Marguerite Duras

Marguerite Duras
Duras, 1993
Born Marguerite Donnadieu

(1914-04-04)4 April 1914

Saigon, Cochinchina, French Indochina (now Vietnam)
Died 3 March 1996(1996-03-03) (aged 81)

Paris, France
Nationality French
Period 1943–1995
  • Robert Antelme
  • Dionys Mascolo
  • Yann Andréa

Marguerite Donnadieu (4 April 1914 – 3 March 1996), known as Marguerite Duras (French: [maʁɡ(ə)ʁit dyʁas]), was a French novelist, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and experimental filmmaker. Her script for the film Hiroshima mon amour (1959) earned her a nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards.

Early life and education [ edit ]

Duras was born Marguerite Donnadieu on April 4, 1914, in Gia-Dinh[1] (near to Saigon), Cochinchina, French Indochina (now Vietnam); she was the only daughter of two teachers who had responded to a campaign by the French government encouraging French people to settle in the colony.[2]

Duras's father fell ill soon after their arrival and returned to France, where he died. After his death, her mother remained in Indochina with her three children. The family lived in relative poverty after her mother made a bad investment in an isolated property and area of rice farmland in Cambodia.[2] See, e.g. Un Barrage contre le Pacifique.

At 17, Duras went to France, her parents' native country, where she began studying for a degree in mathematics. She soon abandoned this to concentrate on political science, then law.[2] After completing her studies, through 1941, she worked for the French government in the Ministry of the Colonies;[2] in the 1930s she also changed her name to Marguerite Duras. In 1939, she married the writer Robert Antelme.[2]

During World War II, from 1942 to 1944, Duras worked for the Vichy government in an office that allocated paper quotas to publishers and in the process operated a de facto book-censorship system. She also became an active member of the PCF (the French Communist Party)[2] and a member of the French Resistance as a part of a small group that also included François Mitterrand, who later became President of France and remained a lifelong friend of Duras.[2] Her husband, Antelme, was deported to Buchenwald in 1944[3] for his involvement in the Resistance, and barely survived the experience (weighing on his release, according to Duras, just 38 kg). She nursed him back to health, but they divorced once he recovered his health.

Career [ edit ]

Duras was the author of many novels, plays, films, interviews, essays, and works of short fiction, including her best-selling, highly fictionalized autobiographical work L'Amant (1984), translated into English as The Lover, which describes her youthful affair with a Chinese man. It won the Prix Goncourt in 1984.[4] The story of her adolescence also appears in three other books: The Sea Wall, Eden Cinema and The North China Lover. A film version of The Lover, produced by Claude Berri and directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, was released to great success in 1992. Duras's novel The Sea Wall was first adapted into the 1958 film This Angry Age by René Clément, and again in 2008 by Cambodian director Rithy Panh as The Sea Wall.[citation needed]

Other major works include Moderato Cantabile (1958), which was the basis of the 1960 film Seven Days... Seven Nights; Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein (1964); and her play India Song, which Duras herself later directed as a film in 1975. She was also the screenwriter of the 1959 French film Hiroshima mon amour, which was directed by Alain Resnais.[5] Duras's early novels were fairly conventional in form, and were criticized for their "romanticism" by fellow writer Raymond Queneau; however, with Moderato Cantabile, she became more experimental, paring down her texts to give ever-increasing importance to what was not said. She was associated with the nouveau roman French literary movement, although she did not belong definitively to any one group. She was noted for her command of dialogue.[6]

In 1971, Duras signed the Manifesto of the 343, which publicly announced she had an abortion.[7]

Many of her works, such as Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein and L'Homme assis dans le couloir (1980), deal with human sexuality.[8]

Towards the end of her life, Duras published a short, 54-page autobiographical book as a goodbye to her readers and family. The very last entry was written on August 1, 1995 and read ""I think it is all over. That my life is finished. I am no longer anything. I have become an appalling sight. I am falling apart. Come quickly. I no longer have a mouth, no longer a face".[9] Duras died at her home in Paris on March 3, 1996, aged 81.[10]

Personal Life [ edit ]

While married to Robert Antelme, Duras acted on her belief that fidelity was absurd. She created a menage a trois when she started an affair with Dionys Mascolo, who fathered one of her sons.[11]

During the final two decades of Duras’ life, she experienced various health issues. Starting in 1980 she was hospitalized for the first time from a combination of alcohol and tranquilizers.[12] She was also undergoing various detoxification procedures to help her recover from her alcohol addiction. After being hospitalized in October of 1988 she fell into a coma that lasted until June of 1989.[13]

Paralleling her health issues in the 1980s, Duras began having a relationship with a homosexual actor named Yann Andréa.[14] Yann Andréa would help Duras through her various health issues. Duras would later detail these interactions and companionship in her final book Yann Andréas Steiner.[15]

Sadly Duras’ health would continue to decline into the 1990s. Resulting in her death on March 3rd 1996.[16] Duras' would leave behind a vast legacy of novels and films.

Bibliography [ edit ]

Filmography [ edit ]

Director [ edit ]

Actor [ edit ]

  • India Song (1975) - (voice)
  • The Lorry (1977) - Elle
  • Baxter, Vera Baxter (1977) - Narrator (voice, uncredited)
  • Le navire Night (1979) - (voice)
  • Aurélia Steiner (Vancouver) (1979) - Narrator (voice)
  • Agatha et les lectures illimitées (1981) - (voice)
  • Les enfants (1985) - Narration (voice, uncredited) (final film role)

Further reading [ edit ]

  • Montalbán, Manuel Vázquez; Glasauer, Willi (1988). Scenes from World Literature and Portraits of Greatest Authors. Barcelona: Círculo de Lectores..
  • Glassman, Deborah N. (1991). Marguerite Duras: Fascinating Vision and Narrative Cure. Rutherford, New Jersey; London: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; Associated University Presses. ISBN 0838633374.ISBN 9780838633373.[19]
  • Hill, Leslie (10 July 1993). Marguerite Duras: Apocalyptic Desires. London, New York City: Routledge. ISBN 0415050480.ISBN 978-0415050487.[20]
  • Schuster, Marilyn R. (1993). Marguerite Duras Revisited. New York City: Twayne. ISBN 0805782982.ISBN 9780805782981.
  • Vircondelet, Alain (1994). Duras: A Biography. Normal, Illinois: Dalkey Archive Press. ISBN 1564780651.ISBN 9781564780652.
  • Adler, Laure. (1998), Marguerite Duras: A Life, Trans. Anne-Marie Glasheen, London: Orion Books.
  • Crowley, Martin (2000). Duras, Writing, and the Ethical. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198160135.ISBN 9780198160137.
  • Harvey, Robert; Alazet, Bernard; Volat, Hélène (2009). Les Écrits de Marguerite Duras: Bibliographie des oeuvres et de la critique, 1940–2006. Paris: IMEC. p. 530.
  • Selous, Trista (1988), The Other Woman: Feminism and Feminity in the Work of Marguerite Duras, New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300042870.

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ "Bnf: Notice de personne: Duras, Marguerite ((1914-1996)" (in French). Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Riding, Alan. "Marguerite Duras, 81, Author Who Explored Love and Sex". New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Transport parti de Compiègne le 17 août 1944 (I.265.)" (in French). Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Le Palmarès". Académie Goncourt.
  5. ^ "The Criterion Collection – Hiroshima Mon Amour". The Criterion Collection.
  6. ^ "Marguerite Duras". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  7. ^ "manifeste des 343". 23 April 2001. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  8. ^ Alex Hughes, "Erotic Writing" in Hughes and Keith Reader, Encyclopedia of contemporary French culture, (pp. 187–88). London, Routledge, 1998, ISBN 0415131863
  9. ^ Riding, Alan (4 March 1996). "Marguerite Duras, 81, Author Who Explored Love and Sex". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  10. ^ Coward, David (4 March 1996). "Passion into Prose: Obituary: Marguerite Duras". The Guardian. p. 12.
  11. ^ Vircondelet, Alain (15 March 1996). "OVERSTEPPING BOUNDARIES: A LIFE OF MARGUERITE DURAS". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  12. ^ Vircondelet, Alain (15 March 1996). "OVERSTEPPING BOUNDARIES: A LIFE OF MARGUERITE DURAS". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Duras, Marguerite (1914–1996)". Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  14. ^ Vircondelet, Alain (15 March 1996). "OVERSTEPPING BOUNDARIES: A LIFE OF MARGUERITE DURAS". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  15. ^ "Duras, Marguerite (1914–1996)". Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Duras, Marguerite (1914–1996)". Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  17. ^ No More at Seven Stories Press.
  18. ^ AlloCine, Le Camion, retrieved 17 June 2019
  19. ^ Marguerite Duras: Fascinating Vision and Narrative Cure at Google Books.
  20. ^ "Marguerite Duras: Apocalyptic Desires" at Google Books.

External links [ edit ]

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