Marguerite Duras

Marguerite Duras (märgərēt´ düräs´), 1914–96, French author, b. Gia Dinh, Indochina (now Vietnam). Usually grouped with the exponents of the nouveau roman [new novel] (see French literature), Duras abandoned many of the conventions of the novel form. Her novels usually mix themes of eroticism and death, often treating existential moments in people's lives. Avoiding the use of descriptive passages, she had her characters reveal themselves through what they say—and do not say. Duras's experience as a film writer—she wrote the screenplay for Alain Resnais's Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), among many others—and as a director significantly influenced her tersely simple narrative technique. She also wrote a number of plays.

Duras wrote more than 70 novels, many of which have been made into films and most of which deal unsentimentally with love, despair, and sexual passion. They include Un Barrage contre le Pacifique (1950; tr. The Sea Wall, 1952), Le Marin de Gibraltar (1952; tr. The Sailor from Gibraltar, 1966), Moderato cantabile (1958; tr. 1960), 10:30 du soir en été (1960; tr. 10:30 on a Summer Night, 1965), Détruire, dit-elle (1969; tr. Destroy, She Said, 1970), and Emily L. (1987; tr. 1989). Her mysterious and sensual semiautobiographical novel L'Amant (1984; tr. The Lover, 1985), an international best seller, was her first work of fiction to reach a large popular audience. It was followed by another partial roman à clef that retells the same story, L'Amant de la Chine du Nord (1991; tr. The North Chinese Lover, 1992).

See biography by L. Adler (2000).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Revisioning Duras: Film, Race, Sex
James S. Williams; Janet Sayers.
Liverpool University Press, 2000
Marguerite Duras: Fascinating Vision and Narrative Cure
Deborah N. Glassman.
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1991
Place, Memory, and Subjectivity, in Marguerite Duras' Hiroshima Mon Amour
Mohsen, Caroline.
The Romanic Review, Vol. 89, No. 4, November 1998
Art and Politics in Duras' India Cycle
Lucy Stone McNeece.
University Press of Florida, 1996
Aesthetics of Blankness: Political Imagination in Marguerite Duras's Hybrid Narratives
Just, Daniel.
The Romanic Review, Vol. 101, No. 3, May 2010
Anamnesis in "The Dead" and Hiroshima Mon Amour: The Loss of First Loves
Brown, William Lansing; Mustaphalli, Selena.
West Virginia University Philological Papers, Vol. 46, Fall 2000
The Politics of Abuse: The Traumatized Child in Toni Morrison and Marguerite Duras
Vickroy, Laurie.
Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 29, No. 2, June 1996
Life and Text as Spectacle: Sacrificial Repetitions in Duras's the North China Lover
Sample, C. K., III.
Literature/Film Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 4, January 1, 2004
The French New Autobiographies: Sarraute, Duras, and Robbe Grillet
Raylene L. Ramsay.
University Press of Florida, 1996
Home, Maison, Casa: The Politics of Location in Works by Jean Rhys, Marguerite Duras, and Erminia Dell'oro
Erica L. Johnson.
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003
Shifting Scenes: Interviews on Women, Writing, and Politics in Post-68 France
Carolyn G. Heilbrun; Nancy K. Miller; Alice Jardine; Anne M. Menke.
Columbia University Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Marguerite Duras"
Duras on the Margins
Ha, Marie-Paule.
The Romanic Review, Vol. 84, No. 3, May 1993
Women on Women and the Middle Man: Narrative Structures in Duras and Ernaux
Marson, Susan.
French Forum, Vol. 26, No. 1, Annual 2001
Sex Drives: Fantasies of Fascism in Literary Modernism
Laura Frost.
Cornell University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "'Every Woman Adores a Fascist': Marguerite Duras, Sylvia Plath, and Feminist Visions of Fascism"
Heterographies: Sexual Difference in French Autobiography
Alex Hughes.
Berg, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Childhood Memories: Textual Burial and ‘Obsessional’ Narrative in Violette Leduc's L'Asphyxie and Jean-Paul Sartre's Les Mots"
Sexuality and the Reading Encounter: Identity and Desire in Proust, Duras, Tournier, and Cixous
Emma Wilson.
Clarendon Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "'Mon histoire de Lol V. Stein': Duras, Reading, and Amnesia"
The Contemporary Novel in France
William Thompson.
University Press of Florida, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Marguerite Duras"
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