Holograph Letter to Bernard Hassell.
Signed and dated, 16 June, 1985. 3 pages manuscript letter in ink on two leaves. Folded twice. 150 × 225 mm. In fine condition.
Yourcenar reports about the tragically declining health of her last lover and travel companion Jerry Wilson the young American gay photographer. They were in India on a trip to Nepal when Jerry “fall dangerously ill around Jan. 25 from what we thought was malaria”, but a doctor in India diagnosed “that it had to do with lungs”. “Jerry thought that a stay at the sea-shore at Goa would help him” so the two stayed there for about 2 month and arrived back to New York in mid March. “Since than, an advanced tuberculosis of both lungs has been diagnosed”. Yourcenar mentions that Jerry undergoes a “strong chemical treatment which makes him awfully weak” and writes that she won’t “give his ‘phone no, since he is so tired that he begged me not to give it to anyone”. She provides Jerry’s mother’s address to send letter to him through her. Yourcenar closes her letter with good wishes to Bernard and Jimmy (Baldwin) who she hopes “is full of energy as usual”. Jerry Wilson died of AIDS on February 8, 1986 in Paris at the age of 37. Marguerite Yourcenar (1903–1987) was a Belgian-born French author, who was the first women elected to the Académie française in 1980. Bernard Hassell (1930–1991) was an American actor and dancer, James Baldwin’s (1924–1987) companion. Baldwin was an African American gay writer and civil rights activist. He and Yourcenar were good friends and in 1982 Yourcenar translated his play “The Amen Corner” into French.