a lover's discourse: fragment

Am I in love? – yes, since I am waiting. The other one never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn’t wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game. Whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover’s fatal identity is precisely this: I am the one who waits.
A squeeze of the hand - enormous documentation - a tiny gesture within the palm, a knee which doesn’t move away, an arm extended, as if quite naturally, along the back of a sofa and against which the other’s head gradually comes to rest - this is the paradisiac realm of subtle and clandestine signs: a kind of festival not of the senses but of meaning.
—  Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments

Love has two affirmations. First of all, when the lover encounters the other, there is an immediate affirmation (psychologically: dazzlement, enthusiasm, exaltation, mad projection of a fulfilled future: I am devoured by desire, the impulse to be happy): I say yes to everything (blinding myself). There follows a long tunnel: my first yes is riddled by doubts, love’s value is ceaselessly threatened by depreciation: this is the moment of melancholy passion, the rising of resentment and oblation. Yet I can emerge from this tunnel; I can ‘surmount,’ without liquidating; what I have affirmed a first time, I can once again affirm, without repeating it, for then what I affirm is the affirmation, not its contingency. I affirm the first encounter in its difference, I desire its return, not its repetition. I say to the other (old or new): Let us begin again.

Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments

I gladly abandon dreary tasks, rational scruples, reactive undertakings imposed by the world, for the sake of a useless task deriving from a dazzling Duty: the lover’s Duty. I perform, discreetly, lunatic chores; I am the sole witness of my lunacy. What love lays bare in me is energy.
—  Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments
To know that one does not write for the other, to know that these things I am going to write will never cause me to be loved by the one I love (the other), to know that writing compensates for nothing, sublimates nothing, that it is precisely there where you are not – this is the beginning of writing.
—  Roland Barthes, from A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments
MUST READ: A Lover's Discourse by Roland Barthes

One of our favorite Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse beautifully and intelligently navigates the realms of loved. Examined with semiotic language, Barthes directs the meaning of love under a passionate psychological microscope. Barthes discusses with fervor the different facets of love: the hopeless romantic, the lustful infatuation, the agonizing terror of never getting a call back from your lover, the fear of abandonment, and the sacrificial martyr. We urge anybody who has ever been in love or has transformed themselves into an anxious lover to read Barthes’ psychoanalytic prose.  

Keep reading

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. The emotion derives from a double contact: on the one hand, a whole activity of discourse discreetly, indirectly focuses upon a single signified, which is “I desire you,” and releases, nourishes, ramifies it to the point of explosion (language experiences orgasm upon touching itself); on the other hand, I enwrap the other in my words, I caress, brush against, talk up this contact, I extend myself to make the commentary to which I submit the relation endure.
—  Roland Barthes, from A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments
“Am I in love? - Yes. since I’m waiting.” The other never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn’t wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game: whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover’s fatal identity is precisely: I am the one who waits.
—  Roland Barthes, from A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments