Marguerite Duras


“Marguerite Duras (1914–1996) is one of France’s most important and interesting intellectual figures. She excelled at being a writer, filmmaker and dramatist. After the Second World War she also worked for a number of years as a journalist for France-Observateur. She was often at the forefront of political movements, such as the opposition to the Algerian War, May ’68 and feminism. Surprisingly, Duras supported of the sinking, by the French secret service, of the Greenpeace vessel, The Rainbow Warrior in 1985, her view being at the time that any impediment – which Greenpeace represented – to French nuclear testing in the Pacific only encouraged Soviet expansionism. In her extensive oeuvre, Duras particularly explored the emotional disequilibrium brought by love, desire, suffering and death, especially as these affect women and propel them towards the abyss of madness. In addition, Duras’s writing explores the space between fusion and separation (e.g. in love and sexuality) as it breaks down the boundary between private (family) and public (political and artistic) life – between the symbolic and the imaginary, and between the time of narrative and the event recounted. Often narrative appears as a kind of distancing from the real, so that writing becomes the only reality. Subject and object thus become difficult to separate in many of Duras’s key fictional texts. This is illustrated in The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein (Duras 1966), where the writer/narrator and what is being written about become particularly difficult to determine. For this reason, Duras has come to be seen as a post-modern writer. Duras’s own life was a crucial source of material and inspiration for her fictional writing. Few could transform everyday life fragments into artistic statements with the combination of intensity and starkness that characterises Duras’s prose. Although, as Leslie Hill has pointed out, there is no absolutely true and unchanging set of biographical facts pertaining to Duras’s life, certain points can be taken as given. …”
Literary Theory and Criticism
W – Marguerite Duras
The Paris Review: On a Pedestal – Duras’s The Lover, thirty years later.
When Marguerite Duras Got Kicked Out of the Communist Party
Top 10 interesting facts about the French writer Marguerite Duras
ARTFORUM: Out of Time – Amy Taubin on Marguerite Duras


French Indochina in the 20th century by Jack Birns, LIFE magazine

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