Revisioning Duras: Film, Race, Sex

Revisioning Duras: Film, Race, Sex

Revisioning Duras: Film, Race, Sex

Revisioning Duras: Film, Race, Sex

Excerpt

Marguerite Duras' autobiographical writing is well known and now much written about. This, at least, is unquestionably true of L'amant, which was published in 1984 and very quickly became an international bestseller. the other texts usually held to make up the ‘corpus’ of Duras' autobiographical writings are—somewhat dubiously I feel, given that it is written almost entirely in the third person and presents a radically different version of what is similar material—Un barrage contre le Pacifique, L'amant de la Chine du Nord, and possibly also the ‘Apostrophes' television interview Duras gave to Bernard Pivot in September 1984, which has now taken on the status of a text in its own right. (By the ‘status of a text’ I mean in this instance that the interview, in which Duras' spoken delivery resembled her often gnomic and lacuna-ridden written style, offers none of the guarantees of referential truth about a life which such an interview—following the publication of a revelatory and uncertainly ‘autobiographical’ novel as it did—might normally be relied upon to provide.) L'amant de la Chine du Nord followed L'amant to the top of the bestseller lists, at least briefly, putting Duras into the unusual, if not unique, position for a writer of having written her autobiography twice and achieved a double success. the composition of L'amant de la Chine du Nord, as is also widely known, was bound up with Jean-Jacques Annaud' adaptation of L'amant for the cinema, which had begun in the late 1980s and was to be released in France in January 1992.

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