Quotes from The Lover

Marguerite Duras ·  117 pages

Rating: (27.1K votes)


“Very early in my life it was too late.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“Suddenly, all at once, she knows, knows that he doesn't understand her, that he never will, that he lacks the power to understand such perverseness. And that he can never move fast enough to catch her.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“I've known you for years. Everyone says you were beautiful when you were young, but I want to tell you I think you're more beautiful now than then. Rather than your face as a young woman, I prefer your face as it is now. Ravaged.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“When it's in a book I don't think it'll hurt any more ...exist any more. One of the things writing does is wipe things out. Replace them.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“It’s not that you have to achieve anything, it’s that you have to get away from where you are.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover



“He says he’s lonely, horribly lonely because of this love he feels for her. She says she’s lonely too. She doesn’t say why.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“Years after the war, after marriages, children, divorces, books, he came to Paris with his wife. He phoned her. It's me. She recognized him at once from the voice. He said, I just wanted to hear your voice. She said, it's me, hello. He was nervous, afraid, as before. His voice suddenly trembled. And with the trembling, suddenly, she heard again the voice of China. He knew she'd begun writing books, he'd heard about it through her mother whom he'd met again in Saigon. And about her younger brother, and he'd been grieved for her. Then he didn't know what to say. And then he told her. Told her that it was as before, that he still loved her, he could never stop loving her, that he'd love her until death.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“I know it's not clothes that make women beautiful or otherwise, nor beauty care, nor expensive creams, nor the distinction of costliness of their finery. I know the problem lies elsewhere. I don't know where. I only know it isn't where women think.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“I am dead. I have no desire for you. My body no longer wants the one who doesn’t love.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“I'm still there, watching those possessed children, as far away from the mystery now as I was then. I've never written, though I thought I wrote, never loved, though I thought I loved, never done anything but wait outside the closed door.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover



“Among all the other nights upon nights, the girl had spent that one on the boat….when it happened, the burst of Chopin…. There wasn’t a breath of wind and the music spread all over the dark boat, like a heavenly injunction whose import was unknown, like an order from God whose meaning was inscrutable. And the girl started up as if to go and kill herself in her turn, throw herself in her turn into the sea, and afterwards, she wept because she thought of the man from Cholon and suddenly she wasn’t sure she hadn’t loved him with a love she hadn’t seen because it had lost itself in the affair like water in the sand and she rediscovered it only now, through this moment of music.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“I can't really remember the days. The light of the sun blurred and annihilated all color. But the nights, I remember them. The blue was more distant than the sky, beyond all depths, covering the bounds of the world. The sky, for me, was the stretch of pure brilliance crossing the blue, that cold coalescence beyond all color. Sometimes, it was in Vinh Long, when my mother was sad she'd order the gig and we'd drive out into the country to see the nighta s it was in the dry season. I had that good fortune- those nights, that mother. The light fell from the sky in cataracts of pure transparency, in torrents of silence and immobility. The air was blue, you could hold it in your hand. Blue. The sky was the continual throbbing of the brilliance of the light. The night lit up everything, all the country on either bank of the river as far as the eye could reach. Every night was different, each one had a name as long as it lasted. Their sound was that of the dogs, the country dogs baying at mystery. They answered on another from village to village, until the time and space of the night were utterly consumed.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“Hélène Lagonelle’s body is heavy, innocent still, her skin’s as soft as that of certain fruits, you almost can’t grasp her, she’s almost illusory, it’s too much. She makes you want to kill her, she conjures up a marvelous dream of putting her to death with your own hands. Those flour-white shapes, she bears them unknowingly, and offers them for hands to knead, for lips to eat, without holding them back, without any knowledge of them and without any knowledge of their fabulous power. I’d like to eat Hélène Lagonelle’s breasts as he eats mine in the room in the Chinese town where I go every night to increase my knowledge of God. I’d like to devour and be devoured by those flour-white breasts of hers.
I am worn out with desire for Hélène Lagonelle.
I am worn out with desire.
I want to take Hélène Lagonelle with me to where every evening, my eyes shut, I have imparted to me the pleasure that makes you cry out. I’d like to give Hélène Lagonelle to the man who does that to me, so he may do it in turn to her. I want it to happen in my presence, I want her to do it as I wish, I want her to give herself where I give myself. It’s via Hélène Lagonelle’s body, through it, that the ultimate pleasure would pass from him to me.
A pleasure unto death.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“Très vite dans ma vie il a été trop tard.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“It has been my face. It's got older still, or course, but less, comparatively, than it would otherwise have done. It's scored with deep, dry wrinkles, the skin is cracked. But my face hasn't collapsed, as some with fine feature have done. It's kept the same contours, but its substance has been laid waste. I have a face laid waste.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover



“Muy pronto en mi vida fue demasiado tarde.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“« Je n'ai jamais écrit, croyant le faire, je n'ai jamais aimé, croyant aimer, je n'ai jamais rien fait qu'attendre devant la porte fermée. »”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“Et puis il le lui avait dit. Il lui avait dit que c’était comme avant, qu’il l’aimait encore, qu’il ne pourrait jamais cesser de l’aimer, qu’il l’aimerait jusqu’à sa mort.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“Because he doesn't know he carries within him a supreme elegance, I say it for him.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“I want to write. I've already told my mother: That's what I want to do-write. No answer the first time. Then she asks, Write what? I say, Books, novels. [...] She's against it, it's not worthy, it's not real work, it's nonsense. Later she said, A childish idea.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover



“I feel a sadness I expected and which comes only from myself. I say I’ve always been sad. That I can see the same sadness in photos of myself when I was small. That today, recognizing it as the sadness I’ve always had, I could almost call it by my own name, it’s so like me.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“« L'histoire de ma vie n'existe pas. Ça n'existe pas. Il n'y a jamais de centre. Pas de chemin, pas de ligne. Il y a de vastes endroits où l'on fait croire qu'il y avait quelqu'un, ce n'est pas vrai il n'y avait personne. »”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“I had the face of pleasure, and yet I had no knowledge of pleasure. There was no mistaking that face.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“We, her children, are heroic, dersperate.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“Je sais que ce ne sont pas les vêtements qui font les femmes plus ou moins belles ni les soins de beauté, ni les prix des onguents, ni la rareté, le prix des atours. Je sais que le problème est ailleurs. Je ne sais pas où il est.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover



“It's while it's being lived that life is immortal, while it's still alive. Immortality is not a matter of more or less time, its not really a question of immortality but of something else that remains unknown. It's as untrue to say it's without beginning or end as to say it begins and ends with the life of the spirit, since it partakes both of the spirit and of the pursuit of the void.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“The story of my life doesn’t exist. Does not exist. There’s never any center to it. No path, no line. There are great spaces where you pretend there used to be someone, but it’s not true, there was no one.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“Très vite dans ma vie il a été trop tard. A dix-huit ans il était déjà trop tard. Entre dix-huit ans et vingt-cinq ans mon visage est parti dans une direction imprévue. A dix-huit ans j’ai vieilli.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“Il faudrait prévenir les gens de ces choses-là. Leur apprendre que l’immortalité est mortelle, qu’elle peut mourir, que c’est arrivé, que cela arrive encore.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover


“Que la vida es inmortal mientras se vive, mientras se está con vida. Que la inmortalidad no es una cuestión de más o menos tiempo, que no es una cuestión de inmortalidad, que es una cuestión de otra cosa que permanece ignorada. Que es tan falso decir que carece de principio y de fin como decir que empieza y termina en la vida del alma desde el momento en que participa del alma y de la prosecución del viento. Mirad las arenas muertas del desierto, el cuerpo muerto de los niños: la inmortalidad no pasa por ahí, se detiene y los esquiva.”
― Marguerite Duras, quote from The Lover



About the author

Marguerite Duras
Born place: in Gia-Dinh, Viet Nam
Born date April 4, 1914
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