Language is never innocent / Writing is the destruction of every voice | Roland Barthes, 1915-80

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.”


“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, 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


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