Literary Birthday – 12 November – Roland Barthes


Roland Barthes was born 12 November 1915, and died 26 March 1980

Seven Quotes

  1. Language is legislation, speech is its code. We do not see the power which is in speech because we forget that all speech is a classification, and that all classifications are oppressive.
  2. To know that one does not write for the other, to know that these things I am going to write will never cause me to be loved by the one I love (the other), to know that writing compensates for nothing, sublimates nothing, that it is precisely there where you are not–this is the beginning of writing.
  3. Literature is the question minus the answer.
  4. What the public wants is the image of passion, not passion itself.
  5. Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.
  6. I am interested in language because it wounds or seduces me.
  7. Take the gesture, the action of writing. I would say, for example, that I have an almost obsessive relation to writing instruments. I often switch from one pen to another just for the pleasure of it. I try out new ones. I have far too many pens – I don’t know what to do with all of them! And yet, as soon as I see a new one, I start craving it. I cannot keep myself from buying them.

Roland Barthes was a French literary theorist, philosopher, linguist, critic, and semiotician. Barthes influenced the development of schools of theory including structuralism, semiotics, social theory, anthropology and post-structuralism. Works by him include Mythologies, The Pleasure of the Text, and A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments.

Source for Image

by Amanda Patterson

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