Prof. dr., École Malu Mare;
In the following study we would like to highlight the qualities of the water of the territories described in Marguerite Duras’ works; they are rivers: the Mekong of Indochina (The Lover, The Lover of North China and A Dam Against the Pacific), the Ganges, the holy river of India (India Song, The Vice-consul and The Woman of the Ganges), the Arno, the Italian river that crosses the city of Florence (The Sailor of Gibraltar), the Kongo of Africa (The Sailor of Gibraltar) and the Loire, the French river that washes the city of Nevers (Write and Hiroshima My love). The soft but stagnant water makes us think of the “Little Lake” (The lover and The Lover of North China), the Tonle-Sap Lake (India Songand The Vice-consul), at the loch (Nathalie Granger and Write) and the “pond” (A Dam against the Pacific).
Flowing or tranquil, but sufficiently pure and sweet, this water is a positive liquid thanks to the food that it provides and to the bathing which attracts the characters. In a certain way, in most of Marguerite Duras’s works, the flowing water is the beggar’s guide, the native children’s playground, or the witness of love. The waters of the river draw the dreamer, soothe his suffering and remove him from the rest of the world. Alone, in the midst of wilderness, Joseph is thinking of a better future somewhere in a city. Near the river, Suzanne dreams of leaving “The Fields of the Birds” and “the Child” reflects on her trip to France. It is even on the banks of the Ganges that the vice-consul imagines his intolerable life without Anne-Marie Stretter’s love. Besides that, it is on the deck that Mr. Jô takes advantage of Suzanne’s distraction to touch her skin and consider the beauty of her neck.
The freshness, another quality of the terrestrial water, makes us think of the “Fountain of Youth Complex” of the sixth chapter of The Water and Dreams, which Bachelard titled as “Purity and Purification. The Morale of the Water”. The quality of freshness is the dominant quality of the aquatic element.
In this work we study the water of the earth as a favorable liquidity, the attraction of water and the solitude near the water: the memory and the future.
Once fallen on the ground, the rainwater leads to the increase of river water. The downward verticality, this time, brings us back into the aquatic horizon of the earth or the sea, to the world of the gentle dreaming state of the fluvial waters or rivers and to that of the terrifying and frightening marine depth.
Marguerite Duras, water, dreams, purification, rivers