11 July 2011

The Eyes Have It

In graduate school, I entertained (albeit briefly) the idea of doing an extended study on Barth, Barthes, & Barth (Karl, Roland, & John). It was silly. I still read a bit in all of them, though. Recently, I picked up my old copy of Roland's The Pleasure of the Text. A few quotes jumped out at me. I post them for your delectation.
"Here, moreover, drawn from psychoanalysis, is an indirect way of establishing the opposition between the text of pleasure and the text of bliss: pleasure can be expressed in words, bliss cannot." (21)
"Emotion: why should it be antipathetic to bliss (I was wrong when I used to see it wholly on the side of sentimentality, of moral illusion)? It is a disturbance, a bordering on collapse: something perverse, under respectable appearances; emotion is even, perhaps, the slyest of losses, for it contradicts the general rule that would assign bliss a fixed form: strong, violent, crude: something inevitably muscular, strained, phallic. Against the general rule: never allow oneself to be deluded by the image of bliss; agree to recognize bliss wherever a disturbance occurs in amatory adjustment (premature, delayed, etc.): passionate love as bliss? Bliss as wisdom (when it manages to understand itself outside its own prejudices)?" (25)
"No object is in a constant relationship with pleasure (Lacan, apropos of Sade). For the writer, however, the object exists: it is not the language, it is the mother tongue. The writer is someone who plays with his mother's body (I refer to Pleynet on Lautréamont and Matisse): in order to glorify it, to embellish it, or in order to dismember it, to take it to the limit of what can be known about the body: I would go so far as to take bliss in a disfiguration of the language, and opinion will strenuously object, since is opposes 'disfiguring nature.'" (37)
"Death of the Father would deprive literature of many of its pleasures. If there is no longer a Father, why tell stories? Doesn't every narrative lead back to Oedipus? Isn't storytelling always a way of searching for one's origin, speaking one's conflicts with the Law, entering into the dialectic of tenderness and hatred? Today, we dismiss Oedipus and narrative at one and the same time: we no longer love, we no longer fear, we no longer narrate. As fiction, Oedipus was at least good for something: to make good novels, to tell good stories…" (47)
"(The monument of psychoanalysis must be traversed—not bypassed—like the fine thoroughfares of a very large city, across which we can play, dream, etc.: a fiction.)" (58)

[The potato should have had eyes.]

No comments: