New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, (1986). Octavo, original black cloth spine lettered in silver, pink paper boards with blind-stamped flower design to front board, original unclipped photographic dust jacket featuring a portrait of Mishima by Eikoh Hosoe.
First American edition of Marguerite Yourcenar’s critical essay on Yukio Mishima, originally published in French in 1980. One of the great writers to emerge from postwar Japan, Mishima incorporated elements of the Western novel into his native literary tradition, reaching a global audience. Yourcenar’s essay is an attempt to understand Mishima’s evolving artistic choices, culminating in his dramatic and carefully planned ritual suicide, or seppuku: “What we shall now try to find is by what sequence of events the brilliant Mishima, lauded or (what amounts to the same thing) detested for his provocations and successes, slowly became a man determined to die.” Best known for her 1951 novel Memoirs of Hadrian, Yourcenar was elected to the Académie française the same year her Mishima essay appeared in France: she was the first woman to become a member. A fine copy.