The Preparation of the Novel: Lecture Courses and Seminars at the College de France (1978-1979 and 1979-1980)

Overview

Completed just weeks before his death, the lectures in this volume mark a critical juncture in the career of Roland Barthes, in which he declared the intention, deeply felt, to write a novel. Unfolding over the course of two years, Barthes engaged in a unique pedagogical experiment: he combined teaching and writing to "simulate" the trial of novel-writing, exploring every step of the creative process along the way.

Barthes's lectures move from the desire to write to the actual ...

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Overview

Completed just weeks before his death, the lectures in this volume mark a critical juncture in the career of Roland Barthes, in which he declared the intention, deeply felt, to write a novel. Unfolding over the course of two years, Barthes engaged in a unique pedagogical experiment: he combined teaching and writing to "simulate" the trial of novel-writing, exploring every step of the creative process along the way.

Barthes's lectures move from the desire to write to the actual decision making, planning, and material act of producing a novel. He meets the difficulty of transitioning from short, concise notations (exemplified by his favorite literary form, haiku) to longer, uninterrupted flows of narrative, and he encounters a number of setbacks. Barthes takes solace in a diverse group of writers, including Dante, whose La Vita Nuova was similarly inspired by the death of a loved one, and he turns to classical philosophy, Taoism, and the works of François-René Chateaubriand, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Kafka, and Marcel Proust.

This book uniquely includes eight elliptical plans for Barthes's unwritten novel, which he titled Vita Nova, and lecture notes that sketch the critic's views on photography. Following on The Neutral: Lecture Course at the Collège de France (1977-1978) and a third forthcoming collection of Barthes lectures, this volume provides an intensely personal account of the labor and love of writing.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

The Prague Post

(I)ntriguingly eclectic. It is fascinating to see this formidable, malleable intellect applied to such a wide range of topics, and with more spontaneity than is evident in most of Barthes' publications. The Prague Post

Rain Taxi
The Preparation of the Novel will generate some jouissance indeed.

— Spencer Dew

Rain Taxi - Spencer Dew

The Preparation of the Novel will generate some jouissance indeed.

From the Publisher

Praise for Roland Barthes: "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."—Susan Sontag

Columbia University Press

Philosophy In Review - Nicholas P. Greco

The reader is afforded a genuine look behind the enigmatic curtain of Barthes' writings; here the physical, spacial, vocal Roland Barthes is arrested - captured - for all to experience.

Rain Taxi

The Preparation of the Novel will generate some jouissance indeed.

— Spencer Dew

The Prague Post

(I)ntriguingly eclectic. It is fascinating to see this formidable, malleable intellect applied to such a wide range of topics, and with more spontaneity than is evident in most of Barthes' publications.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Roland Barthes (1915-1980) was one of the most influential critics and philosophers of the twentieth century. His works include The Neutral, Mythologies, S/Z, A Lover's Discourse, and Camera Lucida.

Columbia University Press

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