Duras, mother and Cambodia

Penny Edwards

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Marie Donnadieu with her family, 1906

“The only imaginative discourse today is the discourse of women.”

Marguerite Duras, 1993

In a 1993 interview, Marguerite Duras described misogyny as a “good … positive” force that allowed women to “remain on the margins, to not take part in the game of the male, a game of power.” Elsewhere, she spoke out against the discrimination she faced in the French literary establishment. A glance at reviews in the 1960s French press indicates that she was more often compared with women writers, such as Colette (whose work was seen as more “pure”) and Nathalie Sarraute (with whom Duras was bracketed in “the feminine camp of the new school”) than with Camus, Gide or Malraux. When male writers were invoked, the gist was negative: Duras’s world was the “antipodes of Proust”.

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