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Books | Reading in French: the Works of Marguerite Duras

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Books | Reading in French: the Works of Marguerite Duras
@alinakolot
Books | Reading in French: the Works of Marguerite Duras
@dana_chels

When I first came to France, I read books for school: Molière, Pierre de Ronsard, Eluard, Lamartine―it was ‘enrichissant for my culture’. I hardly remember all those readings, honte à moi.

When I got some free time for myself I started picking books from the libraries of the homes where I was babysitting. One day I started one by Marguerite Duras’s books. I hope you have the chance to find the kind of book that bewitches you in the most beautiful way so you can’t leave it until you've finish it. I remember I was reading while walking, while eating, while waiting for the train. Duras’s books had that effect on me. And I remember well everything that happened in the story. And from one of her books, I moved on to another and another. The simplicity but consistency of her writings is unique.

There’s confidence in her writing, there is quality and power in her tone, there is drama.



Books | Reading in French: the Works of Marguerite Duras
Right: Marguerite Duras, Paris 1933 / Janine Niepce; both via Pinterest

A lot of things happened to Marguerite Duras.

“She lost a child while giving birth, and in that experience lost God and gained unwanted knowledge of death.

Her first husband, Robert Antelme, was deported to Dachau and came back, but weighing eighty pounds.

Duras worked for the Occupation, and later joined the Resistance, then the Communist Party. Was expelled from the Communist Party but remained a Marxist.

Did television interviews with both President François Mitterrand and the filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard.

Aspects of her life are legends, like the destitute poverty of her childhood, in Indochina.”

―from The New Yorker

Books | Reading in French: the Works of Marguerite Duras
Marguerite Duras, New Yorker, Photograph by Lipnitzki, Roger Viollet / Marguerite Duras & Jean Luc Godard / Marguerite Duras, Cannes Film Festival

No matter what title you choose from her biography, no matter what order, you’ll understand the French language as you never have before. You’ll understand her transitioning from the first to third person, you’ll understand pain, but you’ll understand desire and love.

A few of her book titles:

Hiroshima Mon Amour (1960)

Un Barrage contre le Pacifique / The Sea Wall (1950)

Moderato Cantabile (1958)

The Lover / L’Amant (1984)

La Pluie d’Été / Summer Rain (1990)

Books | Reading in French: the Works of Marguerite Duras
Books | Reading in French: the Works of Marguerite Duras
Books | Reading in French: the Works of Marguerite Duras
Books | Reading in French: the Works of Marguerite Duras
Books | Reading in French: the Works of Marguerite Duras



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Daniela Chelariu, Travel Editor, Paris
Travel Editor, Paris

Dana is a fragile dreamer, they say, arriving in Paris four years ago, for love, and the city has been constantly changing her life since then. Hers is a world of books, (Marguerite Duras, Simone de Beauvoir, Anne Berest), expos, long walks sur les quais de Seine, pink skies, fine wine and peonies.
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