Language / Writing | Roland Barthes

Roland Barthes after his BA in 1935



“Language is never innocent.”

“I am interested in language because it wounds or seduces me.” *

“The book creates meaning, the meaning creates life.” *

“Writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin.”

“Literature is that which he can not read without pain, without choking on truth.”

“The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture.”

“Don’t bleach language, savour it instead. Stroke it gently or even groom it, 
but don’t “purify” it.” ~

“Are not couturiers the poets who, from year to year, from 
strophe to strophe, write the anthem of the feminine body?” -

“What I hide by my language, my body utters.”


“I pass lightly through the reactionary darkness.” *


Roland Barthes, Sanatorium de Saint-Hilaire, 1942



“There is nothing in discourse that is not to be found in a sentence.” ^

“Incoherence seems to me preferable to a distorting order.”


“A creative writer is one for whom writing is a problem.” +

“Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words 
instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with 
desire.”

“It must always be considered as though spoken by a character in a novel”

“The author enters into his own death, writing begins.” ^

“mad I cannot be, sane I do not deign to be, neurotic I am.”

“Any demand is frigid until desire, until neurosis forms in it.” *

“I have a disease; I see language.”



Roland Barthes / 1915-80

* The Pleasure of the Text, ^ Image, Music, Text, - The Language of Fashion, + Writing Degree Zero 
and Elements of Semiology, ~ The Neutral: Lecture Course at the College de France



“The bastard form of mass culture is humiliated repetition... always new 
books, new programs, new films, news items, but always the same meaning.”


Roland Barthes


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