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Notes to self.(BOOKS)(Roland Barthes): An article from: Artforum International [HTML] [Digital]

Bruce Hainley

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"HOW CAN YOU LIKE THAT SILLY HOMOSEXUAL?"

So Helen Vendler sets the scene for her defense of Roland Barthes, six years after his death in 1980, with the question she was asked "by an eminent literary critic in tones of impatience and revulsion, when [she] ventured to praise Barthes's hymn to reading, The Pleasure of the Text (1973)." She continues: "The remark manifested, besides homophobia, a suspicion that Barthes was 'not serious.' Barthes knew that les gens serieux excluded him from the inner circle of their company. ..." Vendler not only witnesses in the resistance to the clarity of Barthes's pleasure an inability to take him seriously but also discerns how that resistance springs from the very forms...

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