‘Où est le sang de Roland Barthes?’
December 1, 2011 6:33 PM   Subscribe

But like many an inarticulate young lover, I thought for a time that seduction was a matter of giving the right book to the right woman. In my case it was Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse: a meditation on Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther that catalogues the melancholic lover’s prized ‘image repertoire’ – the scene of waiting, the feeling of being dissolved in the presence of the loved being, the attraction of suicide – and thinly veils the author’s own life as a middle-aged gay man in Paris in the 1970s. This gift was always a prelude to disaster.
RB and Me: An Education is an essay by Brian G. Dillon about his relationship with the books of French philosopher Roland Barthes. It's also a lovely autobiography of an awkward boy finding his place in life. Dillon's website collects his essays, and is trove of interesting insight. Besides writing essays and fiction, Dillon is also the UK editor of Cabinet Magazine, and you can read a fair number of his articles online, including ones on Beau Brummel and the cravat, hypochondria and hydrotherapy.
posted by Kattullus (4 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
It begins...
posted by Trurl at 7:01 PM on December 1, 2011

Barthes' book "Empire of Signs" is one of the most insightful books you'll ever read about Japan. Even more amazing because he only spent a few weeks in the country. Truly a remarkable mind.
posted by jet_manifesto at 7:18 PM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Love that cravat piece, particularly the bit about not trying to tweak it once its been tied. There's something poetic about that, like the act of tying it is a performance.
posted by modernserf at 8:05 PM on December 1, 2011

The book that saved me – because it was always going to be a book that saved me, even if books were part of the problem

posted by EvaDestruction at 8:20 PM on December 1, 2011

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