Art and Politics in Duras' India Cycle

Art and Politics in Duras' India Cycle

Art and Politics in Duras' India Cycle

Art and Politics in Duras' India Cycle

Synopsis

"Lucy Stone McNeece proposes a political reading of six of Marguerite Duras' works, centering on a single narrative core as an allegory of the neocolonial politics of representation. She argues that Duras speaks about her past in colonial Indochina both to establish an analogy between bankrupt colonial structures of the 1930s and the post-modern media culture of modern France and to alert her readers to the invisible oppression within the liberal democracies of Western Europe. Using two settings - India in the 1930s and northern France in the 1970s - Duras examines the vestiges of colonial attitudes and exclusionary, racist practices in contemporary culture and reveals the hidden structures that perpetuate these practices. The cycle, McNeece suggests, dramatizes the possibilities of representation, of reconstructing the real - connected to the dream of territorial and cultural appropriation - as a problem of language. The cycle thus demonstrates that the real is in some ways only a creation of conventions of language/culture itself. McNeece's study extends previous work on Duras by setting her work in a larger framework than that of psychoanalysis or feminism and focusing on the connections in her work between poetics and sociopolitical concerns." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The writing of this book occurred essentially in two separate stages, whichare reflected in its orientation. the first, completed in the 1980s, was inspired by the discovery of "feminine" and feminist writing, as well as byresearch done in France on film and semiotics. the second, involving theelaboration of the book's conceptual framework, was inspired by recent research on postcolonial francophone literature and cultural theory. the bookalso reflects two stages of my own itinerary as a scholar: my early experience as a student of the New Criticism and the various European formalisms, and my later exposure to political and social theories and discourseanalysis in the context of poststructuralist and postcolonial culture.

The book's "double genesis" should provide a framework for a criticalapproach to fictional texts that connects their formal features to the historical context of their production without ascribing explanatory priorityto either one. the analysis of Duras' India cycle may starve as a model forreading a range of contemporary texts that question the relation of modesof representation to modes of knowing and that explore the function of artand writing in the construction of contemporary consciousness and ideology. the book's approach is not intended to be an exhaustive study of Duras'work but an example of the way her writing generates its own critical paradigms that underscore the interrelatedness of disciplines traditionallythought to be discrete.

I am indebted to many people for their invaluable help in completingthis work, especially those who encouraged my involvement in a project . . .

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