20 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2018
    1. critic executes the work

      Barthes is not thinking about this valence, but the phrase makes me think of the three permissions levels that structure access to texts in UNIX: read/write/execute. Readers of the "work" have read-only access: they consume it without inscribing it. Execute permission allows changes to the operating system itself: the energy of the passage points us towards hacking texts at this root level...

    2. the 'interpreter', who is called on to be in some sort the co-author of the score, completing it rather than giving it 'expression'. The Text is very much a score of this new kind: it asks of the reader a practical collaboration.

      This could be the slogan for our course! Doing things with novels means engaging them in a "practical collaboration," not only with the text but with other writer/readers.

    3. to abolish (or at the very least to diminish) the distance between writing and reading

      I hope y'all can feel the force of using hypothes.is on this text in particular: we are engaging in precisely the kind of work/play that RB assigns to the world of the "text."

    4. It is not that the Author may not 'come back' in the Text, in his text, but he then does so as a 'guest'. If he is a novelist, he is inscribed in the novel like one of his characters, figured in the carpet; no longer privileged, paternal, aletheological, his inscription is ludic.

      I love this passage. Once you publish something, it ceases to be yours, or at least exclusively yours. If you return to it, you are just another reader or critic. Think of all the readings you've been to when someone from the peanut gallery disagrees with the author's take on the motives of a character or the after-life of the plot! In a few weeks, we will literalize this idea via the Ivanhoe concept, having Melville visit Billy Budd as a "guest" among its characters, narrator, critics, editors, etc.

    5. the stereographic plurality of its weave of signifiers (etymologically, the text is a tissue, a woven fabric).

      Man, the metaphors are thick on the ground here! The stereograph is a 19thC cultural technology that shows the viewer two images in an apparatus they look through to create the illusion of depth. RBs point here is that the coherence of the "text," such as it is, is constantly drawn back into the "plurality" of the "weave" that creates it.

    6. the sign. The work closes on a signified

      Note that this section is really obscure if you haven't read the work of Ferdinand de Sassure, a Swiss linguist who basically created "semiotics," the systematic study of sign-systems, and whose influence on Barthes is enormous. RBs basic point is that, following Saussure, the "sign" in a symbolic system (say, language) is composed of two components: a "signifier," which is the material inscribed word or aural sound, and a "siginified," which is the meaning conventionally associated with that sound or combination of letters. The "work," for RB, gives up its "signified," its meaning or interpretation, after the critical labor of exegesis (THE ODYSSEY shows the emergence of "civilization," in all its discontents, from the spontaneity of kinship-based cultures), whereas the "text" remains in the field of the signifier in a field of "play" that resists reduction to a meaning (Gertrude Stein, "a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose...").

    7. its constitutive movement is that of cutting across (in particular, it can cut across the work, several works).  

      Reminiscent of the roughly contemporary statement by Derrida that "there is nothing outside the text" (il n'y a pas de hors-texte: really "there is no outside-text"). In other words, textuality is a web that can't be contained within the hermetic walls of a book's covers; all textuality bleeds over into other texts. RBs reading does not go quite so far, in that he emphasizes the position of texts that pretend, as it were, to be "works" that are hermetic and separable.

    8. it is the work that is the imaginary tail of the Text

      That is a super cute metaphor and encapsulates the entire set of oppositions RB develops here: a) the priority of text over work; b) text as living process v. work as epiphenomenal thing.

  2. Sep 2018
  3. Feb 2018
  4. Aug 2016
    1. istinction between "writerly" writing and "readerly" writing to that made by Roland Barthes in his book on literary theory, The Pleasure of the Text.

      Compare with the definitions of these terms in original text by Barthes here: PDF of Pleasures. Relevant quote "If I read this sentence, this story, or this word with pleasure, it is because they were written in pleasure (such pleasure does not contradict the writer's complaints). But the opposite? Does writing in pleasure guarantee-guarantee me, the writer-my reader's pleasure? Not at all. I must seek out this reader (must "cruise" him) without knowing where he is, A site of bliss is then created. It is not the reader's "person" that is necessary to me, it is this site: the possibility of a dialectics of desire, of an unpredictabilIty of blIss: the bets are not placed, there can still be a game" (Barthes 4).

  5. Jun 2016
    1. WHAT DOES IT MATTER WHO IS SPEAKING/' SOMEONE SAID, "WHAT DOES IT MATTER WHO IS SPEAKING": Beckett, Foucault, Barthes Alastair Hir

      Hird, Alastair. 2010. “‘WHAT DOES IT MATTER WHO IS SPEAKING,’ SOMEONE SAID, ‘WHAT DOES IT MATTER WHO IS SPEAKING’: Beckett, Foucault, Barthes.” Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd’hui 22: 289–99. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25781931.

      Picks up point that Beckett features very strongly in both Barthe's Death of an Author and Foucault's "What is an Author."

    1. writing ceaselessly posits meaning but always in order to evaporate it: it proceeds to a systematic exemption of meaning. Thus literature (it would be better, henceforth, to say writing), by refusing to assign to the text (and to the world as text) a "secret:' that is, an ultimate meaning, liberates an activity which we might call counter-theological, properly revolutionary, for to refuse to arrest meaning is finally to refuse God and his hypostases, reason, science, the law.

      Again a literary conception of purpose

    2. We know that a text does not consist of a line of words, releasing a single "theological" meaning (the "message" of the Author-God), but is a space of many dimensions, in which are wedded and contested various kinds of writing, no one of which is original: the text is a tissue of citations, resulting from the thousand sources of culture. Like Bouvard and Pecuchet, those eternal copyists, both sublime and comical and whose profound absurdity precisely designates the truth of writing, the writer can only imitate a gesture forever anterior, never original; his only power is to combine the different kinds of writing, to oppose some by others, so as never to sustain himself by just one of them; if he wants to express himself, at least he should know that the internal "thing" he claims to "translate" is itself only a readymade dictionary whose words can be explained (defined) only by other words, and so on ad infinitum

      Intertextuality and (literary) authorship

    3. Quite the contrary, the modern writer (scriptor) is born simultaneously with his text; he is in no way supplied with a being which precedes or transcends his writing, he is in no way the subject of which his book is the predicate; there is no other time than that of the utterance, and every text is eternally written here and now. This is because (or: it follows that) to write can no longer designate an operation of recording, of observing, of representing, of "painting" (as the Classic writers put it), but rather what the linguisticians, following the vocabulary of the Oxford school, call a performative, a rare verbal form (exclusively given to the first person and to the present), in which utterance has no other content than the act by which it is uttered

      Really, he's tying this to the ironic self-consciousness of postmodern authors: performance as opposed to realism.

    4. once an action is recounted, for intransitive ends, and no longer in order to act directly upon reality — that is, finally external to any function but the very exercise of the symbol — this disjunction occurs, the voice loses its origin, the author enters his own death, writing begins.

      Literary writing: "disjunction" from individual when writing for "intransitive" ends.

    5. Who is speaking in this way? Is it the story's hero, concerned to ignore the castrato concealed beneath the woman? Is it the man Balzac, endowed by his personal experience with a philosophy of Woman? Is it the author Balzac, professing certain "literary" ideas of femininity? Is it universal wisdom? or romantic psychology? It will always be impossible to know, for the good reason that all writing is itself this special voice, consisting of several indiscernible voices, and that literature is precisely the invention of this voice, to which we cannot assign a specific origin: literature is that neuter, that composite, that oblique into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost, beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.

      Why science authorship is not the same as poetic authorship: the lack of identity of the author. cf. Booth 1961, Rhetoric of Fiction

    6. "It was Woman, with her sudden fears, her irrational whims, her instinctive fears, her unprovoked bravado, her daring and her delicious delicacy of feeling" Who is speaking in this way? Is it the story's hero, concerned to ignore the castrato concealed beneath the woman? Is it the man Balzac, endowed by his personal experience with a philosophy of Woman?

      Interesting that the prompt is gender fluidity.

    7. THE DEATH OF THE AUTHOR / ROLAND BARTHES

      Barthes, Roland. 1967. “Death of the Author.” Edited by Brian O’Doherty. Translated by Richard Howard. Aspen 5+6 (Fall/Winter): Item 3. http://www.ubu.com/aspen/aspen5and6/threeEssays.html#barthes.

    1. he “modern scriptor” (Bar-thes, 1977, p. 146) is no longer the sole conceiver, fabrica-tor, and owner of the published article.

      The modern scriptor is no longer the owner of an article

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