Good Company

“As later published versions make clear, she was capable of returning again and again to this primal scene of childhood, redrawing it in an almost infinite variety of colours: sometimes erotic and romantic, sometimes brutal and grotesque. Retelling the same stories; going back repeatedly to the substance that she knew was destroying her: these repetitive acts, some generative and some profoundly destructive, made the critic Edmund White wonder if Duras was not in the grips of what Freud had called the repetition compulsion. “I’m acquainted with it, the desire to be killed. I know it exists,” she once told an interviewer, and it is this intensity, this absolute and uncompromising vision, that sets her work apart. At the same time, this statement seems to shine a light on how she used alcohol: as a way of giving in to her own masochism, her suicidal ideation, while simultaneously anaesthetising herself from the savagery she saw at work everywhere, filling the world.”

~Olivia Laing, on alcoholic female writers.  Seems Duras AND Edmund White were also moved by the compulsion to repeat.  Sometimes, you have to give Freud his due.

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