“Something impossible– else I shall suffocate.”

Last night I planned to go to sleep early, but I ended up staying up until 4 reading Duras’s L’Amante Anglaise.

It was fine. Not the best Duras but interestingly done, one of her novels that could just as easily have been a play. I like how she is not quite comfortable with the smoothness of genre. My favorite Duras also happens to be the book she considered her best, The Vice-Consul.

Today I woke up, did not go to work, instead went to Spot Coffee and wrote in my diary, in which I have not written in two weeks. It is Saturday, and in the summer in Charlottesville there is the fantastic Saturday farmer’s market. I missed that. I missed Charlottesville. Sometimes I also miss the lover I had in Charlottesville, John. Of course I miss my friends, Michael’s (bar), the summer market, the wineries, the cicadas. But this morning I was thinking about the market and John.

The weather was more beautiful today than it could ever be in Virginia, as it is too hot there in the summer. I picked wildflowers along the curb as I walked back from Spot. I picked three kinds of flowers. I thought about the Swedish folk trick of putting seven kinds of flowers under your pillow on the Solstice and dreaming of your future husband. I did that three times, three different years. I always dreamed of the same person. He is not someone I would marry.

Whenever I read Duras I think about what an idiot Lacan was. Duras scholarship is generally owned by Lacanians. But her work could just as easily fit with Derrida or Deleuze. At least they, unlike Lacan, did not try to co-opt her. It is Duras and not Lacan or Derrida or Deleuze. L’Amante Anglaise is kind of like that too. It’s the story of a woman who murders her cousin. The story is told in a series of interviews. The interviewer is a man. The first two interviews are with men. The final interview is with the murderer. One sees that none of the men, not even the interviewer, has got her right.


About Jessica Smith

This entry was posted in Charlottesville, Duras, Literature, love. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Something impossible– else I shall suffocate.”

  1. holly says:

    “Whenever I read Duras I think about what an idiot Lacan was.”

    to follow your own logic (commented on TULOB post: “You can’t just say “they aren’t.” That’s not an argument. “), care to elaborate on Lacan? I hardly think he qualifies as an “idiot”.

    American Heritage Dictionary – Cite This Source – Share This
    id·i·ot Audio Help (ĭd’ē-ət) Pronunciation Key

    1. A foolish or stupid person.
    2. A person of profound mental retardation having a mental age below three years and generally being unable to learn connected speech or guard against common dangers. The term belongs to a classification system no longer in use and is now considered offensive.

  2. I think that Lacan’s analysis of why women cannot attain the same linguistic aptitude as men is, in fact, “idiotic” (def. 1). Lacan would be using essentially the second definition you’ve provided to characterize womens’ writing (and their access to language/higher thought in general). He used Duras as an example of how this was the case and his analysis of women’s thought/writing grew into the essentialist doctrine of “ecriture feminine.” You are welcome to read my thesis on the subject which is available here.

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