Does anyone understand Barthes?
You know, for a guy who is adamant that the reader writes the text, he uses an awful lot of words that I doubt many beyond him ever even heard before. It’s sort of disassociating to have to keep putting my book down to run for the dictionary every few minutes. That fourth wall is hanging in shreds by now.
I think ol’ Roland likes to be controversial and annoying. The whole book tells me to go beyond pleasure (contentment) to reach the mental orgasm of bliss (rapture). Then why not name the book The Bliss of the Text? Pleasure is fleeting, unsatisfying, pah. What we are to aim for he (I?) claim, is that total loss of control, complete immersion in the moment that takes us out of the present and plunks us into that dizzying YAAARGH! moment of losing it.
Well I believe I can get a twinge from Faulkner, or Steinbeck or Marquez, and certainly from McCathy (and Edgar, of course, but that’s a twinge of another body part). That’s why I don’t read in public–though of course being a girl makes it less evident. Kerouac isn’t stroking the right erogenous zones for me (how else could I put it?).
I wonder now–now that I’m off on this sexual experiment of the mind–I wonder if it’s a gender thing; we ladies are still getting off on words rather than pictures.
So then, what’s Barthes talking about?