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A Lover's Discourse: Fragments Paperback – June 1, 1979
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The most compelling part of "Lover's Discourse" is Barthe's dissection of the phrase, "I love you". Drawing upon literary examples and common sense, Barthes asks us what we mean when we state that we love someone. Do we love what they do for us? Do we love how they make us feel? Do we love the idea of them? Are we in love with love itself? This concept is born out by the protagonist Merseault, in Camus' novel, "A Happy Death". The first thing Merseault says to his lover when she wakes up in the morning is, "hello image".
"Lover's Discourse" extracts love from ideology and examines it under a microscope. We may be confused by what we see, and we may not like it, but the view contains more than a glimmer of reality.
Barthes examines love in brief chapters, each devoted to a different aspect of the entire humiliating `catastrophe': the helpless infatuation, the agonizing wait beside the telephone that doesn't ring, the jealousy of anyone with access to the beloved, the infantile terror of abandonment, the sense of martyrdom, the suicidal despair...but also the inexplicable enchantment of the seemingly insignificant ((and yet all-too potent)) detail that fatally charms us--the crooked tooth, the dimple, the slant of an eye, the simplest gesture--that causes that one person of all possible people to appear to us as the very image of our desire no matter what suffering they subsequently bring upon us. And they do cause us to suffer, because the lover always loves the beloved more than he or she is loved in return.
It's hard to say whether this book helps to heal a broken heart or turns a stick in it--probably it does a little of both. One thing is certain: this is no *30 Days to Mend a Broken Heart* or such similar self-help collection of insipid platitudes. This is more like chemotherapy. To paraphrase the old joke, Barthes might have cured Cupid of his disease, but, unfortunately, the patient died.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In the slim volume of A Lover’s Discourse, French philosopher and literary critic Roland Barthes attempts to deconstruct one of the most powerful of human experiences: that of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lachlan Dale
This is a literary masterpiece that must be read with caution. Definitely not for the faint of heart.Published 9 months ago by john riojas
I picked this up quite innocently at a bookshop, because the original title was obscured by a sales label. The only thing you could read was: LOVER’S DISCO. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Susie Bright
Again, the cover and the content of the book were exactly what I was expecting in the mail. I appreciated this very much.Published on April 19, 2014 by Jane Suh
Being familiar and having read Barthes extensively, I found this speculation — on a wonderful and inevitable topic — laborious and disciplined, but ultimately thin and lacking of... Read morePublished on January 30, 2014 by Oravla Olam