Marguerite Duras is a french writer and filmmaker that was born in 1914 and died in 1996.
From the very beginning of her work – with novels like Les impudents (1943), La vie tranquille (1944), Un barrage contre le pacifique (1950) – Duras confronts us with the human subject as an inconsistent – ghostly – subject. It is a subject that experiences itself beyond itself. It is irreducible to the consistency of its situation, of the historical moment it lives in, its reality. It is, what I call a subject without subjectivity. A subject that is not guaranteed by any substantial or transcendental or transcendent structure like for example the transcendental subjectivity (in the philosophy of Kant and Husserl) is. The subject evoked by Duras is the subject of its essential sollitude. Close to Maurice Blanchot Duras developed an idea of the human subject as originally lost, originally disorientated, originally beyond any stable identity. The whole work of Duras is directed against the identity phantasm that is the cardinal phantasm of occidental philosophy. Her work opens up the human subject to the order of the inhuman that is its proper inconsistency, its proper incommensurability. Writing (in the sense Duras gave this word by differenciating it from literature) and philosophy share this affirmation of incommensurability in the very heart of the human subject and its so called reality. In at least 2 books Duras wrote on this void or inconsistency in the centre of the human universe:
1. In Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein (from 1964), where this inconsistency is associated to what she calls there the mot-trou, the whole-word. There is a whole or a void in each word we normally ignore because of the supposed consistency – the meaning – of words and language as such. Writing means to get in touch with that emptiness in the heart of language, with these abyss above all sense architectures, like f.e. literature, are built or constructed.
2. In Emily L. (a novel published in 1987) you can find another expression close to the mot-trou. Emily is writing a poem that touches on the abyssal structure of reality itself. The poem is about the ''difference interne au coeur des significations''/ ''the internal difference in the heart of meanings''. This difference is simply nothingness itself. The nothingness that I call the incommensurable that indicates the limit of the social-symbolic paradigm, the limit of the universe of facts, the limit of the ontological world order.