What is it that we do when we enjoy a text? What is the pleasure of reading? The French critic and theorist Roland Barthes's answers to these questions constitute "perhaps for the first time in the history of criticism . . . not only a poetics of reading . . . but a much more difficult achievement, an erotics of reading . . . . Like filings which gather to form a figure in a magnetic field, the parts and pieces here do come together, determined to affirm the pleasure we must take in our reading as against the indifference of (mere) knowledge." --Richard Howard
About the Author
Roland Barthes (1915-1980) was a French cultural and literary critic, whose clever and lyrical writings on semiotics made structuralism one of the leading movements of the twentieth century. Barthes had a cult following and published seventeen books, including Camera Lucida, Mythologies, and A Lover's Discourse.
“Barthes repeatedly compared teaching to play, reading to eros, writing to seduction. His voice became more and more personal, more full of grain, as he called it; his intellectual art more openly a performance, like that of the other great anti-systematizers . . . All of Barthes work is an exploration the histrionic or ludic; in many ingenious modes, a plea for savor, for a festive (rather than dogmatic or credulous) relation to ideas. For Barthes, the point is to make us bold, agile, subtle, intelligent, detached. And to give pleasure.” —Susan Sontag