“Speech is irreversible; that is its fatality. What has been said cannot be unsaid, except by adding to it: to correct, here, is, oddly enough, to continue. In speaking, I can never erase, annul; all I can do is say “I am erasing, annulling, correcting,” in short, speak some more. This very singular annulation-by-addition I shall call “stammering.” Stammering is a message spoiled twice over: it is difficult to understand, but with an effort it can be understood all the same; it is really neither in language nor outside it: it is a noise of language comparable to the knocks by which a motor lets it be known that it is not working properly; such is precisely the meaning of the misfire, the auditory sign of a failure which appears in the functioning of the object. Stammering (of the motor or of the subject) is, in short, a fear: I am afraid the motor is going to stop.” — 

Roland Barthes, “The Rustle of Language”

(via heteroglossia)

“What is there of Desire in reading? Desire cannot be named, not even (unlike Demand) expressed. Yet it is certain that there is an eroticism of reading (in reading, desire is there with its object, which is the definition of eroticism). Of this eroticism of reading, there is perhaps no purer apologue than that episode in Proust’s novel where the young Narrator shuts himself up in the Combray bathroom in order to read…

Thus, a desiring reading appears, marked with two institutive features. By shutting himself up to read, by making reading into an absolutely separated, clandestine state in which the whole world is abolished, the reader is identified with two other human subjects—actually quite close to each other—whose state also requires a violent separation: the amorous subject and the mystic subject.”

Roland Barthes, The Rustle of Language, trans. Richard Howard

(via proustitute)