Duras and "I": Characterization of Feminist "I" in Marguerite Duras's Autobiography: The Lover/DURAS ET « JE » : CARACTERISATION DU « JE » FEMINISTE DANS L'AUTOBIOGRAPHIE DE MARGUERITE DURAS : L'AMANT

By Li, Lin | Canadian Social Science, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Duras and "I": Characterization of Feminist "I" in Marguerite Duras's Autobiography: The Lover/DURAS ET « JE » : CARACTERISATION DU « JE » FEMINISTE DANS L'AUTOBIOGRAPHIE DE MARGUERITE DURAS : L'AMANT


Li, Lin, Canadian Social Science


Abstract:

Marguerite Duras, a famous French novelist, playwright and film director in the twenties century lets us audience appreciate more of her literary and aesthetic values through the novel The Lover. This essay, based on the detailed analysis of the text The lover, explores the autobiographical features of writing and feminist representation in the novel. Duras handles expertly her autobiographical narration, the relationship between fabrication and reality or the novel and her own life experience. More importantly, Duras, though she never acclaims herself a feminist, creates a very powerful feminist role, "I". Those features of feminist writing are presented obviously through non-linear or chorological narrative structure, language of stream of unconscious, ungrammatical syntax, libidinal description, lesbian love and dominating role of woman. The novel can undoubtedly be considered as a proclamation of feminists.

Key words: Duras, Autobiography, Feminist

Résumé: Marguerite Duras, romancière française réputée, dramaturge et metteur en scène du 20e siècle, nous permet d'apprécier ses valeurs littéraires et esthétiques à travers son roman L'Amant. L'article présent, basé sur des analyses détaillées du texte de L'Amant, étudie les caractéristiques autobiographiques de l'écriture et la représentation féministe dans ce roman. Duras traite habilement sa narration autobiographique,la relation entre la création et la réalité, celle entre le roman et sa propre expérience. Le plus important, c'est que Duras a cré un rôle féministe tout puissant « Je », bien qu'elle ne se soit jamais proclamée féministe. Ces traits de l'écriture féministe sont présentés évidemment à travers la structure de narration non-linéaire ou chorologique, le langage du courant de conscience, la syntaxe non-grammaticale, la description libidineuse, le lesbianisme et le rôle dominant de la femme. Le roman peut être incontestablement considéré comme une proclamation des féministes.

Mots-Clés: Duras, autobiographie, féministe

Marguerite Duras, a French novelist, scenarist, playwright, and film director has drawn the attention of the world in the twenties century. Her novels have ever been considered readable and understood only by intellectuals till the novel The Lover was published and made into a film. The film made a great commercial success. And through the novel it becomes easier for us to access to her literary works. The novel, The lover, is considered one of Marguerite Duras's autobiographies which arouse the interest of the people of the world to know about her life as a female writer. At the same the time we appreciate the novel for its literary and aesthetic values. So in this essay I would try to explore the autobiographical writing and feminist representation in her novel, The Lover.

As a world-famous female writer, her life easily becomes our readers' attention especially when her works revealed some of her life experiences. Marguerite Duras was born in April 1914, in Sigon, a part of Indochina where the story in the novel takes places. She is the youngest of the three children. She has two brothers both of whom appear as characters in the story. Both of her parents were teachers. The family went to the colonies between 1900 and 1903. It is against this period that the novel is set. Later her father was forced for health reasons to return to France, where he died of amoebic dysentery. Duras's mother was left with Marguerite herself, aged 4, and her two brothers, 9 and 7 at the time, having to survive in hard circumstances. At the age of 18 Marguerite left Indochina for France, where she began studying for a degree in mathematics which also becomes a detail in the novel. She soon abandoned to concentrate on political sciences and then law. Subsequently she worked for the French Colonial Office as a researcher ad archivist. She married the writer, Robert Antelme in 1939. Two years later she published her first novel. …

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Duras and "I": Characterization of Feminist "I" in Marguerite Duras's Autobiography: The Lover/DURAS ET « JE » : CARACTERISATION DU « JE » FEMINISTE DANS L'AUTOBIOGRAPHIE DE MARGUERITE DURAS : L'AMANT
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