Space of the Other: Sexual Politics and Post-colonialism in the Novels of Marguerite Duras
What is Duras? My thesis looks at Duras’ attempts to explore her own identity, and especially sexual identity, within a colonial framework. A published writer since the fifties, Duras continually explored the realm of the feminine by writing alternative and innovative styles of literature until her death in 1996. She is one of many voices in French New Feminist literary discourse growing in popularity in the past fifty years. In this movement, portrayals of the female have diverted to unconventional realms, from Françoise Sagan’s anti-sentimentalism, to Violette Le Duc’s lesbian erotica, and Anne Desclos’ sadomasochistic fiction. Raised in French-occupied Indochina, Duras offers a unique perspective as a hybrid that is neither fully part of one world nor the other. Her heritage and her experiences have cultivated a person that is part of the landscape, and her concept of Self is continually reformed and adhering to the Other. Her re-conceptualization of Asia into her own projected, subjective view of the continent (Durasie) allows for a new space in which to work outside the European gender binary. The questions of identity and of the female in relation to her Space permeate Duras’ works. She uses her personalized view of the Oriental environment and masculinity to strengthen her position as an independent female voice that is not qualified by a Western binary.