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The Contexts of Marguerite Duras's Homophobia
Abstract

Abstract:

This article proposes a contextualization of Marguerite Duras's 1983 book, The Malady of Death, along with some of her other writings and statements from around that time. These writings register her long-term intimate relationship with a much younger gay man whom she called Yann Andréa, and also record a good deal of violently homophobic discourse. My contention is that there is something to be learned by taking the sexuality that Duras shared with Andréa to be a misfit one — one that we can to a certain degree recognize in practice but that we have no easy discourse or category to capture and/or to denote. Misfit sexualities, I argue, exist mostly in context, in interaction, in the relations between texts and the interactive processes that produce them. To attempt to contextualize a work such as The Malady of Death in this way is not to rely on or to take up any literary theory or practice of intertextuality. Rather it involves attempting to reconstruct something of the social world (mainly a part of "literary" Paris from the 1950s through the 1980s) in which such a work intervened, and attempting to understand the particular cultural concepts for understanding various ideologies and practices of sexuality it invoked, and in which it was implicated.



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