Writing / Edition 1

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Overview

Written in the splendid bareness of her late style, these pages are Marguerite Duras's theory of literature. Comparing a dying fly to the work of style; remembering the trance and incurable disarray of writing; recreating the last moments of a British pilot shot during World War II; or else letting out a magisterial 'So what?' to question six decades of story telling, all operate as an indispensable confession. The final literary testament of one of the greatest French writers of the twentieth century.
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Editorial Reviews

Emily-Greta Tabourin
Mark Polizotti's translation from the French captures the poetic simplicity of Duras's style -- a language delicate, yet rich in imagery. -- New York Times Book Review
Library Journal
Duras's final work, sensitively translated from the French by Polizzotti, is both a brief theory of literature and a personal memoir. Duras (1914-96), winner of the 1984 Prix Goncourt for her novel The Lover (LJ 6/1/85) and best known to Americans for her screenplay Hiroshima mon Amour, declares that solitude is essential to her process because writing means "keeping silent . . . screaming without sounds." Throughout, Duras vividly re-creates emotional experiences--including her reactions to the death of a 21-year-old English pilot, killed by the Germans in 1944--and displays her unique, detailed perception to reveal great reverence for human life and respect for memory. An enthralling book, particularly for writers and Duras's fans. Recommended for all libraries.--Robert T. Ivey, Univ. of Memphis
Kirkus Reviews
In this very slender volume, Duras shares with us the writer's preoccupations with the distance between life and writing, and the contradiction between writing and silence. Winner of the 1984 Prix Goncourt for her novel "The Lover", Duras died in 1996. She is without a doubt one of this century's great literary figures. But that haunting quality, the characteristically slow and deliberate language of her novels, translates less well when her subject is a kind of confessional of her life and work. The five short chapters that make up "Writing" circle around Duras's way into and out of the world. Her bare prose casts that same silence she considers fundamental to any writer: It is "the price one pays for having dared go out and scream." At this point, one chooses to either get lost in her fantasy or bow out, because much of Duras's prose begs the point with characteristic vagueness. Whether sitting alone considering the death of a fly, or trying to capture the entire life of a young pilot in the moment of his death, Duras is convinced that the "death of that fly has become this displacement of literature" and that writing it "renders it inaccessible." What remains is the nakedness of writing itself, and Duras hones this point into the ground. Strangely, the most poignant image of the creative act according to Duras comes in her final chapter, "The Painting Exhibition," where she describes the painter at work. "We leave him to his misfortune, to that infernal obligation that outstrips any commentary, any metaphor to his own story struggling in the continent of silence." Duras's theory of the written word would rob her life's work of the magic she has so masterfully created over alifetime. Rereading "The Lover" might be the only antidote to so much discomfort.
From the Publisher
"Writing displays Duras’s unique, detailed perception to reveal great reverence for human life and respect for memory. An enthralling book." —Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571290533
  • Publisher: Brookline Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 78
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in 1914 in French Indochina, Marguerite Duras is one of France’s most important literary figures. She wrote several dozen books but is best known in the United States for her novel The Lover, which won the 1984 Prix Goncourt, and for her screenplay, Hiroshima, Mon Amour. She died in 1996.

Mark Polizzotti is the author of six books and the translator of more than thirty, including works by Gustave Flaubert, Marguerite Duras, Jean Echenoz, and Maurice Roche.

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Table of Contents

Writing 1
The Death of the Young British Pilot 35
Roma 57
The Pure Number 77
The Painting Exhibition 83
About the Author 99
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