Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A Lover's Discourse: Fragments Paperback – October 12, 2010
The Special Power of Restoring Lost Things
When Jennifer vanishes, her grieving family makes dangerous—and irreversible—choices. Learn More
Frequently Bought Together
“Barthes's work, along with that of Wilde and Valéry, gives being an aesthete a good name . . . Defending the senses, he never betrayed the mind.” ―SUSAN SONTAG
“Barthes's most popular and unusual performance as a writer is A Lover's Discourse, a writing out of the discourse of love. This language--primarily the complaints and reflections of the lover when alone, not exchanges of a lover with her or her partner--is unfashionable. Thought it is spoken by millions of people, diffused in our popular romances and television programs as well as in serious literature, there is no institution that explores, maintains, modifies, judges, repeats, and otherwise assumes responsibility for this discourse . . . Writing out the figures of a neglected discourse, Barthes surprises us in A Lover's Discourse by making love, in its most absurd and sentimental forms, an object of interest.” ―Jonathan Culler
About the Author
ROLAND BARTHES was born in 1915. A French literary theorist, philosopher, and critic, he influenced the development of schools of theory, including structuralism, semiotics, existentialism, social theory, Marxism, and post-structuralism. He died in 1980.
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
Barthes claims that modern society lacks a language with which to discuss love – a notable change from times past in which it was the sexual, rather than the emotional aspects of love that were considered taboo. This should concern us as, without a system with which to analyse and interpret amorous experience, we are left to practice an unhealthy and unreflective form of love, which can do immense damage to all the parties involved.
The stakes are particularly high: when tended properly, love can blossom into a deep and lasting contentment, or become a source of inexhaustible energy and inspiration. If mistreated, however, love can become a source of intense psychological pain, the cause of suicide, or of wounds so deep that it may leave one permanently disfigured.
As the Vietnamese Zen master, Thich Nhat Hahn once put it: "to love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love."
Barthes goal, therefore, is to make love utterable and intelligible once more. In A Lover’s Discourse he seeks to provide readers with ways that they can reflect upon and analyse their own experiences, and so learn to love better.
As a forerunner of post-structuralism, Barthes approach to this task is rather unique. The book is comprised of a number of “fragments”, each a sketch of a particular experience from the point of view of the lover-protagonist – say, the blissful feeling of lying in the arms of a loved one, or the anxiety and seeming suspension of time that accompanies the wait for a lover’s phone call.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was mis- printed but I didn't realize it until after the return window had closed. Very disappointed.Published 2 months ago by Michelle
good condition, no scuffs or anything! its a great read if you really take the time to look thorugh the excerpts and the author does a good job at making complicated concepts seem... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a literary masterpiece that must be read with caution. Definitely not for the faint of heart.Published 12 months ago by john riojas
Barthes " A Lover's Discourse" takes one on a journey of longing, the broken heart and what it means to love. Read morePublished on August 23, 2014 by Shea Johnson
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 on August 3, 2014 by Susie Bright