Department Chair

Ralph Wahlstrom, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of English

Date of Award


Access Control

Campus-Only Access

Degree Name

English, M.A.


English Department


Barish Ali, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English

Department Home page

First Reader

Barish Ali, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English

Second Reader

Aimable Twagilimana, Ph.D. Professor of English


In my thesis, I posit Marguerite Duras’s work within a French cultural and theoretical framework, given that her artistic production emerges from the dynamic cultural and socio-political forces at the epicenter of the twentieth century. Her novels, like their author, were caught in-between crucial sociohistorical intersections of war and post-war, modern and post-modern, empire and colony, civilization and inner savagery. Therefore, it is not only vital to identify the progress the author’s writing experienced within the span of these events, but also how the distinctive cultural ideologies and economies, along with its myriad of social ramifications and artistic reverberations influenced and, ultimately, altered Duras’s work over the course of her career. On its way to universal change, the world had lost its symmetry and even when geometry was no longer being symmetrically represented, Duras’s unaligned narratives were able to articulate the individualist chaos and the modern malaise of her geocultural sphere. She demonstrated that even at the center of a visionary maelstrom her fervent personal and artistic inclinations were novel ideas, as her literary contribution extended the psychology of earlier French female fiction, imbuing it with an intensity previously absent, and provided a renewed female perspective to colonial texts and their imperialist desires. Within these modern crosscurrents, where literature and culture coalesce, Duras through her innovative writing style established a singular language that turned inward and explored the aching (in)side of the individual.

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