This essay analyses a group of fragments in Marguerite Duras's Cahiers de la guerre (2006) that never made their way into the works she published during her lifetime. These are deeply personal reflections that describe sensations the author felt while being awakened early in the morning by sounds emanating from the street below her bedroom window, such as footsteps, rain falling, and the scraping of a garbage can. It argues that Duras's lyrical description of the emotions these banal, everyday sounds evoked in her – "joie … amour … espoir"– make these experiences appear to be striking examples, avant la lettre, of what one of Duras's contemporaries, Marxist philosopher Henri Lefebvre, would later theorize as everyday "moments." For Lefebvre these were frustratingly ephemeral but vital moments in everyday life during which one feels intense emotions that somehow reveal, if only fleetingly, the possibility of a life free of the relentless alienation that plagues modern man, whose "free time" had become, Lefebvre argued, as constrained as his work time. The "Lefebvrian moments" in the Cahiers de la guerre, penned when Duras was a member of the Communist Party, were excised from the story the surrounding text would become after her break with it ("Madame Dodin"), doubtless because they smack at moments of the party discourse she now rejected. They reveal in their author, however, a hope in the possibility of transforming the world for the better that Duras never abandoned.


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pp. 423-437
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