Wartime Writings by Marguerite Duras
1943-1949

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Synopsis

Published for the first time in english, the World War II notebooks of one of the twentieth century's most renowned literary figures.

For decades it has been known that Marguerite Duras had kept four notebooks in a blue closet in her country home in France. But until now no one understood the importance of the material that she had written in the period between 1943 and 1949. Here are the first drafts of her most famous works, the true stories behind The Lover, The War, and several other classics. This book is truly the seventh veil to be lifted by Duras in her multivolume autobiography. Each volume has come closer to the raw truth; here at last are the secrets that have remained hidden for all this time.

In these remarkable writings we discover the difficult, poignant circumstances of Duras's upbringing in colonial Vietnam, where her desperate mother was eager to sell her to the man who became known as "the lover." Here too is her repulsion at her first kiss and her unhappiness at this forced liaison. Once she emigrates to France, we follow her life through the war into the Liberation and the horrific events that she observed in the presence of the resistance members, who interrogated and tortured former collaborators. She also tells of the horrendous effect of finding her husband, returning nearly dead from the Nazi concentration camps. Throughout, Duras paints an unflinching picture of this troubled period.

Everyone who has been interested in Duras's life and work will find this an utterly absorbing volume. These first writings are the closest we will get to the truth of Duras's inner life and thoughts at a critical point in her career.
 

About Marguerite Duras

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Marguerite Duras was born in Gia-Dinh, Indochina on April 4, 1914. After attending school in Saigon, she moved to Paris, France to study law and political science. After graduation, she worked as a secretary in the French Ministry of the Colonies until 1941. During World War II, she joined the Resistance and published her first books. After the liberation, she became a member of the French Communist Party, and though she later resigned, she always described herself as a Marxist. Her first book, Les Impudents, was published in 1943. During her lifetime, she wrote more than 70 novels, plays, screenplays and adaptations. Her novels include The Sea Wall, The Lover, The Lover from Northern China, The War, and That's All. In 1959, she wrote her first film scenario, Hiroshima, Mon Amour, and has since been involved in a number of other films, including India Song, Baxter, Vera Baxter, Le Camion (The Truck), and The Lover. She died on March 4, 1996 at the age of 81. Linda Coverdale is the awarding-winning translator of many French works and has been honored with the title of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for her contribution to French literature.
 
Published March 30, 2008 by New Press, The. 296 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Wartime Writings

Publishers Weekly

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This engrossing volume of newly published material from French novelist and memoirist Duras's wartime notebooks contains writing as roiled and violent as the years that produced it.

| Read Full Review of Wartime Writings: 1943-1949

San Francisco Chronicle

As an adolescent in French colonial Indochina, Marguerite Duras typically wore a brownish-pink man's fedora, black patent leather pumps and an oversize blue dress with a bright pink bird on the fabric.

Mar 30 2008 | Read Full Review of Wartime Writings: 1943-1949

Bookmarks Magazine

Throughout, Duras paints an unflinching picture of this troubled period.

Everyone who has been interested in Duras's life and work will find this an utterly absorbing volume.

Apr 10 2008 | Read Full Review of Wartime Writings: 1943-1949

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