Original Works from Students

Prof. Alain-Philippe Durand's Students' Original Works Inspired

by the Reading of Marie Darrieussecq:


"I Found It in the Woods," a poem by Michael Clyde Flagg, University of Arizona, LASC 195A Digital Humanities, April 2011.

"Breathing Underwater," art and poem by Sarah Jane Precup, University of Arizona, LASC 195A Digital Humanities, April 2011.



Original art work by Bianca Scartabello, University of Rhode Island, November 2009

Site Marie Darrieussecq


       After reading the novel My Phantom Husband, I instantly realized what I would like to base my project around.  As an English and Art double major, I had a lot of thoughts to work with.  First, I initially wanted to paint the picture.  I am a fan of abstract art and I’d rather work abstractly than precisely in my artwork.  The more I thought out my idea, the more I realized it would be better to use charcoal and pastel, in order to bring out the dreariness of the novel. I chose a limited palette and chose black, white and gray tones.  This is because ultimately the novel has a depressing feel to it.  The fact that this woman is left isolated and alone is enough to tug at any woman, or even man’s heartstrings while reading it. 
I basically touched on specific parts of the novel that had stuck out to me while reading it.  First and foremost, the idea of the “phantom husband”, this sort of “ghost” who is haunting the wife.  There are multiple times when she believes he is there but it turns out that it’s only a ghostly vision of him.  As readers, we understand that he could not possibly be there but in her head, his vision is all she sees as she awaits her husbands return.  During the time he is gone, she begins to smoke more often, and I wanted to express that in the picture.  The idea of smoking is connected with the idea of stress, and anxiety.  I connected both the anxiety and the idea of the ghost by making the smoke from the cigarette form not quite her husband, but some figure.  It shows that it is clearly not him, but she sees false perceptions.
The door in the background of the picture is interesting in two ways.  First, I initially put it in mainly because of the part of the novel when she puts up the sign “Back in an hour” as if he was going to come home and read it.  She puts this up as if he is there and everything is normal.  It seems to be a cry for help and an act of desperation.  That was the main purpose of the huge door in the background.  The more I thought about it, I realized that the door also serves as a way of exiting, and a way of walking back into the picture.  That door was a burden on her life by allowing her husband to leave her.  The door also served as a gateway for him to return back into her life. 
Ultimately, this picture is depicting a variety of different aspects of the book, but what I really wanted viewers to get out of this is the idea that her illusions of her husband are there to haunt her, to cause her anxiety.

Bianca Scartabello, November 2009


In September 2011, Marie Darrieussecq discussed her novel Pig Tales with MA in French students at the University of Arizona in Prof. Alain-Philippe Durand's seminar on non-places in the contemporary French novel and cinema. READ


On February 14-19, 2008, Marie Darrieussecq dialogued electonically in English with the students of the Honors Colloquium "Novels of the Contemporary Extreme" taught by Alain-Philippe Durand and Naomi Mandel at the University of Rhode Island, USA. Click HERE for the online forum.