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About the Author: Claire de Duras

Claire de Duras left her native France for London during the French Revolution in 1789, and returned to France in 1808 as the Duchess of Duras. She maintained a famous literary salon in post-Revolutionary Paris and was the close friend of Chateaubriand, who she had met while in exile in London, and who helped her to publish her books.

Ourika was published anonymously in 1823, one of five novels Claire de Duras had written during the previous year; only two of them were published during her lifetime. The three novellas that she did publish were only done so in order to prevent any possible plagiarism.

Claire de Duras treated complex and controversial subjects, primarily dealing with oppressed/marginalized characters. She explored many fundamental principles of the French Revolution, and touched upon the intellectual debates of the Age of Enlightenment, particularly the equality of all men—and women. In holding with these subjects, tragedy is a common theme. For a long time she was seen as the writer of small and unimportant sentimental novels, but recent criticism has revealed her works to be treasure troves of postmodern identity theory. It is likely she has not been well read because her choice and treatment of subject could not be appreciated until recently; she was ahead of her time.


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Goodreads rating: 3.47

Paperback, Published in May 2012 by Sexto Piso Editorial

ISBN10: 849686779X | ISBN13: 9788496867796

Page count: 166

Based on a true story and set during the French Revolution, this novel tells the tale of a Senegalese girl saved from slavery and raised by an aristocratic French family. When she overhears a conversation about her race, she suddenly becomes aware of the color of her skin and the prejudice it produces. Unhappy and physically ill after her revelation, Ourika struggles to come to terms with her African identity in the midst of upper-class wealth and privilege. A bestseller ever since its publication in 1823, this touching story addresses race, class, and the role of women in society with earnest emotion and surprising psychological depth. Basada en hechos verídicos y con la Revolución francesa de trasfondo, esta novela narra la historia de una niña senegalesa que fue rescatada de la esclavitud y criada por una familia francesa acomodada. Cuando escucha una conversación sobre su raza, toma conciencia del color de su piel y del prejuicio que causa. Infeliz y físicamente enferma luego de esta revelación, Ourika lucha por aceptar su identidad africana a la vez que está rodeada por las riquezas y el privilegio de la clase alta. Un éxito desde su pubicación en 1823, esta novela hace frente a las cuestiones de raza, clase y el papel de las mujeres en la sociedad con un sentimiento genuino y con una profundidad psicológica asombrosa.

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