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3.48  ·  Rating details ·  611 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Based on a true story, Ourika relates the experiences of a Senegalese girl who is rescued from slavery and raised by an aristocratic French family during the French Revolution. Brought up in a household of learning and privilege, she is unaware of her difference until she overhears a conversation that makes her suddenly conscious of her race - and of the prejudice it arous ...more
Paperback, 47 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Modern Language Association of America (first published 1823)
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Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Ourika, first published by Claire de Duras in France in 1823, is a noteworthy short story that discusses that place of Africans in French society during the early 19th century. Madame de Duras (nee Lechat) came from an upperclass family that had to flee the country during Robespierre's reign of terror. While temporarily exiled, her father encountered a Senegalese girl about to be sold into slavery, and insisted that the girl, Ourika, come to live with his family. This forty seven page story is b ...more
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To imagine that Ourika is a simply a tale about a woman who is distraught over a man is to severely misread the richness of this novel, which offers a complex regard of race, blackness, womanhood, identity, and intercultural acceptance. With its harsh criticisms of political fervor generated by the French Revolution as well as social behaviors--namely, French upper-class elitism--this was a risky novel for its time. It tells the story of a Senagalese girl who, one day, suddenly realizes she is " ...more
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ourika is the name of this short novel's eponymous heroine, a young Senegalese slave woman who is rescued from s life of drudgery and brought up by a French noblewoman around the time of the Terror. For perhaps the first time in literary history, authorClaire de Duras writes about the life of a black heroine surrounded on all sides by whites.

Young Ourika falls in love with her patroness's son, but Charles marries a sixteen-year-old girl of noble family:
God will bear witness, I was happy for Cha
Nov 28, 2014 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Laura by: Dagny
Free download in French is available at Project Gutenberg.

Free download in English (pdf file) is available at HathiThrust Digital Library.
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
First, a tangent that I swear has a point:

For several years, I’ve had a copy of A.S. Byatt’s Possession sitting on my shelf. I planned to read it last year, but shortly before starting, I read an article about books inspired by other books. One of the books mentioned? Possession, which tips its hat to John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman, which, in turn, tips its hat to a little-known French novella by the name of Ourika.

Naturally, I then decided I could not read Possession until I read t
3.5 stars. Interesting short story about an African/Senegalese girl, (rescued from slavery), who is brought up in an upper class family, and her thoughts/struggles being an educated black woman in eighteenth-century France.
This brief, bittersweet novel was a courageous pheonmenon in France in the 1820s. At a time when the abolition movement was gaining momentum in France, the traditionalist and conservative element was busy making new rules to take more rights away from people of African heritage. Therefore, it is astonishing that Ourika was published when it was (1824) and received the (limited) respect it did for its lovely, black heroine, the title character. (I say "limited respect" because white French peopl ...more
Rachel Coyne
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Haunting. This should be a film. So much glorious visuals.
Abrupt ending. Unresolved conflicts. Too much time inside Ourika's head.
Silvia Maresca
Would have given it 3 stars if it wasn't for such an abrupt, clichéd ending.
Interesting story though.
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500 Great Books B...: Ourika - Claire de Duras - Brina 1 5 Mar 26, 2017 01:42PM  
  • Lettres d'une Peruvienne (Texts and Translations : Texts, No 2)
  • A Passion In The Desert
  • The Beggars' Strike
  • Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow
  • La double inconstance
  • Peasants Into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914
  • Le gone du Chaâba
  • Fantasia
  • Le racisme expliqué à ma fille
  • Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
  • Odile
  • Les Soleils des indépendances
  • Zastrozzi
  • Le Ventre de l'Atlantique
  • Windward Heights
  • Le Mariage de Figaro
  • Corinne, or Italy
  • Le Capitaine Fracasse
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 Cla
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“I was ungrateful to Providence by not being happy; and, yet, does happiness always result from the gifts of intelligence? I tend to believe the contrary: one must pay for the gift of knowledge by wishing not to know...” 0 likes
“He believed me, and I was overwhelmed by bitterness when I saw that he did. My tears stopped; I told myself that it was quite easy to deceive those whose interest lay elsewhere.” 0 likes
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