Brittany Kubes's Reviews > A Lover's Discourse: Fragments

A Lover's Discourse by Roland Barthes
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Aug 19, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, french, 20th-century-lit

“This ‘affective contagion,’ this induction, proceeds from others, from the language, from books, from friends: no love is original...‘Some people would never have been in love, had they never heard love talked about’ (La Rouchefoucauld).”

I can’t believe I’ve never read this before, this that perpetuates in part my life’s theory (so far) on people in love!!! Barthes deconstructs ‘being in love’ through fragment chapters, each part of the courtship from its various sequences to the significance of saying ‘I love you’ to the most important part: the roles of lover (subject) v. loved (object).

After discovering this pattern by doing research studies on myself/myfriends, it’s exciting to see categorized and commented on by a specialist (a French literary theorist). The pattern that (I’m now 1000% certain) exists in every relationship: one who serves and waits v. one who is served and waited for. “But isn’t desire always the same, whether the object is present or absent? Isn’t the object always absent? – This isn’t the same languor: there are two words: Pothos, desire for the absent being, and Himeros, the more burning desire for the present being.” In the end, for lovers, can it be that: “it is my desire I desire, and the loved being is no more than its tool” ?

The stages of love, according to Barthes, range from -1- first ravishment (first meeting, first falling in love) to -2- the ‘happy interval’ “during which I ecstatically explore the perfection of the loved being,” immediately before -3- the difficulties of amorous relationship begin, including the “long train of sufferings, wounds, anxieties, distresses, resentments, despairs, embarrassments, and deceptions to which I fall prey…” And finally, -4- parting ways when lover has stopped the loving: “Though each love is experienced as unique and though the subject rejects the notion of repeating it elsewhere later on, he sometimes discovers in himself a kind of diffusion of amorous desire; he then realizes he is doomed to wander until he dies, from love to love…”

I only wished that the context of WHY people choose being a lover/loved would be explored – like people trying to escape solitude, and/or to keep up with the joneses that are marrying and having kids. I’d prefer thought on that instead of the Freudian ‘adult love being a mom replacement’ mantra.

After all of this, I still luv love, even though I’d classify myself as a subject. But I need to take a break from reading about it :-s
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Gregory (new)

Gregory I still read, you know, I just never get around to putting things on here... But by far, your reviews are the best things to read on this site, anyway...


Brittany Kubes :]

the last book you read is intriguing. are you really in CA? respond to my email i sent you last year !


message 3: by Gregory (new)

Gregory ha! ok!


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