Yourenar's father, Michael de Crayencour. He exerted a strong influence on his daughter's life and on the early stages of her writing career. Yourcenar revised and completed this tale depicting a jaded French intellectual and man-of-the-world whose wedding night is disrupted by shocking news, and it was published under her name after her father's death.
"The Evil Spell," like Memoirs of Hadrian is set in the Mediterranean, a physical and spiritual place that fired Yourcenar's literary imagination. The story also features both the poor Italian peasants and the fascist and communist struggles that figure so promnently in A Coin in Nine Hands. The tale reveals Yourcenar's fascination with the occult, a realm she would find herself attracted to more than once later on - most notably at a crucial turning point in The Abyss.
Original title: Conte bleu; Le Premier soir; Malefice
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction→ Literary Fiction/classics
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