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Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 128
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Writing, one of Marguerite Duras's last works, is a meditation on the process of writing and on her need for solitude in order to do it. In the five short pieces collected in this volume, she explores experiences that had an emotional impact on her and that inspired her to write. These vary from the death of a pilot in World War II, to the death of a fly, to an art exhibition. Two of the pieces were made into documentary films, and one was originally a short film. Both autobiographical and fictional, like much of her work,Writingdisplays Duras's unique worldview and sensitive insight in her simple and poetic prose.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7889-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Writing
    (pp. 1-46)

    It is in a house that one is alone. Not outside it, but inside. Outside, in the garden, there are birds and cats. And also, once, a squirrel, and a ferret. One isn’t alone in a garden. But inside the house, one is so alone that one can lose one’s bearings. Only now do I realize I’ve been here for ten years. Alone. To write books that have let me know, and others know, that I was the writer I am. How did that happen? And how can one express it? What Icansay is that the kind of...

  2. The Death of the Young British Pilot
    (pp. 47-76)

    The beginning, the opening of a story.

    It’s a story I’m going to tell for the first time. The story of this book.

    I believe it’s a direction that writing takes. That’s it—this writing addressed to you, for instance, about whom I know nothing yet.

    To you, reader:

    It takes place in a village very near Deauville, a few miles from the sea. The village is called Vauville. In thedépartementof Calvados. Vauville.

    It’s there. It’s the name on the road sign.

    When I went there for the first time, it was on the advice of friends, shopkeepers...

  3. Roma
    (pp. 77-100)



    A hotel lobby.


    The Piazza Navona.

    The lobby is empty except for the terrace, a woman sitting in an armchair.

    Waiters carry trays; they’re going to serve the guests on the terrace. They return, disappear toward the far end of the lobby. Return.

    The woman has fallen asleep.

    A man arrives. He’s also a guest at the hotel. He stops. He looks at the sleeping woman.

    He sits down, stops looking at her.

    The woman awakes.

    The man speaks to her, timidly:

    “Am I disturbing you?”

    The woman gives him a slight smile; she doesn’t answer.


  4. The Pure Number
    (pp. 101-106)

    For a long time the word “pure” was co-opted by the cooking oils trade. For a long time olive oil was guaranteed pure, but never other oils, like peanut or walnut.

    This word functions only when alone. In itself, by its very nature, it qualifies nothing and no one. I mean that it cannot be adapted, that it is defined in total clarity only from the moment of its use.

    This word is neither a concept, nor a fault, nor a vice, nor a quality. It is a word of solitude. It is a word alone, yes, that’s right, a...

  5. The Painting Exhibition
    (pp. 107-114)

    The space is large. At the top of a wall, windows. The sky is calm and blue. Only one thick cloud leaves the blue. Very slowly, it moves beyond the windows, the blueness.

    There are no books. There are no words printed on a newspaper. There is no vocabulary in a dictionary. Everything is perfectly in order.

    In the middle of the space is a low table, beneath which is another, lower table. The two tables are covered with empty tubes of paint, bent, often cut in the middle, often cut and spread open, scraped clean with knife blades.