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ENGC15H3 Lecture Notes - Tmesis, Jouissance, Anacoluthon

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Pouneh Saeedi

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ENGC15 Roland Barthes The Pleasure of the Text
- The taste of madeleine “In search of lost time”
o Nostalgia and stuff
- Plaisir vs. jouissance
o (pleasure vs. bliss)
o How to differentiate between the two
Texts of bliss are indescribable in words
There‟s a break in the culture you know
So you feel rapture
Imposes state of loss, discomfort
o Perhaps to the point of boredom
Unsettles assumptions, tastes, values, memories
Brings crisis to his relation with language
Sontag, “in place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art”
o Move away from attributing a message in the text
o Just enjoy the text in itself
o Hermeneutics of text = hermes (messenger god)
The message of the text
You can use words to describe texts of pleasure
Literary critics write about texts of pleasure
Exploring the known territory
Fills and grants euphoria
o Comfortable practice of reading
o From culture, doesn‟t break from it
Pleasure-inducing text features:
o Asynedetons = lack of conjunctions
Ex. He was a bag of bones, a floppy doll, a broken stick,
a maniac.
o Anacoluthon = device can be defined as grammatically incorrect
o Ex. of blissful text: Molly Bloom‟s stream of consciousness
„cause you can‟t really describe it
o Tmesis = separation of compound words with other nouns
In German, you cut the verb in half and the starting part
goes at the end with you conjugate it
Ex. “This is not Romeo, he‟s some other where.”
Readerly vs. writerly texts
(lisible vs. ecritible)
Readerly = straightforward texts
o You don‟t rewrite it in your head
Writerly texts = there are gaps in the text that challenge you
o So you have to do part of the writing in your head
o Writing in pleasure doesn‟t guarantee reading in pleasure
o Dialectics between text and reader
Death of the author*
The writer cannot predict the reader‟s reaction
Neuroses part of writing = apprehension of an ultimate
- Two systems of reading:
o One goes straight to the content; ignores language
o One skips nothing and weights, sticks to the text, it reads, with application and transport,
grasps at every point in the text, the layering of significance
So, language + meaning
- You have to read modern texts slowly
o Read too fast, in snatches, you miss the point and inaccessible to the pleasure
o You want something to happen and nothing does
What happens to the language DOES NOT HAPPEN TO THE DISCOURSE
So the action is in the uttering, not the sequence of utterances
Not about plot, but the language and the meanings between it
- Subject who keeps the two kinds of texts (blissful and pleasurable) is carrying contradiction in his
o Enjoys the consistency of his selfhood (his pleasure) and seeks its loss (bliss)
o Subject split twice over, doubly perverse
Perversion (Freud) = split within
In bliss you see the rupture of the self and culture
- Text = locus from which logomachy is absent
o Not a dialogue, no risk of feint, aggression, blackmail, rivalry of ideolects
Establishes a common relation, manifests the asocial nature of pleasure
o Analogy between the text and body quite dominant
o Pleasure of the text irreducible to physiological need
o When language fails you, you drift, the text becomes intractable (unbindable) bliss
And you just enjoy the text, also called Stupidity
It you were to manage it, by talking about it would kill it, the bliss
Bliss = unspeakable, inter-dicted (interdit in French = forbidden, so another layer
to “cannot be spoken”
Can only be spoken between the lines, can‟t speak on a text, only in it
If you‟re talking about your ecstatic moment, you‟re ruining it
o The instant switch from a perceiving function to a judging
function ends the perceiving, and so the blissful moment
- When we talk about pleasure, we reinforce the self
o We feel at home, it reinforces the culture, the self, and gives euphoria
o Pleasure of the culture you‟re living
- When we talk about bliss, we‟re talking about something more radical
o It shapes the self, it‟s no longer in a comfortable zone, so it shapes the self
Forces the self to grow and to change
o The subject feels divided within and depersonalized