Desire & plagiarism


On the art of Marguerite Duras.

It’s tricky to get a proper handle on Duras’s oeuvre as she worked in more than one medium and in the 1970s turned increasingly to film. According to David Coward, writing in the TLS (May 21, 1999), there are “sixty-three works of fiction, twenty films, twenty-five or so plays and theatrical adaptations”. By my reckoning she published twenty-odd novels, the other works of fiction being novellas and short récits. Added to which, writes Coward, there have been “thirty-three monographs since 1970” (and counting). Coward goes on to say “Duras has cornered the world PhD market in French studies”. She is the “voice of French Literature in our hero-hungry fin de siècle”. This was in 1999; it could be said that voice now belongs to Michel Houellebecq. Just as there is an adjective houellebecquien, people have talked of situations or moods being “durassien”.