Marguerite Duras: Fascinating Vision and Narrative Cure

Marguerite Duras: Fascinating Vision and Narrative Cure

Marguerite Duras: Fascinating Vision and Narrative Cure

Marguerite Duras: Fascinating Vision and Narrative Cure

Synopsis

The work of writer and filmmaker Marguerite Duras raises theoretical issues of representation and formal issues of cinematic and literary languages. The novel Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein and the film India Song are examine using a psychoanalytic model of interpretation.

Excerpt

In 1984, Marguerite Duras was awarded France's most prestigious literary award, the Goncourt Prize for L'Amant. The award was a double scandal. Some critics protested the committee's decision to deprive younger talent of needed and deserved support. (The Goncourt is worth only about fifty francs in cash but dramatically affects book sales.) Others felt that official recognition of Duras's oeuvre was long overdue, and that this mostly first-person autobiography offered long-awaited revelations.

Duras began publishing novels toward the end of the Second World War, although some of her more journalistic manuscripts from that period did not come to light until recently, (e.g., La Douleur). Duras's first novel, Les Impudents, appeared in 1943 and was followed by La Vie tranquille in 1944. Six years later, she published Un Barrage contre le Pacifique, the first of many novels subsequently adapted for the stage and/or used as the basis for later films. Literary historians situate her among the generation of French postwar writers influenced by Faulkner and Hemingway, but many have difficulty categorizing her work.

In the fifties, when an active polemic was carried on among readers, writers, and critics of the new writing practices, but before the “New Novelists” were baptized as such or anthologized, Duras was considered one of the talented young writers of her generation. In a special issue of Esprit featuring a selection of popular and visible novelists, she was included on the list of ten “romanciers plus ou moins fréquemment cités à propos de ce que les critiques très divers … ont appelé … la nouvelle école du roman … nouveau réalisme … l'anti-roman” (novelists more or less frequently quoted regarding what very different critics … have called … the new school of the novel… new realism … antinovel). This list might be considered a contemporary index of literary tastes as well as a chronicle of the . . .

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