Conclusion

  • Anna Kłosowska
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

Throughout the work on this project, Roland Barthes’s Pleasure of the Text stayed near, like a fellow passenger on a train. I am thinking of the way Barthes justifies reading as pleasure. He is not afraid to say that ultimate pleasure is perversion, and he discreetly lets on, in another text published within a couple of years of Pleasure, that homosexuality, specifically, is the way to the ultimate pleasure of the text. These few facts have configured Barthes’s intervention in my memory since the very beginning of my work. Over the years, Pleasure of the Text would come to mind at crucial moments of our collective work. When we talked about differences between same-sex and opposite-sex relationships in terms of hierarchies and relationships to power, Pleasure of the Text appeared as an unexpected precursor, in Barthes s explicit concern that perversion and same-sex relation are at risk of reproducing hierarchies and ideologies, but also in his conviction that they are better suited to abolish them than are the “orthodox” sexual configurations.

Keywords

Europe Rubber Assimilation Posit Stake 

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Jean Laplanche, Lecture of 20 May 1975, in Literary Debate: Texts and Contexts,. ed. Denis Hollier and Jeffrey Mehlman (New York: The New Press, 1999), pp. 336 [335–42].Google Scholar
  2. Jean Laplanche, Problématiques de l’angoisse 2: Castration, Symbolisations (Paris: PUF, 1980).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Andrew Brown, Roland Barthes: The Figures of Writing (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Miller’s second example comes from Barthes’s Empire of Signs (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992):Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    All quotes in French of the Plaisir du texte are from Roland Barthes, Le Plaisir du texte, précédé de Variations sur l’écriture, preface Carlo Ossola, trans. Nadine Le Lirzin (Paris: Seuil, 2000): “Plaisir/jouissance: terminologiquement, cela vacille encore, j’achoppe, j’embrouille. De toute manière, il y aura toujours une marge d’indécision” (p. 85). “Plaisir du texte, texte de plaisir: ces expressions sont ambiguës parce qu’il n’y a pas de mot français pour courvrir à la fois le plaisir (le contentement) et la jouissance (l’évanouissement). Le mot ‘plaisir’ est donc ici (et sans pouvoir prévenir) tantôt extensif à la jouissance, tantôt il lui est opposé…Je suis contraint à cette ambiguïté.…je ne puis empêcher…je suis donc obligé de laisser aller l’énoncé de mon texte dans la contradiction” (p. 96).Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Roland Barthes, “Entretien,” in Signs of the Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971), rept. in Oeuvres complètes, vol. 2, p. 1,305; cited by Carlo Ossola, in Roland Barthes, Le Plaisir du texte, p. 9.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text, trans. Richard Miller, note on the text by Richard Howard (New York: Hill and Wang, 1975). Le Plaisir du Texte: “une typologie des plaisirs de lecture—ou des lecteurs de plaisir…engageant le rapport de la névrose lectrice à la forme hallucinée du texte. Le fétichiste s’accorderait au texte découpé, au morcellement des citations, des formules, des frappes, au plaisir du mot. L’obsessionnel aurait la volupté de la lettre, des langages seconds, décrochés, des méta-langages (cette classe réunirait des logophiles, linguistes, sémioticiens, philologues: tous ceux pour qui le langage revient). Le paranoïaque consommerait ou produirait des textes retors, des histoires développées comme des raisonnements, des constructions posées comme des jeux, des contraintes secrètes. Quant à l’hystérique (si contraire à l’obsessionnel), il serait celui qui prend le texte pour de l’argent comptant, qui entre dans la comédie sans fond, sans vérité, du langage, qui n’est plus le sujet d’aucun regard critique et se jette à travers le texte (ce qui est tout autre chose que de s’y projeter).”Google Scholar
  8. 15.
    See, e.g., Annette Lavers, Roland Barthes: Structuralism and After (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1982). Lavers’s book is usefully attentive in establishing chronologies and intellectual genealogies, inspiring confidence in her statement that the mid-1960s were a “watershed period”; n.2, p. 243, where she mentions a series of works published around 1966 by eminent structuralist linguists (Greimas’s Sémantique structurale, Benveniste’s Problèmes de linguistique générale, and the translations of Chomsky’s works into French; and, only a couple of years earlier, Jakobson’s Essais de linguistique générale (1963) and Saussures astonishing Anagrams (1964)). As Lavers notes, 1966 also saw publication of other major works, such as Foucaults Les mots et les choses, Lacan’s Ecrits, Laplanche and Pontalis’s Vocabulaire de la psychanalyse (1967) which popularizes Freud and Lacan, and Althusser’s two books on Marx (Pour Marx and, with Etienne Balibar and others, Lire le Capital). Lavers ends by mention of two other events: Cultural Revolution in China and the manifesto by the Situationist International denouncing the West as “a Society of Spectacle.”Google Scholar
  9. 16.
    Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipe (Paris: Minuit, 1972). Translated as Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    Donald Morton, “Birth of the Cyberqueer,” PMLA 110:3 (May 1995): pp. 369–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 19.
    Jean Laplanche, Problématiques de l’angoisse 2: Castration, Symbolisations (Paris: PUF, 1980).Google Scholar

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© Anna Kłosowska 2005

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  • Anna Kłosowska

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