Barthes

 

An autobiography written by the author of “the Death of the Author”? Who could resist? Not this nerdy-bird.

Barthes built a playground out of language, and never so much as in this text, a playground out of his own body, his corpus, his work.  Evading the prison of the self, this ramshackle autobiography celebrates instead the pleasures of liberal subjectivity, while at the same time shyly implicating itself in the closed and alienated world of a classed jargon.

My favorite passages are those that stem from the pleasure of praxis: Barthes evokes beautifully the joy of painting, of being an amateur, of hobbies (rather than occupations).

In a number of the fragments, Barthes plays a small joke on the reader, giving scraps of detail from his life, conventionally laying out his likes and dislikes, his memories of a street he walked down in childhood, driving through the country, and then suddenly annihilates those details, revokes the meaning from supposedly meaningful things, and shows us the raw face of the text instead.

All in all there underlies a passion and a hunger for more, for the beauties of experience to be caressed by the elegant hands of the text.

 

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