Pleasure of the Text

Readings for 9/9/15

Roland Barthes

The theory he developed out of this focus claimed that, while reading for pleasure is a kind of social act, through which the reader exposes him/herself to the ideas of the writer, the final cathartic climax of this pleasurable reading, which he termed the bliss in reading or jouissance, is a point in which one becomes lost within the text. This loss of self within the text or immersion in the text, signifies a final impact of reading that is experienced outside the social realm and free from the influence of culturally associative language and is thus neutral with regard to social progress.

 

Jouissance

In French, jouissance means enjoyment, in terms both of rights and property, and of sexual orgasm — the latter has a meaning partially lacking in the English word "enjoyment". Poststructuralism has developed the latter sense of jouissance in complex ways, so as to denote a transgressive, excessive kind of pleasure linked to the division and splitting of the subject involved.

 

Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hasn’t been shy on the campaign trail about his Presbyterian faith…. He’s also professed his love for the Bible on many occasions, calling it “the greatest book of all time.” But when given the opportunity to share one or two of his favorite Bible verses, he was uncharacteristically mum…. As a result, the Twitterverse decided to do it for him. That’s where #TrumpBible comes in.

 

Identity-First Language

In the autism community, many self-advocates and their allies prefer terminology such as “Autistic,” “Autistic person,” or “Autistic individual” because we understand autism as an inherent part of an individual’s identity — the same way one refers to “Muslims,” “African-Americans,” “Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer,” “Chinese,” “gifted,” “athletic,” or “Jewish.” On the other hand, many parents of Autistic people and professionals who work with Autistic people prefer terminology such as “person with autism,” “people with autism,” or “individual with ASD” because they do not consider autism to be part of an individual’s identity and do not want their children to be identified or referred to as “Autistic.” They want “person-first language,” that puts “person” before any identifier such as “autism,” in order to emphasize the humanity of their children.

 

Maurice Blanchot

In the everyday use of language, words are the vehicles of ideas. The word 'flower' means flower that refers to flowers in the world. No doubt it is possible to read literature in this way, but literature is more than this everyday use of language. For in literature 'flower' does not just mean flower but many things and it can only do so because the word is independent from what it signifies. This independence, which is passed over in the everyday use of language, is the negativity at the heart of language. The word means something because it negates the physical reality of the thing. Only in this way can the idea arise. The absence of the thing is made good by the presence of the idea. What the everyday use of language steps over to make use of the idea, literature remains fascinated by, the absence that makes it possible. Literary language, therefore, is a double negation, both of the thing and the idea. It is in this space that literature becomes possible where words take on a strange and mysterious reality of their own, and where also meaning and reference remain allusive and ambiguous.