|Birth Day:||April 4, 1914|
|Death Date:||3 March 1996(1996-03-03) (aged 81)
|Birth Place:||Gia Dinh, French Cochinchina [now Vietnam], Not Known|
As per our current Database, Marguerite Duras died on 3 March 1996(1996-03-03) (aged 81)
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Duras was born Marguerite Donnadieu on 4 April 1914, in Gia Định, Cochinchina, French Indochina (now Vietnam). Her parents, Marie (née Legrand, 1877-1956) and Henri Donnadieu (1872-1921), were teachers from France who likely had met at Gia Định High School. They had both had previous marriages. Marguerite had two older brothers: Pierre, the elder, and Paul.
Duras's father fell ill and he returned to France, where he died in 1921. Between 1922 and 1924, the family lived in France while her mother was on administrative leave. They then moved back to French Indochina when she was posted to Phnom Penh followed by Vĩnh Long and Sa Đéc. The family struggled financially and her mother made a bad investment in an isolated property and area of rice farmland in Prey Nob, a story which was fictionalized in Un Barrage contre le Pacifique.
In 1931, when she was 17, Duras and her family moved to France and she completed her baccalaureate. Duras returned to Saigon again with Paul and her mother in 1932 and completed her second baccalaureate, leaving Pierre in France. In 1933, Duras embarked alone for Paris to study law and mathematics. She soon abandoned this to concentrate on political science. After completing her studies in 1938, she worked for the French government in the Ministry of the Colonies. In 1939, she married the writer Robert Antelme, whom she had met during her studies.
In 1943, when publishing her first novel, she began to use the surname Duras, after the town that her father came from, Duras.
During World War II, from 1942 to 1944, Duras worked for the Vichy government in an office that allocated paper quotas to publishers and in the process operated a de facto book-censorship system. She also became an active member of the PCF (the French Communist Party) and a member of the French Resistance as a part of a small group that also included François Mitterrand, who later became President of France and remained a lifelong friend of Duras. Her husband, Antelme, was deported to Buchenwald in 1944 for his involvement in the Resistance, and barely survived the experience (weighing on his release, according to Duras, just 38 kg, or 84 pounds). She nursed him back to health, but they divorced once he recovered.
In 1950, her mother returned to France, wealthy from property investments and from the boarding school she had run.
In 1971, Duras signed the Manifesto of the 343, which publicly announced she had an abortion.
Other major works include Moderato Cantabile (1958), which was the basis of the 1960 film Seven Days... Seven Nights; Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein (1964); and her play India Song, which Duras herself later directed as a film in 1975. She was also the screenwriter of the 1959 French film Hiroshima mon amour, which was directed by Alain Resnais. Duras's early novels were fairly conventional in form, and were criticized for their "romanticism" by fellow writer Raymond Queneau; however, with Moderato Cantabile, she became more experimental, paring down her texts to give ever-increasing importance to what was not said. She was associated with the nouveau roman French literary movement, although she did not belong definitively to any one group. She was noted for her command of dialogue.
During the final two decades of Duras’ life, she experienced various health issues. Starting in 1980 she was hospitalized for the first time from a combination of alcohol and tranquilizers. She was also undergoing various detoxification procedures to help her recover from her alcohol addiction. After being hospitalized in October 1988 she fell into a coma that lasted until June 1989.
Duras was the author of many novels, plays, films, interviews, essays, and works of short fiction, including her best-selling, highly fictionalized autobiographical work L'Amant (1984), translated into English as The Lover, which describes her youthful affair with a Chinese-Vietnamese man. It won the Prix Goncourt in 1984. The story of her adolescence also appears in three other books: The Sea Wall, Eden Cinema and The North China Lover. A film version of The Lover, produced by Claude Berri and directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, was released to great success in 1992. Duras's novel The Sea Wall was first adapted into the 1958 film This Angry Age by René Clément, and again in 2008 by Cambodian director Rithy Panh as The Sea Wall.
Towards the end of her life, Duras published a short, 54-page autobiographical book as a goodbye to her readers and family. The last entry was written on August 1, 1995 and read "I think it is all over. That my life is finished. I am no longer anything. I have become an appalling sight. I am falling apart. Come quickly. I no longer have a mouth, no longer a face". Duras died at her home in Paris on March 3, 1996, aged 81.
Duras’ health would continue to decline into the 1990s, resulting in her death on March 3, 1996.
Currently, Marguerite Duras is 108 years, 4 months and 11 days old. Marguerite Duras will celebrate 109th birthday on a Tuesday 4th of April 2023.
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