S/Z

“Language was both a luxury and a discipline for Barthes. He pursued a subject through language until he cornered it, until its disguise fell away and it was revealed in a kind of epiphany. In his own way, he cleaned the face of Paris more thoroughly than Andre Malraux did when he ordered its buildings washed down to their original colors and arranged for lights to be played upon them. Musing on the kind of painting done by someone like Ingres, Barthes says that ‘painters have left movement the amplified sign of the unstable . . . the solemn shudder of a pose impossible to fix in time . . . the motionless overvaluation of the ineffable.’ This might also serve as his definition of classical French prose, and in order to escape its encroachment, Barthes prodded, squeezed and sniffed at language, like a great chef buying fruits and vegetables. He munched distinctions. His sentence rhythms were those of a man who talks with his hands.”Anatole Broyard

“I decided to write a paper on Barthes’ S/Z after it was highly recommended to me by my professor of literary criticism. Criticism usually puts me to sleep when I read it, and this professor claimed that S/Z kept him up all night, it was so fascinating. This was not the case for my first reading of S/Z, but the more I opened the book, the more interesting it became. Barthes’ criticism is of the most unusual kind; what he writes about Balzac’s Sarrasine is “neither wholly image nor analysis” – it is his reading of Balzac’s text, a very close and detailed reading. I began to appreciate S/Z even more when I began my own project of dissecting a text using Barthes’ theories. It was a difficult endeavor, but it helped me to understand what an incredible piece of work S/Z is. Barthes uses Sarrasine to look at liturature – what it is, who reads it, what happens when we read, and to show that reading for the consumption of stories is only to deny ourselves of the real pleasure of the text.” – Unnamed customer review

“There is nothing in this book that you can not learn from the poetry of Wallace Stevens or the fiction of Virginia Woolf. However, Barthes does something that I would have thought impossible, had I not read S/Z. Rather than hinting at truths with conflicts or alluding to them with silences the way that poets do, he points his finger right at them and names them with simple, easy to understand words. He is a lot like William Blake in this way, without the visions of angels.” – Suzanne Tolbert

I saw the book in my visit to Books Actually that day. My current dream book, which is not available in the libraries. My best bet is Abebooks currently, but still I am on a no-income basis and am trying not to spend so much on books and otherwise. I was incredibly tempted, but the prices! The price of Roland Barthes’ S/Z was about five times its price everywhere else, but fingering it and reading a few of the sections made a little of me come alive. I’ve read Sarrasine, which I absolutely adored, but there is nothing I love more than to see a good critical author take it apart his own way too. Roland Barthes possibly counts as my second favourite author in the world, and Lover’s Discourses is my favourite book in my collection. I have been collecting various books from Barthes, which are my pride. Alas, the temptation of S/Z! But I shall stay off the temptation for another year perhaps till next November perhaps and get Barthes’ Image-Music-Text too.

I’ve been busy on tutorials, but had a great weekend past! I haven’t had time to edit the photographs, but will be sharing about X’s cute bunny Thumper and her little Yorkshire terrier, Bebe, too! Also went to a fantastic concert on Saturday! I really loved Rainie Yang singing ‘Qi Zi’ by Faye Wong! I really love Faye Wong but guiltily did not remember this song until she sang it! Doesn’t the video give you such high school memories?

‎”Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities…will always be the favored beverage of the intellectual.” -Thomas DeQuincy

I am also recently obsessed about finding Gryphon tea. My favourite tea is Bai Mei white tea which I once had at Dorchester, but there seems to be only one source online which carries it, and prohibitively expensive for daily drinking. But I was surprised to find a trace of something familiar in Chaomomile Dream, a blend of chamomoile, marigold and another ingredient which I have forgotten. I first had it at Jazz@ Southbrige (now 7@ Atenine) and refinding a sample in Books Actually (which was out of stock on chamomoile tea) only confirmed my initial opinion. I have always been trying different types of chamomoile in my period of chamomile in London – TWG, Waitrose, Twining, Harney & Sons even (which carries my favourite Bai Mei white tea, which resembles little stars). But I seem to like the Gryphon one better, which is a good thing because Gryphon is a local company! However it is currently sold out at several places and I have not been able to find it.

I am intrigued by – Chamomoile Dream, Vanilla Sencha, and WGS Blend (which apparently is a tea containing traces of muscat!)

The best friend likes heavier teas, and some of my favourite moments of him are of him waking up too early/in the middle of the day and sniffing/having tea. Or him carrying a little pot of rose tea. Or of him talking about his favourite teas.

I never quite liked teas so much until I went to London, or met the best friend. So a pot of good tea still brings back traces of happy memories.

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