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Abstract

"This essay explores the connection between the concepts of photography and memory in L’Amant (The Lover) by Marguerite Duras. In the novel, Duras writes about memories of her youth in French Indochina as a series of pivotal moments in her coming of age. In this semi-autobiographical work, Duras often juxtaposes the photographic image and the act of photography with descriptions of her process of remembering and the scenes from her childhood that reveal themselves most clearly. The young protagonist’s mother has photographs of her children taken in an attempt to construct memories of the family. For Duras, however, the most honest memories these photographs document are not of the people pictured but of her mother’s perseverance in having them taken. Thus, it is the motivation behind the photographs that produces the most revealing image of her past. By allowing her memories to reveal themselves to her as she reflects, Duras rediscovers the brilliantly vivid vignettes of her love affair: the perfect photographs of her youth that were never taken. As Duras describes these intimate images, she reveals both an honest and surreal, poignant and terrifying recollection of her youth."

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