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The Pleasure of the Text Paperback – January 1, 1975
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As a whole, the book has an informal, almost stream-of-consciousness feel to it. Barthes' text is richly studded with numerous cultural references--Bataille, the Kama Sutra, Sade, Severo Sarduy, Marx, the Buddhist sangha, Poe, Chomsky, and much more. Barthes often uses sexual imagery as a vehicle by which to construct a philosophy of reading. The result of all these elements is a dizzying, yet oddly delightful reading experience.
One of the key themes of "The Pleasure of the Text" is Barthes' attempt to define "pleasure" and "bliss," and to delineate the differences between the text of pleasure and the text of bliss. From Barthes' project the close reader can thus derive a new way of looking at all texts.
Among other topics Barthes considers the hierarchical nature and pleasure factor of the sentence, as well as the erotic potential of the word. And throughout, his writing is marked by passages of wit and insight. A typical observation: "The bastard form of mass culture is humiliated repetition [...]."
"The Pleasure of the Text" often takes on a metaphysical, almost prophetic flavor. For those who are willing to dig into this dense text with gusto, it may prove to be an intellectual treasure heap.
had us reading Mythologies in the early '80's. As students working hard just to translate the text, I'm afraid we let certain funny jokes, like the fact of a frenchman discussing the meaning of french fries in America,
go directly over our heads.
I happened to read a review of a movie where Ben Kingsley romances college student Penelope Cruz.
One detail, "She had under her arm, The Pleasure of the Text," reeled me in to order it, though I did not consider the movie any further(maybe that was wrong). I also ordered two others by Barthes. One was A Lover's Discourse: Fragments, a short, easy enjoyable read I recommend.
Pleasure of the Text is a little more involved but certainly not impenetrable. I actually was finding it funnier
and funnier until I got to page 9, where I laughed out loud as he talked about the "narrative" being "dismantled" in Flaubert. Maybe it was just me. On rereading it I realized it was not really a joke;
I think Barthes is a little more serious here than in the french-fry book(some may say that was serious, too).
In sum, definitely lovely, accessible writing. And he seems like a pretty nice guy after all these years.
If ever one needs well articulated justification for the
act of writing or reading, this book delivers.
It is simultaneously dense and accommodating -
one can comfortably read this book in a few hours
yet contemplate its nuances for far longer.
Barthes relates reading to orgasm (petite mal=small death in Lacanian terms), reading is related to the act of striping, to seduction.
"The pleasure of the text is not the pleasure of the corporeal striptease or of narrative suspense" (pg. 10).
"I am interested in language because it wounds or seduces me" (pg.38)
And this text will seduce you too.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You can read this in 20 minutes and if you haven't read this book and you have 20 minutes, you should probably buy a copy of this.Published 10 months ago by Bearrica Danger
it was a gift to my sister for he birthday and she love it as per her feed back to me.Published 23 months ago by Fahad Al-Issa
The entire book is an essay on the sensual "bliss" or pleasure of reading, but reading this book was not a bliss. Read morePublished on July 16, 2013 by Thomas