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The Pleasure of the Text Paperback – January 1, 1975

ISBN-13: 978-0374521608 ISBN-10: 0374521603 Edition: Reissue

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 84 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang; Reissue edition (January 1, 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374521603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374521608
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Barthes repeatedly compared teaching to play, reading to eros, writing to seduction. His voice became more and more personal, more full of grain, as he called it; his intellectual art more openly a performance, like that of the other great anti-systematizers . . . All of Barthes work is an exploration the histrionic or ludic; in many ingenious modes, a plea for savor, for a festive (rather than dogmatic or credulous) relation to ideas. For Barthes, the point is to make us bold, agile, subtle, intelligent, detached. And to give pleasure." --Susan Sontag

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Really an elegant, thoughtful and philosophical writer.
Burton Robinson
From Barthes' project the close reader can thus derive a new way of looking at all texts.
Michael J. Mazza
This treatise flows with the lucid readability of a good William Carlos Williams poem.
Steiner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on February 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Pleasure of the Text," by Roland Barthes, is a work of literary and cultural philosophy that actually transcends the genre. The short book consists of a series of "meditations," many less than a page long, that explore various facets of language and reading. Barthes' work has been translated from French into an elegantly playful English by Richard Miller.
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.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "mrallen" on July 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
Reading this long essay, I was reminded of Barthes' contention that he was not a literary critic--this work goes farther than most anything that passes for literary criticism nowadays. This is a beautiful, concise essay on what makes reading pleasurable, something most critics wouldn't dare to tackle. But Roland Barthes is no critic--he's a philosopher and a poet, a gifted writer whose words desire your reading (and you'll desire the words) as much as they illuminate that desire itself. It's a rare person who can explain literature while creating it. Barthes is one such person, which is just another reason he's no literary critic.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Charles Morgan on September 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I returned to Barthes not having read him in a long time. A graduate TA, with shaky french herself,
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.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas on July 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The entire book is an essay on the sensual "bliss" or pleasure of reading, but reading this book was not a bliss.
The entire Pleasure of Text could have been better explained in one well written paragraph, but it wasn't.
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By Fahad Al-Issa on March 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
it was a gift to my sister for he birthday and she love it as per her feed back to me.
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