Claire Duras: Ourika (3361 words)


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Claire-Louise Lechat de Coëtnempren de Kersaint (1777-1828), better known by her aristocratic friends and posterity as Madame de Duras, was born in Brest into the generation destined to suffer most intensely the trauma of the French Revolution. Her estranged father, a Girondist navy admiral, was guillotined in 1794. Her mother, a wealthy creole from Martinique, held considerable holdings on the island, and, after her father’s death, Claire accompanied her mother to Philadelphia to rescue her inheritance from confiscation. While there has long been speculation that they both also travelled to Martinique where she would have gained first-hand knowledge of the traite and plantation system, there is no archival evidence for this (s…

Citation: Dewey, Sylvie Pascale. "Ourika". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 November 2012 [, accessed 23 June 2021.]

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