Duras, Marguerite


Duras, Marguerite
orig. Marguerite Donnadieu

born April 4, 1914, Gia Dinh, Cochinchina
died March 3, 1996, Paris, France

French novelist, playwright, film director, and screenwriter.

Indochina was the setting for Duras's first successful novel, The Sea Wall (1950). Her writing grew increasingly minimal and abstract, and she is sometimes associated with the nouveau roman ("new novel") movement. Perhaps her best-known novel is the semiautobiographical The Lover (1984, Prix Goncourt; film, 1992), about a French teenage girl's love affair with an older Chinese man; she revised this work as The North China Lover (1991). Her original screenplay for Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and her adaptation for film of her play India Song (1975) were highly acclaimed.

* * *

▪ 1997

      (MARGUERITE DONNADIEU), French writer (b. April 4, 1914, Gia Dinh, near Saigon, French Indochina [now Vietnam]—d. March 3, 1996, Paris, Fr.), was one of the leading figures of the French postwar literary scene; her chief themes were obsession and impossible love. She was best known as the author of the screenplay for Alain Resnais's classic film Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and for her novel L'Amant (1984; The Lover, 1984), which won the Prix Goncourt and was made into a popular motion picture in 1992. Duras also directed a number of films, notably India Song (1975). Reared in Indochina, Duras moved to Paris as a teenager to study at the Sorbonne. Although she published her first novel in 1943, she first tasted success with the semiautobiographical Un Barrage contre le Pacifique (1950; The Sea Wall, 1967), which portrayed a woman's attempt to keep the sea from swallowing her land. This she followed with two intricate and lyrical works, Le Marin de Gibraltar (1952; The Sailor from Gibraltar, 1967) and Moderato cantabile (1958; Eng. trans. 1960), both of which revealed her ear for dialogue. After working with Resnais, she wrote several more screenplays, some of them adaptations of her own work. Her novels grew increasingly spare and abstract, characteristics that caused some to associate her with the nouveau roman ("new novel") movement. Duras restored her literary reputation with the publication of L'Amant, reaching a new generation of readers with her evocative story of an adolescent French girl in Indochina and her forbidden affair with a wealthy young Chinese man. In 1990 Duras's last, brief novel, La Pluie d'été (Summer Rain, 1992), was published.

* * *

▪ French author
pseudonym of  Marguerite Donnadieu  
born April 4, 1914, Gia Dinh, Cochinchina [Vietnam]
died March 3, 1996, Paris, France

      French novelist, screenwriter, scenarist, playwright, and film director, internationally known for her screenplays of Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and India Song (1975). The novel L'Amant (1984; The Lover; film, 1992) won the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 1984.

 Duras spent most of her childhood in Indochina, but at the age of 17 she moved to France to study at the University of Paris, Sorbonne, from which she received licences in law and politics. She favoured leftist causes and for 10 years was a member of the Communist Party. She began writing in 1942. Un Barrage contre le Pacifique (1950; The Sea Wall), her third published novel and first success, dealt semiautobiographically with a poor French family in Indochina. Her next successes, Le Marin de Gibraltar (1952; The Sailor from Gibraltar) and Moderato cantabile (1958), were more lyrical and complex and more given to dialogue.

      This splendid instinct for dialogue led Duras to produce the original screenplay for Alain Resnais's critically acclaimed film Hiroshima mon amour, about a brief love affair in postwar Hiroshima between a Japanese businessman and a French actress. She directed as well as wrote the 1975 film adaptation of her play India Song, which offers a static, moody portrayal of the wife of the French ambassador in Calcutta and her several lovers. Some of her screenplays were adaptations of her own novels and short stories.

      Duras turned regularly to a more abstract and synthetic mode, with fewer characters, less plot and narrative, and fewer of the other elements of traditional fiction; her name was even associated with the nouveau roman (“new novel”) movement, though she denied such a connection. The semiautobiographical story of L'Amant, about a French teenage girl's love affair with a Chinese man 12 years her senior, was revised in the novel L'Amant de la Chine du Nord (1991; The North China Lover). Among her other novels were L'Après-midi de Monsieur Andesmas (1962; The Afternoon of Monsieur Andesmas), Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein (1964; The Ravishing of Lol Stein), Détruire, dit-elle (1969; Destroy, She Said), L'Amour (1971; “Love”), L'Été 80 (1980; “Summer 80”), and La Pluie d'été (1990; Summer Rain). Collections of her plays were included in Théâtre I (1965), Théâtre II (1968), and Théâtre III (1984).

Additional Reading
Marilyn R. Schuster, Marguerite Duras Revisited (1993); Alain Vircondelet, Duras: A Biography (1994); Deborah N. Glassman, Marguerite Duras: Fascinating Vision and Narrative Cure (1991); Leslie Hill, Marguerite Duras: Apocalyptic Desires (1993).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Duras, Marguerite — (Marguerite Donnadieu / April 4, 1914, Gia Dinh, French Cochin China [now Vietnam] March 3, 1996, Paris, France)    Born to French parents, both schoolteachers, she spent her childhood and adolescence in French Cochin China and Cambodia (with two …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

  • Duras, Marguerite — (1914 1996)    Director and screenwriter. Marguerite Duras was born Marguerite Donnadieu in Gia Dinh, Vietnam, during the period of French colonization of what was then Indochina. Her parents were teachers. Her father fell ill and returned to… …   Guide to cinema

  • Duras, Marguerite — (1914 1996)    Director and screenwriter. Marguerite Duras was born Marguerite Donnadieu in Gia Dinh, Vietnam, during the period of French colonization of what was then Indochina. Her parents were teachers. Her father fell ill and returned to… …   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema

  • Duras, Marguerite — (1914 1996)    novelist, playwright, screenwriter, film writer Born Marguerite Dennadieu in French Indochina, Marguerite Duras as she is known, was left in poverty by the death of her father when she was four, leaving her mother struggling to… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Duras, Marguerite — orig. Marguerite Donnadieu (4 abr. 1914, Gia Dinh, Cochinchina–3 mar. 1996, París, Francia). Novelista, dramaturga, directora de cine y guionista francesa. Indochina fue el escenario de la primera novela exitosa de Duras, Un dique contra el… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Duras, Marguerite — • ДЮРА , Дюрас (Duras) Маргерит (р. 4.4.1914)    франц. писательница, сценарист, режиссёр. Училась в Парижском ун те. Как романист дебютировала в 1943. Нек рые из её романов экранизированы реж.: Р. Клеманом Плотина на Тихом океане (1957); П.… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Marguerite Duras — Born 4 April 1914(1914 04 04) Saigon, Vietnam Died 3 March 1996(1996 03 03) Paris …   Wikipedia

  • Marguerite Duras — Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Duras (lot-et-garonne) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Duras. Duras Duras vue du château …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Duras — (Marguerite Donnadieu, dite Marguerite) (1914 1996) écrivain et cinéaste français. Romans: Un barrage contre le Pacifique (1950), Moderato cantabile (1958), l Amant (1983). Théâtre: les Viaducs de Seine et Oise (1960). Scénario: Hiroshima mon… …   Encyclopédie Universelle