Dialectics of Love in the ‘Early’ and ‘Late’ Writings of Roland Barthes

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2022 (EL)

Dialectics of Love in the ‘Early’ and ‘Late’ Writings of Roland Barthes (EN)

Stafford, Andy

It is well-known that Roland Barthes spent the Second World War in a sanatorium for tuberculosis; less appreciated is the voluminous and frank correspondence that he sent to his closest associates and lovers, often in moments of despair and distress. Some of these letters have been published in Album (2018); and, more recently, in Frédéric Goldbronn’s documentary Les fantômes du sana (2020). From these long and heart- felt communications with his friends emerge not only a complex account of illness and hope for recovery but also deep reflections on love, friendship and heartache. In January 1946, writing to his much-missed partner Robert David, Barthes described the “logical dialectic of Love” and its extraordinary power over everything. “In reason,” he confided, “logic has the power of royalty; in love, it is one of tyranny.” Having therefore to accept the panic caused by every “sign” generated in his amorous mind as an “absolute pressure of an internal dialectic,” this then “became confused with love itself.” How does this dialectic of love develop in Barthes’s published writings? Is it part of the “double grasp” that is at work in Michelet in 1954 and Mythologies in 1957, and in A Lover’s Discourse and the seminars on love twenty years later? (EN)

Peer-reviewed Article (EN)

synthesis (EN)
early writings (EN)
love (EN)
marxism (EN)
late writings (EN)
comparative literary studies (EN)
A Lover's Discourse (EN)
revolution (EN)
myth (EN)
Michelet (EN)
Hegel (EN)
Roland Barthes (EN)
dialectic (EN)
letters (EN)


Αγγλική γλώσσα


National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (EN)

Synthesis: an Anglophone Journal of Comparative Literary Studies; No. 14 (2021): Dissident Self-Narratives: Radical and Queer Life Writing; 52-69 (EN)

Copyright (c) 2022 Andy Stafford (EN)

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