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Under-the-Table-Talk

Christopher Tayler: Beckett’s Letters, 19 March 2015

Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1957-65 
by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 771 pp., £30, September 2014, 978 0 521 86795 5
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... lines went out on Paris National Radio on 12 January 1957 in a broadcast of Le Square, adapted by Marguerite Duras from her novel of the same name. A stage version of this ruminative two-hander – a discussion of unhappiness between a young housemaid-cum-nanny and a middle-aged travelling salesman, who get talking on a bench in a quiet Paris square ...

Time after Time

Stanley Cavell, 12 January 1995

... films it happens, were released: Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night, the Alain Resnais/Marguerite Duras Hiroshima, Mon Amour and Antonioni’s L’Avventura – each associated with a question about whether something new might happen (Samuel Beckett’s Godot and Endgame were still new), shadowed by the question whether love is an exhausted ...

Love Stories

Edmund White, 4 November 1993

To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life: A Novel 
by Hervé Guibert, translated by Linda Coverdale.
Quartet, 246 pp., £12.95, November 1991, 9780704370005
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The Man in the Red Hat 
by Hervé Guibert, translated by James Kirkup.
Quartet, 111 pp., £12.95, May 1993, 0 7043 7046 8
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The Compassion Protocol 
by Hervé Guibert, translated by James Kirkup.
Quartet, 202 pp., £13.95, October 1993, 9780704370593
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... the Rambouillet forest, where he’s discovered a factory that does nothing but pulp the novels of Marguerite Duras, ‘a writer of the Eighties’. As he explains: ‘This occupation doesn’t amuse my valet, he thinks it’s unhealthy, he says: “Why do you have it in for this poor woman?”’ Guibert’s last book, Le Paradis, was written during the ...

In the Potato Patch

Jenny Turner: Penelope Fitzgerald, 19 December 2013

Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 508 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 7011 8495 7
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... English, maybe, in the sense that Muriel Spark was Scottish and Isak Dinesen Danish, and that Marguerite Duras was French. Byatt does not make this point, but it’s worth noticing, surely, that this minor modern tradition often attracts women writers, maybe because its minority and smallness work well with limited resources, or because its irony ...

Watching Dragons Mate

Patricia Lockwood: Edna O’Brien’s ‘Girl’, 5 December 2019

Girl 
by Edna O’Brien.
Faber, 230 pp., £16.99, September 2019, 978 0 571 34116 0
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... by a swimming pool while she is wearing a pair of water-wings branded with the legend nivea cream. Marguerite Duras buys her suppositories; Shirley MacLaine reads her palm and declares that she has been ‘mother and prostitute, many times’. It does not, in life or literature, get better than this. (‘Edna won’t reveal which passage of her eventful ...

It isn’t your home

Toril Moi: Sarraute gets her due, 10 September 2020

Nathalie Sarraute: A Life Between 
by Ann Jefferson.
Princeton, 425 pp., £34, August 2020, 978 0 691 19787 6
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... a late modernist to include in a course on 20th-century French women writers would probably choose Marguerite Duras over Sarraute. Recently, Annabel Kim, in Unbecoming Language, suggested that Sarraute’s anti-identitarianism can be read as a kind of commitment to a radical equality, in ways that anticipate the feminisms of Monique Wittig and Anne ...

The Politics of Translation

Marina Warner: Translate this!, 11 October 2018

This Little Art 
by Kate Briggs.
Fitzcarraldo, 365 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 910695 45 6
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Translation as Transhumance 
by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz.
Les Fugitives, 150 pp., £10, November 2017, 978 0 9930093 3 4
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Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto 
by Mark Polizzotti.
MIT, 168 pp., £17.99, May 2018, 978 0 262 03799 0
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The 100 Best Novels in Translation 
by Boyd Tonkin.
Galileo, 304 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 903385 67 8
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The Work of Literary Translation 
by Clive Scott.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £75, June 2018, 978 1 108 42682 4
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... New York) as well as a long-serving translator who has rendered Raymond Roussel, Patrick Modiano, Marguerite Duras and many others. ‘A good translation,’ he writes, ‘offers not a reproduction of the work but an interpretation, a re-representation, just as the performance of a play or a sonata is a representation of the script or the score, one ...

Moi Aussi

Lili Owen Rowlands, 22 April 2021

... Consent’s place in a long tradition of autofictional writing on abuse and the age gap, of which Marguerite Duras’s The Lover and Christine Angot’s Incest are the most famous examples. In the narrative, Springora refers to Matzneff using the initial ‘G.’ – though it is unmistakably him – while she refers to herself sometimes as ...

At the Crime Scene

Adam Shatz: Robbe-Grillet’s Bad Thoughts, 31 July 2014

A Sentimental Novel 
by Alain Robbe-Grillet, translated by D.E. Brooke.
Dalkey Archive, 142 pp., £9.50, April 2014, 978 1 62897 006 7
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... to publication the novels of Michel Butor, Nathalie Sarraute, Claude Simon, Robert Pinget and Marguerite Duras, who were soon known as the ‘école de Minuit’. These writers drew on different models, but with their detached sensibility and rejection of 19th-century dramatic conventions, they had enough in common for Emile Henriot of Le Monde to ...

At the Currywurst Wagon

Lidija Haas: Deborah Levy, 2 January 2020

The Man Who Saw Everything 
by Deborah Levy.
Hamish Hamilton, 208 pp., £14.99, August 2019, 978 0 241 26802 5
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... is never free. Anyone who has struggled to be free knows how much it costs.’ On Marguerite Duras’s way of conveying the return of the repressed: ‘She had made a language in film that cut as close to human subjectivity as it is possible to get without dying of pain.’Levy is engaged in her own ...

The earth had need of me

Joanna Biggs: A nice girl like Simone, 16 April 2020

Becoming Beauvoir: A Life 
by Kate Kirkpatrick.
Bloomsbury, 476 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 1 350 04717 4
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Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir and Me, a Memoir 
by Deirdre Bair.
Atlantic, 347 pp., £18.99, February 2020, 978 1 78649 265 4
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Diary of a Philosophy Student, Vol. II: 1928-29 
by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Barbara Klaw.
Illinois, 374 pp., £40, June 2019, 978 0 252 04254 6
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... in that week’s Nouvel Observateur that, along with Catherine Deneuve, Delphine Seyrig and Marguerite Duras – as well as Olga, her own sister, and dozens of secretaries, office workers and housewives – she had had an abortion. She marched on the Assemblée Nationale with the MLF, let them hold meetings at her flat, read the SCUM manifesto, The ...

Bites from the Bearded Crocodile

G. Cabrera Infante, 4 June 1981

... writers and sponsors of the Revolution as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, ltalo Calvino, Marguerite Duras, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Juan Goytisolo, André Pierre de Mandiargues, Alain Jouffroy, Joyce Mansour, Alberto Moravia, Octavio Paz and some others who couldn’t even pronounce the name of Padilla correctly, much less read his poems. It ...

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