Marguerite Duras, formally Marguerite Donnadieu

Duras, formally Marguerite Donnadieu

French Writer, Film Director, Novelist, Communist and Social Commentator

Author Quotes

I know all one can know when one knows nothing.

Life is only lived full-time by women with children.

To love one child and to love all children, whether living or dead --somewhere these two loves come together. To love a no-good but humble punk and to love an honest man who believes himself to be an honest man --somewhere these, too, come together.

I know it's not clothes that make women beautiful or otherwise, nor beauty care, nor expensive creams, nor the distinction of costliness of their finery. I know the problem lies elsewhere. I don't know where. I only know it isn't where women think.

Men like women who write. Even though they don't say so. A writer is a foreign country.

Very early in my life it was too late.

I meet you. I remember you. Who are you? You?re destroying me. You?re good for me. How could I know this city was tailor-made for love? How could I know you fit my body like a glove? I like you. How unlikely. I like you. How slow all of a sudden. How sweet. You cannot know. You?re destroying me. You?re good for me. You?re destroying me. You?re good for me. I have time. Please, devour me. Deform me to the point of ugliness. Why not you? Why not you in this city and in this night, so like other cities and other nights you can hardly tell the difference? I beg of you.

No other human being, no woman, no poem or music, book or painting can replace alcohol in its power to give man the illusion of real creation.

We, her children, are heroic, desperate.

I see journalists as the manual workers, the laborers of the word. Journalism can only be literature when it is passionate.

One day, I was already old, a man came up to me in the street.

What she said was always strange. It had happened long ago. It seemed insignificant. And yet it was something you remembered forever. The words as well as the story. The voice as much as the words.

I want to take H‚lŠne Lagonelle with me to where every evening, my eyes shut, I have imparted to me the pleasure that makes you cry out. I?d like to give H‚lŠne Lagonelle to the man who does that to me, so he may do it in turn to her. I want it to happen in my presence, I want her to do it as I wish, I want her to give herself where I give myself. It?s via H‚lŠne Lagonelle?s body, through it, that the ultimate pleasure would pass from him to me.

Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we've ever met.

When a woman drinks it's as if an animal were drinking, or a child. Alcoholism is scandalous in a woman, and a female alcoholic is rare, a serious matter. It's a slur on the divine in our nature.

I want to write. I've already told my mother: That's what I want to do-write. No answer the first time. Then she asks, Write what? I say, Books, novels... She's against it, it's not worthy, it's not real work, it's nonsense. Later she said, A childish idea.

Paradoxically, the freedom of Paris is associated with a persistent belief that nothing ever changes. Paris, they say, is the city that changes least. After an absence of twenty or thirty years, one still recognizes it.

When it's in a book I don't think it'll hurt any more ... exist anymore. One of the things writing does is wipe things out. Replace them.

I'm still there, watching those possessed children, as far away from the mystery now as I was then. I've never written, though I thought I wrote, never loved, though I thought I loved, never done anything but wait outside the closed door.

She had lived her early years as though she were waiting for something she might, but never did, become.

When the past is recaptured by the imagination, breath is put back into life.

In a certain state of mind, all trace of feeling is banished. Whenever I remain silent in a certain way, I don't love you, have you noticed that?

She represents the un-vowed aspiration of the male human being, his potential infidelity -- and infidelity of a very special kind, which would lead him to the opposite of his wife, to the woman of wax whom he could model at will, make and unmake in any way he wished, even unto death.

Years after the war, after marriages, children, divorces, books, he came to Paris with his wife. He phoned her. It's me. She recognized him at once from the voice. He said, I just wanted to hear your voice. She said, it's me, hello. He was nervous, afraid, as before. His voice suddenly trembled. And with the trembling, suddenly, she heard again the voice of China. He knew she'd begun writing books, he'd heard about it through her mother whom he'd met again in Saigon. And about her younger brother, and he'd been grieved for her. Then he didn't know what to say. And then he told her. Told her that it was as before, that he still loved her, he could never stop loving her, that he'd love her until death.

It has been my face. It's got older still, or course, but less, comparatively, than it would otherwise have done. It's scored with deep, dry wrinkles, the skin is cracked. But my face hasn't collapsed, as some with fine feature have done. It's kept the same contours, but its substance has been laid waste. I have a face laid waste.

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Duras, formally Marguerite Donnadieu
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French Writer, Film Director, Novelist, Communist and Social Commentator