Quote with 21 notes
In the other’s perfect and “embalmed” figure (for that is the degree to which it fascinates me) I perceive suddenly a speck of corruption. This speck is a tiny one: a gesture, a word, an object, a garment, something unexpected which appears (which dawns) from a region I had never even suspected, and suddenly attaches the loved object to a commonplace world. Could the other be vulgar, whose elegance and originality I had so religiously hymned? Here is a gesture by which is revealed a being of another race. I am flabbergasted: I hear a counter-rhythm: something like a syncope in the lovely phrase of the loved being, the noise of a rip in the smooth envelope of the
We often notice that a writing subject does not have his writing ‘in his own image’: if you love me ‘for myself,’ you do not love me for my writing (and I suffer from it).
Tonight I came back to the hotel alone; the other has decided to return later on. The anxieties are already here, like the poison already prepared (jealousy, abandonment, restlessness); they merely wait for a little time to pass in order to declare themselves with some propriety. I pick up a book and take a sleeping pill, ‘calmly.’ The silence of this huge hotel is echoing, indifferent, idiotic (faint murmur of draining bathtubs); the furniture and the lamps are stupid; nothing friendly that might warm (‘I’m cold, let’s go back to Paris’). Anxiety mounts; I observe its progress, like Socrates chatting (as I am reading) and feeling the cold of the hemlock rising in his body; I hear it identify itself moving up, like an inexorable figure, against the background of the things that are here.
The being I am waiting for is not real. Like the mother’s breast for the infant, “I create and re-create it over and over, starting from my capacity to love, starting from my need for it” : the other comes here where I am waiting, here where I have already created him/her. And if the other does not come, I hallucinate the other: waiting is a delirium.
Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse
Quote with 19 notes
To try to write love is to confront the muck of language: that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little, excessive and impoverished.
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