A Lover's Discourse
Roland Barthes; Translated from the French by Richard Howard; Foreword by Wayne Koestenbaum
Hill and Wang
A Lover's Discourse, at its 1978 publication, was revolutionary: Roland Barthes made unprecedented use of the tools of structuralism to explore the whimsical phenomenon of love. Rich with references ranging from Goethe's Werther to Winnicott, from Plato to Proust, from Baudelaire to Schubert, A Lover's Discourse artfully draws a portrait in which every reader will find echoes of themselves.
Praise for A Lover's Discourse
“Barthes's work, along with that of Wilde and Valéry, gives being an aesthete a good name . . . Defending the senses, he never betrayed the mind.” —SUSAN SONTAG
“Barthes's most popular and unusual performance as a writer is A Lover's Discourse, a writing out of the discourse of love. This language--primarily the complaints and reflections of the lover when alone, not exchanges of a lover with her or her partner--is unfashionable. Thought it is spoken by millions of people, diffused in our popular romances and television programs as well as in serious literature, there is no institution that explores, maintains, modifies, judges, repeats, and otherwise assumes responsibility for this discourse . . . Writing out the figures of a neglected discourse, Barthes surprises us in A Lover's Discourse by making love, in its most absurd and sentimental forms, an object of interest.” —Jonathan Culler