How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces

Overview

In The Preparation of the Novel, a collection of lectures delivered at a defining moment in Roland Barthes's career (and completed just weeks before his death), the critic spoke of his struggle to discover a different way of writing and a new approach to life. The Neutral preceded this work, containing Barthes's challenge to the classic oppositions of Western thought and his effort to establish new pathways of meaning. How to Live Together predates both achievements, a series of lectures exploring solitude and ...

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Overview

In The Preparation of the Novel, a collection of lectures delivered at a defining moment in Roland Barthes's career (and completed just weeks before his death), the critic spoke of his struggle to discover a different way of writing and a new approach to life. The Neutral preceded this work, containing Barthes's challenge to the classic oppositions of Western thought and his effort to establish new pathways of meaning. How to Live Together predates both achievements, a series of lectures exploring solitude and the degree of contact necessary for individuals to exist and create at their own pace. A distinct project that sets the tone for his subsequent lectures, How to Live Together is a key introduction to Barthes's pedagogical methods and critical worldview.

Barthes focuses on the concept of "idiorrhythmy," a productive form of living together in which one recognizes and respects the individual rhythms of the other. He explores this phenomenon in five texts representing different living spaces and their associated ways of life: Émile Zola's Pot-Bouille, set in a Parisian apartment building; Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, which takes place in a sanatorium; André Gide's La Séquestrée de Poitiers, based on the true story of a woman confined to her bedroom; Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, about a castaway on a remote island; and Pallidius's Lausiac History, on the ascetic lives of the desert fathers. As with his previous lecture books, How to Live Together exemplifies Barthes's singular approach to teaching, in which he invites his audience to investigate with him, or for him, and wholly incorporates them into his discoveries. Rich with playful observations and suggestive, clarifying prose, How to Live Together is a foundational text orienting English-speaking readers to the full power of Barthes's intellectual adventures.

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Editorial Reviews

Diana Knight
This is Roland Barthes at his inventive and idiosyncratic best: a brilliant and suggestive reader, both of literary texts and the social, psychic, and affective spaces of everyday life.
Susan Sontag
Roland Barthes repeatedly compared teaching to play, reading to eros, writing to seduction. His voice became more and more personal, more full of grain, as he called it; his intellectual art more openly a performance, like that of the other great anti-systematizers.... All of Barthes's work is an exploration of the histrionic or lucidic; in many ingenious modes, a plea for savor, for a festive (rather than dogmatic or credulous) relation to ideas. For Barthes, the point is to make us bold, agile, subtle, intelligent, detached. And to give pleasure.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Roland Barthes (1915—1980) was a French literary theorist, philosopher, critic, and semiotician whose work has been central to the delineation and development of numerous schools of theory, including structuralism, semiotics, existentialism, social theory, Marxism, anthropology, and post-structuralism. His books include The Preparation of the Novel: Lecture Courses and Seminars at the Collège de France (1978—1979 and 1979—1980); The Neutral: Lecture Course at the College de France (1977—1978); Mythologies; S/Z; A Lover's Discourse; and Camera Lucida.

Kate Briggs is the translator of Roland Barthes's The Preparation of the Novel: Lecture Courses and Seminars at the College de France (1978—1979 and 1979—1980).

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

ForewordPrefaceTranslator's PrefaceSession of January 12INTRODUCTIONMethod? (Method. Culture) — Fantasy — My fantasy: idiorrhythmy — MonarchismSession of January 19INTRODUCTION (continued)Works — Greek network — TraitsAKÈDIA / AKEDIASession of January 26ANACHÔRÈSIS / ANACHORESISHistorically — MetaphoricallyANIMAUX / ANIMALS1. Robinson Crusoe (Phases. History) — 2. AnachoritesATHOS / ATHOSHistory — SpaceSession of February 2ATHOS / ATHOS (continued)Way of Life — Ownership — PowerAUTARCHIE / AUTARKYBANC / SCHOOLBÉGUINAGES / BEGUINAGESHistory — Space — Way of Life — Socio-Economics — Power — ConclusionSession of February 9BUREAUCRATIE / BUREAUCRACYCAUSE / CAUSEChristianity — Other sorts of Telos — Bion — HomeostasisCHAMBRE / ROOM1. The total spaceSession of February 16CHAMBRE / ROOM (continued)2. The room becomes isolated within the house — 3. The room loses its association with the couple—Cella — The MagnificenzaCHEF / CHIEFSession of March 2CLÔTURE / ENCLOSUREFunctions (Protection. Definition) — Extreme-experienceCOLONIE D'ANACHORÈTES / COLONY OF ANACHORITES1. Qumran sect — 2. Monks of Nitria — 3. Carthusians — 4. The Solitaires of Port-RoyalSession of March 9COUPLAGE / PAIRING1. Principle of pairing — 2. Two examples of strong pairing (Lausaic HistoryDISTANCE / DISTANCEDOMESTIQUES / SERVANTS1. Need = Desire — 2. Need—DesireSession of March 16ÉCOUTE / HEARINGTerritory and hearing — Repression and hearing ÉPONGE / SPONGEÉVÉNEMENT / EVENTFLEURS / FLOWERSIDYLLIQUE / IDYLLSession of March 23MARGINALITÉS / MARGINALITIESFirst margin: coenobitism — Second margin: idiorrhythmyMONÔSIS / MONOSISOne / Two — The desire for Two — In praise of OneNOMS / NAMESNicknamesSession of March 30NOMS / NAMES (continued)Caritatism — No NameNOURRITURE / FOOD1. Rhythms — 2. The foods themselves (the divisions of the forbidden: what's forbidden / what's tolerated). The connotations of foodSession of April 20PROXÉMIE / PROXEMICSThe notion — The lamp — The bedRECTANGLE / RECTANGLECivilization of the rectangle — The frame — Subversions? RÈGLE / RULERegula — Territory — Rule and Custom — Rule and LawSession of April 27SALETÉ / DIRTINESSNoteworthy — Meaning — TactXÉNITIA / XENITIASemantic network — False image — Dereality — ConclusionSession of May 4UTOPIE / UTOPIABUT WHAT ABOUT METHOD? 1. Traits. Figures. Boxes — 2. Classification — 3. Digression — 4. Opening a dossier — 5. The supporting-textWHAT IS IT TO HOLD FORTH—RESEARCH ON INVESTED SPEECHSeminarSession of January 12HOLDING FORTH "SoSession of March 23CHARLUS-DISCOURSE1. Kinetics — 2. TriggersSession of March 30CHARLUS-DISCOURSE (continued)3. Allocutionary authority (Andromache. Charlus-Discourse) — 4. Forces ("Psychology." "Psychoanalysis." Intensities) — To take my leave and fix a new appointmentSUMMARYNOTESGLOSSARY OF GREEK TERMSBIBLIOGRAPHYINDEX NOMINUMINDEX RERUM

Columbia University Press

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