A Happy Ending but an Unhappy Fate: Marguerite Duras’ La Vie tranquille
- First Online:
This article begins by analysing the various critical reactions to Duras’ (La Vie tranquille, Gallimard, Paris, 1944) second novel, La Vie tranquille and seeks to find a reason for its lack of critical success. Through looking at Duras’ personal situation at the time of this novel’s conception, it finds that the deaths of both her brother and her first child influence not only the representation of grief in the novel, but also its various attempts to envisage optimism, both through the voice of its narrator and through its use of myth and metaphor. In the light of Miller’s (PMLA 96(1):36–48, 1981) interpretation of Genette’s (Figures II, Seuil, Paris, 1969) theory of ‘vraisemblance’, it finds that the common criticism of the novel on the grounds of its plausibility actually highlights why this is a highly significant novel in terms of feminist writing and in the assessment of Duras’ career.