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Writing by Marguerite Duras

Writing (1993)

by Marguerite Duras

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These are film texts, not sure if they're direct transcriptions or not. There are five parts, and only the first is explicitly about the act of writing (this ranks with Annie Dillard's The Writing Life for some of the most poetic writing I've read on writing), though more broadly, all parts are about storytelling. Probably a must for Duras fans, and certainly worthwhile for anyone interested in the creative process. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
Écrire by Marguerite Duras consists of three film scripts and two short prose texts. Écrire is a short autobiographical film by Sylvie Blum and Claude Guisard. It is a documentary filmed in Duras' house in Neauphle-le-Château in which Marguerite Duras talks about writing.

In Écrire, Marguerite Duras speaks about the importance of her houses and the places where she has stayed for her writing. It is in a house that one is alone (p.1). She talks about the house, and the garden of her home in Neauphle-le-Château where she wrote some of her novels, as well as her house in Paris. She describes at length how she undertook an investigation about other people who had lived in her Paris home throughout the ages, and was surprised to find that among them there had never been anyone who wrote. The style of Écrire is contemplative, autobiographical memoires, and philosophical. It is probably not a good text for readers new to the author as it refers to several of her novels. The text does not give the reader many clues to Duras' writing, other than the prominence and importance of places, both as the setting for the work, the location where the work was written, and the way the house affects the author. It is obvious that at the time the film was made, Marguerite Duras was an author at the height of her career, aware that she could say or write anything and that all and anything would be recorded as if she were the oracle of Dephi. There is a long and sentimental passage about the death of a mouse: a passage which is clearly too long, and too sentimental. Seemingly, the author wants to point out how important her eye for detail, and small events, or petit drama is, but it verges on the ridiculous. On the other hand, some of Duras' novels are characterised by drawn out episodes. It is a pity that Écrire is not illustrated with photos of her homes.

The text is the script of a film with the title La mort du jeune aviateur anglais, a film by Benoît Jacquot. In the film Marguerite Duras tells the story of a young, 20-years old British pilot who died an agonizing death in a tree top after his plain was shot down over Vauville during the later days of World War II. It is remarkable and touching how the villagers bury and keep memorial services for the young soldier for many decades. The beauty of the piece is that in La mort du jeune aviateur anglais Marguerite Duras has touched on a small, personal story about World War II. Too often, the War is commemorated in large, official and impersonal narrative.

Third in this collection is a text called Roma, which is the script of a short film with the title La dialogue de Rome. This is a somewhat peculiar script, which reads more than anything like an off-stage recording of an irritated actress. While the text of Écrire consists of narrative monologue, and La mort du jeune aviateur anglais the telling of a story, Roma consists of dialogues. It can perhaps be read as a short, experimental play.

Added to the three scripts are two short prose compositions. Without a critical introduction it is hard to understand the significance or origin of these texts. The first, Le nombre pur seems to be about a project consisting of people recording all the names of people, places, etc which have occurred in their lives. These names together would then form a condense snap shot of their lives, or collectively of history. The last text, L'Exposition de la peinture is a descriptive piece of an exhibition of paintings.

Écrire consists of very varied types of text, autobiographical and experimental. Écrire is beautiful and interesting, but many other books, notable interviews such as Les lieux de Marguerite Duras (which is referred to in the text) exist which essentially cover the same material, with minor differences. ( )
1 vote edwinbcn | Sep 30, 2013 |
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Je dédie ce livre à la mémoire de W. J. Cliffe, mort à vingt ans, à Vauville, en mai 1944, à une heure restée indéterminée.
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Complete and unabridged recording of this classic Dahl tale, read by Lynn Redgrave. A book about 'real witches' - the ones that absolutely loathe children and are always plotting to get rid of them. Great new Quentin Blake cover and new author biography.… (more)

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