Marguerite Duras

It’s no secret that Marguerite Duras is one of my favorite contemporary authors. As with Alain Robbe-Grillet, Duras was influential in bringing a new vitality to the novel form. Look at her bibliography (from Wikipedia):

I recommend starting with one of her seminal works, Moderato Cantabile. It’s short and deserves several readings to even begin to understand the detail and complexity of Duras’ fiction. Then, if I were to select a single novel which represents Duras, I probably should select one of the excellent “Lover” texts (L’Amour, L’Amant, L’Amant de la Chine du Nord, etc.) but I consider Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein to be her best work. Read it, in French or in English translation.

4 thoughts on “Marguerite Duras

    1. She was a part of the movement called the Nouveau Roman. A good followup is Alain Robbe-Grillet’s essay, Pour un Nouveau Roman (1963).

      Duras’ early work was very much influenced by the more romantic authors and the existentialists. Probably starting with Moderato Cantabile, she begins to find her own voice and became herself an influence on the Nouveau Roman.

      The best way to understand this is to read her works. And add to them the works of Nathalie Saurraute, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Julio Cortázar, Georges Perec, etc. Reading primary texts is always the best way to understanding .. don’t just accept what someone else has said .. don’t let them do your thinking for you.


      1. Thanks, I just want some introductory thoughts. Maybe some day I read her books.

        I have read some of Cortazar short stories. El perseguidor (The pursuer) and Cartas de mamá (Lether from mother) are great.

        Thank you for the post. Thanks to you I´m getting to know a lot of writers. I am curious about Sjón.


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