Portrait of Power Embodied in a Roman Emperor - Memoirs of Hadrian
In 1982, when I first read Marguerite Yourcenar's "The Memoirs of Hadrian," I asked Arnaldo Momigliano, the great scholar of the ancient world, what he thought of the novel. Italian to the highest power, he put all five fingers of his right hand to his mouth, kissed them, and announced, "Pure masterpiece." Now, nearly 30 years later, I have reread the work and find it even better than before. A book that improves on rereading, that seems even grander the older one gets—surely, this is yet another sign of a masterpiece.