Happy Birthday, Roland Barthes, born 12 November 1915, died 26 March 1980
- 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.
- 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.
- Literature is the question minus the answer.
- What the public wants is the image of passion, not passion itself.
- 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.
- I am interested in language because it wounds or seduces me.
- 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.
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.
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by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write