Marguerite Duras on the Art of Seeing and the Essence of Life, Illustrated
By Maria Popova
“Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie,” Stephen King proclaimed, and a beacon of this conviction is The Lover (public library) — a short and stirring 1984 autobiographical novel by the great French novelist, playwright, essayist, and filmmaker Marguerite Duras (April 4, 1914–March 3, 1996), with a cover as iconic as the book itself, designed by the inimitable Louise Fili.
For this latest installment in the Brain Pickings artist series, designer and artist Kerri Augenstein has illustrated some of my marginalia from this masterpiece, including a poetic meditation on the recently explored question of immortality, in the style of her magnificent Dumb Dots Figure Studies series. Each is in reality a 10-foot drawing, so the screen does it little justice, but their elegant beauty still mesmerizes:
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, it’s 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.
The art of seeing has to be learned.
Previous artist series have included Susan Sontag on art and on love illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton, Anaïs Nin on love and more love illustrated by Debbie Millman, Salvador Dalí’s creative credo illustrated by Moly Crabapple, and Anaïs Nin on life illustrated by Lisa Congdon.
Published May 27, 2013