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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.
However, _The Pleasure of the Text_ is easily the last book of Barthes's that I would ever recommend to anyone, especially anyone that is unfamiliar with Barthes. It is an exceptionally difficult book, and I am not convinced it is a successfully written book; or, permitting the possibility, successfully translated book. Yes, everyone will immediately defend the book by saying "it's experimental"; but just because something is experimental does not mean it is successful. Every time I have tried to read it my inner editor has come to the same two suspicions. One, that there may be a problem with the translation (something to which I cannot myself speak). Two, that Barthes did not fully have a grasp on the ideas he was exploring, that they were still in flux in his own mind while he was writing. Because of that, what is on the page never unifies into a sense-making whole.
I am fully willing (and eager) to see argument otherwise; but, in truth, every explication of _The Pleasure of the Text_ I have ever read has either been a shallow, surface reading and/or was getting most of its information from others of Barthes's texts. But, really, that is beside the point as regards the purpose of this "review," which is simply to characterize the book for people who are unfamiliar with it.Read more ›
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 15 months ago by Bearrica Danger
It is very interesting arguments about how text is pursued for pleasure. Reading Barthes' text is a bliss!!!Published 18 months ago by Hui-ju Chen (Mickey)
it was a gift to my sister for he birthday and she love it as per her feed back to me.Published on March 18, 2014 by Fahad Al-Issa
Really an elegant, thoughtful and philosophical writer.
If ever one needs well articulated justification for the
act of writing or reading, this book delivers. Read more
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
If a pomo critic talks about modernism, its with a great sense of superiority; if a modernist talks about postmodernism, its either with a sense of exasperation or with a sense of... Read morePublished on April 10, 2011 by Doug Anderson