Unsolved Problems: Rachel Kushner on Marguerite Duras

Alcohol is linked to the memory of sexual violence — it makes it glow, it’s inseparable from it. When you’ve had too much to drink you’re back at the start of an infernal cycle of life. But only in the mind. Sometimes he loses his temper and kills. Alcoholics, even those in the gutter, tend to be intellectuals. I’ve alway drunk with men. Of all human occupations, manual work is probably the kind that leads most directly to thought, and therefore to drink. I’ve never drugged myself any other way. ¤

From La Vie materiélle, “Alcohol” by Marguerite Duras:
 
“I became an alcoholic as soon as I started to drink. I’ve always known that if I took to heroin it would soon get out of control. The proletariat, a class far   more intellectual now than the bourgeoisie, has a propensity for alcohol, as can be seen all over the world. I drank like one straight away, and left everyone else behind. Alcohol makes people talk. I began by drinking   in the evening, then at midday, then in the morning, and then I began to drink at night. Alcohol is a substitute for pleasure though it doesn’t replace it. A drunk is often coarse, but rarely obscene. People talk about happiness, and say it’s impossible. It’s spiritually carried to the point where logic becomes lunacy; it’s reason going mad trying to understand why this kind of society, this Reign of Injustice, exists. And it always ends in despair. First once a night, then every two hours. MARCH 27, 2017

“Women and fiction remain, so far as I am concerned,   unsolved problems.” –   Virginia Woolf,    A Room of One’s Own  
Read more in the Unsolved Problems series in the   LARB Quarterly Journal, No. 13. But they know what the word means.”
 
Submitted by Rachel Kushner. Just look at the history of ideas. People obsessed with sex aren’t usually alcoholics.