Back to "The Pleasure of the Text" / «Le Plaisir du texte», starting the section called "Brio".

(Notably, the section breaks are denoted by inconspicuous inter-paragraph symbols, and the section titles occur only in the list of names and page numbers that come before (English) or after (French) the text itself).

1/? for this particular thread.

The first paragraph of "Brio" (the one before the single occurrence of the word "Brio") leads me to think about just what this text is.

It does not consist of statements that are easily evaluated as true, or even as putting forth plausible claims.

"If I agree to judge a text according to pleasure, I cannot go on to say: this one is good, that bad."

«Si j'accepte de juger un texte selon le plaisir, je ne puis me laisser aller à dire : celui-ci est bon, celui-là est mauvais.»

This is obviously wrong; of course he/you/we/one can.

2/? (should I be "unlisted"ing these thread-continuations?)

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The rest of the paragraph does not so much argue for the truth of the statement, so much as it puts forward more statements that are obviously not true if interpreted as written.

So I wonder if this is poetry, which one is intended to experience rather than to understand and believe (or not).

Or if it is a sort of personal truth; not so much that these statements are true in general, or even strictly true of Barthes, but that they state the way that Barthes chooses to behave (and perhaps recommends that we behave).


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This approach perhaps works if we note that «je ne puis me laisser à dire» might be more directly translated as, not "I cannot go on to say" but rather "I cannot allow myself to say".

It might be strictly-speaking _true_ that one could, when judging a text according to pleasure, say "This one is good, that bad"; but Barthes cannot allow himself to do that, for the reasons stated in the rest of the paragraph (which are themselves to be taken as statements of things that he does and doesn't allow himself to think or do, not necessarily statements of literal truth).


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"The text (il en est de même pour la voix qui chante) can wring from me only this judgment: c'est ça! Et plus encore : c'est
cela pour moi!"

"That's it! That's it, for me!"

Given the overall context, I think here is suggesting that the genuine reaction to «un texte selon le plaisir» is a singular and essentially orgasmic (what?) cry (scream? howl?).

(Although, to be pedantic, even some moans are louder and more ecstatic than others, eh?)


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He brings Nietzsche in here, which feels extremely appropriate as for instance Zarathustra raises the same question as to say truth vs poetry as this does.

"This 'for me' is neither subjective nor existential , but Nietzschean ('. . . basically, it is always the same question: What is it _for me_?. . .')."


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Good link to Nietzsche; my American Analytic School training points out that "subjective" and "existential" are generally considered rather applicable to much of Nietzsche.

Of course Barthes knows this, so we are left to think that he is either making, or taking for granted, some deeper point about the important differences between the three terms, which is basically left as an exercise for the reader.



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And that is that thread, for now.

It is worth noting that that is all from a _single paragraph_ of this here essay, and it consists mostly of gesturing at deeper issues that one might run off and follow for an hour or a day or a lifetime.

Which is why I seldom finish this sort of thing, even when they are really short... :)


P.S. Perhaps amusingly, the statement:

'. . . basically, it is always the same question: What is it _for me_?. . .'

appears to be Miller's English translation of something written by Gilles Deleuze in "Nietzsche et la Phlosophie" _about_ rather than _by_ Nietzsche.

Unless I'm holding it wrong.

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