M. Yursenar’s “Philosopher’s Stone” in brief summary

M. Yursenar’s “Philosopher’s Stone” in brief summary

1529 year. On the crossroads of two roads there are cousins. Henri Maximilian, the son of the rich merchant Henri-Just Ligr, sixteen years old: he raves Plutarch and piously believes that he will be able to compete with Alexander the Great and Caesar. He does not like to sit in his father’s shop and measure with arshin cloth: his goal is to become a man. The illegitimate Zeno is twenty years old: all his thoughts are occupied only with science, and he dreams to ascend above a person, knowing the secrets of alchemy.

Zeno was born in Bruges. His mother was Hilzonda, the sister of Henri-Just, and her father was the young prelate Alberico de Numi, the son of an ancient Florentine clan. The handsome Italian easily seduced the young Flemish, and then returned to the papal court, where

he was expecting a brilliant career. Betrayal betrayal inspired the young woman aversion to marriage, but one day the brother introduced her to the gray-bearded God-fearing Simon Adriansen, who introduced Hilzonda to the evangelical faith. When news reached Bruges that Cardinal Alberico de Numi was killed in Rome, Hilzonda agreed to marry Simone, Zenon stayed in the house of his uncle – his stepfather could not tame this little wolf cub.

Henri-Just gave his nephew to the teachings of his brother-in-law Bartolome Campanus, the canon of the church of St. Donatus. Some acquaintances Zenona disturbed relatives: he willingly led a friendship with barber Jan Meyers and weaver Kolas Gelom. Jan was unrivaled in the art of firing blood, but he was suspected of secretly dismembering corpses. Kolas dreamed of easing the work of the clothmen, and Zenon created drawings of machine tools. In the pharmacy of the barber and in the workshop of the weaver, the schoolchild comprehended what the book wisdom could not give him. However, weavers disappointed the young man – these foolish ignoramus tried to break his machines. Once the house of Henri-Just visited the Princess Margarita, who liked the beautiful cheeky schoolboy: she expressed a desire to take him to her retinue, but Zeno preferred to embark on a journey. Soon Henry-Maximilian

followed his example.

The first time the rumor about Zeno did not abate. Many claimed that he had comprehended all the secrets of alchemy and medicine. They also said that he desecrates cemeteries, seduces women, is confused with heretics and atheists. He was allegedly seen in the most remote countries – according to rumors, he made a fortune, selling the secret of the Greek fire he invented to the Algerian Pasha. But as time went by, Zenon gradually began to forget, and only canonist Campanus sometimes recalled his former disciple.

Simon Adriansen and Hilzonda lived in peace and harmony for twelve years. In their house the righteous gathered – those to whom the light of truth was revealed. The news spread that in Munster the Anabaptists drove out bishops and municipal councilors – this city turned into the poor in Jerusalem. Simon, having sold out his property, wriggled out into the City of God with his wife and little daughter Martha. Soon the citadel of virtue was surrounded by Catholic troops. Hans Bokhold, who used to be the name of John of Leiden, proclaimed himself the king-prophet. The new Christ had seventeen wives, which served as an indisputable proof of the power of God. When Simon left to collect money for the holy cause, Hilzonda became the eighteenth. Dumbfounded by ecstasy, she barely noticed how the bishop’s soldiers were bursting into the city. Mass executions began. Hilzonde’s head was cut off, and Martha the faithful servant hid before the return of Simon. The old man did not reproach his dead wife with a word: in her fall he blamed only himself. He did not live long, and he entrusted Martha to his sister Salome – the wife of the richest banker Fugger, the Girl grew up in Cologne with Cousin Benedicta. Martin Fugger and Juste Ligr from Bruges, eternal friends-rivals, decided to unite the capital: Benedikt was to marry Philibert. But when the plague began in Germany, Salome and Benedicta died. Wife Filibera Ligra herd Marta. All her life she was tormented by a sense of guilt, for she disowned the bequest of the parents of the evangelical faith and could not overcome the fear that drove her from the bed of her dying sister. The witness of her weakness was a doctor – a tall, thin man with graying hair and a swarthy face. The old man did not reproach his dead wife with a word: in her fall he blamed only himself. He did not live long, and he entrusted Martha to his sister Salome – the wife of the richest banker Fugger, the Girl grew up in Cologne with Cousin Benedicta. Martin Fugger and Juste Ligr from Bruges, eternal friends-rivals, decided to unite the capital: Benedikt was to marry Philibert. But when the plague began in Germany, Salome and Benedicta died. Wife Filibera Ligra herd Marta. All her life she was tormented by a sense of guilt, for she disowned the bequest of the parents of the evangelical faith and could not overcome the fear that drove her from the bed of her dying sister. The witness of her weakness was a doctor – a tall, thin man with graying hair and a swarthy face. The old man did not reproach his dead wife with a word: in her fall he blamed only himself. He did not live long, and he entrusted Martha to his sister Salome – the wife of the richest banker Fugger, the Girl grew up in Cologne with Cousin Benedicta. Martin Fugger and Juste Ligr from Bruges, eternal friends-rivals, decided to unite the capital: Benedikt was to marry Philibert. But when the plague began in Germany, Salome and Benedicta died. Wife Filibera Ligra herd Marta. All her life she was tormented by a sense of guilt, for she disowned the bequest of the parents of the evangelical faith and could not overcome the fear that drove her from the bed of her dying sister. The witness of her weakness was a doctor – a tall, thin man with graying hair and a swarthy face. and he entrusted Martha to his sister Salome – the wife of the richest banker Fugger, the Girl grew up in Cologne with her cousin Benedicta. Martin Fugger and Juste Ligr from Bruges, eternal friends-rivals, decided to unite the capital: Benedikt was to marry Philibert. But when the plague began in Germany, Salome and Benedicta died. Wife Filibera Ligra herd Marta. All her life she was tormented by a sense of guilt, for she disowned the bequest of the parents of the evangelical faith and could not overcome the fear that drove her from the bed of her dying sister. The witness of her weakness was a doctor – a tall, thin man with graying hair and a swarthy face. and he entrusted Martha to his sister Salome – the wife of the richest banker Fugger, the Girl grew up in Cologne with her cousin Benedicta. Martin Fugger and Juste Ligr from Bruges, eternal friends-rivals, decided to unite the capital: Benedikt was to marry Philibert. But when the plague began in Germany, Salome and Benedicta died. Wife Filibera Ligra herd Marta. All her life she was tormented by a sense of guilt, for she disowned the bequest of the parents of the evangelical faith and could not overcome the fear that drove her from the bed of her dying sister. The witness of her weakness was a doctor – a tall, thin man with graying hair and a swarthy face. decided to unite the capital: Benedikt was to marry Philibert. But when the plague began in Germany, Salome and Benedicta died. Wife Filibera Ligra herd Marta. All her life she was tormented by a sense of guilt, for she disowned the bequest of the parents of the evangelical faith and could not overcome the fear that drove her from the bed of her dying sister. The witness of her weakness was a doctor – a tall, thin man with graying hair and a swarthy face. decided to unite the capital: Benedikt was to marry Philibert. But when the plague began in Germany, Salome and Benedicta died. Wife Filibera Ligra herd Marta. All her life she was tormented by a sense of guilt, for she disowned the bequest of the parents of the evangelical faith and could not overcome the fear that drove her from the bed of her dying sister. The witness of her weakness was a doctor – a tall, thin man with graying hair and a swarthy face.

From Cologne, Zeno moved to Innsbruck. Here the cousins ​​met again. Twenty years later, it was possible to sum up the results, Henri Maximilian rose to the rank of captain: he did not regret leaving the house, but life was not what he had dreamed of. Zeno learned a lot, but came to the conclusion that scientists are not burned in vain at fires: they can acquire such power that they will push the whole globe into the abyss – however, the human race does not deserve a better fate. Ignorance goes hand in hand with cruelty, and even the search for truth turns into a bloody masquerade, as happened in Munster. Zeno did not ignore his troubles: his book Predictions of the Future was considered heretical, so he needs to hide and constantly change his place of residence.

Soon Henri-Maximilian was killed at the siege of Siena. And Zeno had to flee Innsbruck, and he decided to return to Bruges, where no one remembered him. The ligers long ago left this city – Philibert was now one of the most influential and wealthy people of Brabant. Named after the name of Sebastian Teus, the alchemist trusted an old friend Jan Meyers, in whose house he settled. First, Zeno thought that he would stay in this quiet refuge for a short while, but gradually realized that he was trapped and doomed to wear someone else’s mask. He maintained friendly relations only with the Prior of the Franciscan monastery, it was the only person who showed tolerance and breadth of views. Doctors of Teus more closely embraced disgust for people – even the human body had many flaws, and he was trying to come up with a more perfect device. From his youth he was attracted by three stages of the Great Act of the Alchemists: black, white and red – dismemberment, recreation and union. The first phase required all of his life, but he was convinced that the path exists: after the decay of thought and the disintegration of all forms, either a real death or the return of a spirit liberated and purified from the abomination of the surrounding being will come.

The half-mad maid Katarina poisoned old Jan, and Zeno again pulled to wander, but he could not leave the prior, painfully dying from the pouring in his throat. Saturn’s opposition did not bode well for either of them. Monks left unattended. More and more often they violated the charter, and some brothers indulged in secret fornication. Opening the hospital at the monastery, Zeno took in the help of Siprian – a village boy who took tonsure at the age of fifteen. The troubled times were at the denunciation, and after the death of the prior, the case of monastic orgies was revealed. During interrogation with a passion, Siprian accused his master of complicity. Sebastian Teus was immediately seized, and he struck everyone by naming his real name.

In vain Zeno believed that he had been forgotten. The ghost, who lived in the back streets of human memory, suddenly found flesh and blood in the guise of a sorcerer, apostate, foreign scout. Dissolute monks were executed at the stake. Learning of this, Zenon suddenly felt remorse: as the creator of the Greek fire, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, he was also involved in the villainy. Then he wanted to leave this hell-earth. However, at the trial he defended himself rather skillfully, and public opinion was divided: people who suffered from Filiber’s machinations spread their malice to Zeno, while relatives and friends of the Liggs secretly tried to help the accused. The canon Campanus sent a courier to the banker. But Martha did not like to remember the man who guessed her rhinestones, and Philibert was too cautious to risk his position for the sake of a dubious cousin. The fate of Zeno was resolved by Katarina’s testimony, which stated that she had helped poison Jan Meyers: according to her, she could not refuse the wicked doctor who roused her flesh with a love potion. Rumors of witchcraft were fully confirmed, and Zeno was sentenced to be burned. The inhabitants of Bruges were eagerly awaiting this spectacle. On the night of February 18, 1569, the canon Campanus came to dungeon to persuade Zeno to bring public repentance and thereby save his life. The philosopher refused flatly. After the departure of the priest, he took out a carefully hidden narrow blade. At the last minute, he needed the knack of a barber-surgeon, to whom he was so proud. Cutting the tibial vein and the radial artery on his wrist, he clearly saw the three phases of the Act: the blackness turned green, turning into pure white, the turbid whiteness turned into purple gold,


M. Yursenar’s “Philosopher’s Stone” in brief summary