Wartime Writings: 1943-1949

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New Press, Mar 30, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 296 pages
7 Reviews
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.

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Review: Wartime Writings: 1943-1949

User Review  - Dale Pobega - Goodreads

There is one piece of writing in this collection worth reading - "Did Not Die Deported" - and what an impressive piece of writing it is. Duras' description of nursing her husband, Robert Antelme, back ... Read full review

Review: Wartime Writings: 1943-1949

User Review  - Margaret Heller - Goodreads

This is an edited and translated edition of 4 notebooks that Marguerite Duras wrote in during the war, or slightly afterwards. Some of it is studies for or drafts of novels published later, some of it ... Read full review


Waiting Madame Bordes and the impossibility of thinking 131
Poverty of the Donnadieu family the chettis 1

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About the author (2008)

Marguerite Duras may well be the most important French writer of our day. Born in Indochina, she went to Paris at the age of 17 and studied at the Sorbonne. During World War II, she joined the Resistance and published her first books. After the liberation, like many intellectuals, she became a member of the Communist party (from which she was expelled in 1955). Her fame in literature dates from The Sea Wall (1953) about white settlers in Vietnam and based loosely on her childhood. Seeking meaning and fulfillment, the characters in her novels are sacrificed to the ever-flowing tide of existence, and life is perhaps over before they are fully aware of what has been happening. Associated early on with the "new novelists," Duras's work has taken on a density and power that sets her apart by its obsessive exploration of the dual theme of love and death. 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.

Lyonel Trouillot is a poet, novelist, and essayist of the post-Duvalierist generation of Haitian writers. Linda Coverdale is a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the award-winning translator of over fifty books, including Trouillot's "Street of Lost Footsteps "(PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize finalist) and Patrick Chamoiseau's "School Days" and "Chronicle of the Seven Sorrows," all available in Bison Books editions.

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