How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces

How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces

by Roland Barthes
     
 

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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

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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 of these 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.

In this work, 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 through five texts that represent 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, detailing 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 his listeners into his discoveries. Rich with playful observations and suggestive prose, How to Live Together orients English-speaking readers to the full power of Barthes's intellectual adventures.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231136174
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
12/18/2012
Series:
European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism Series
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
714,349
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Jonathan Culler

Nothing could be less professorial than Barthes' first course at the Collège de France: his fantasmatic method yields a daringly idiosyncratic exploration of "idiorrhythmy," the spaces and rhythms of life, and of ways of balancing community and individuality, from medieval anchorite monks and Robinson Crusoe to the sanatorium of The Magic Mountain.

Jonathan Culler, Cornell University

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.

Read More

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