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Interdisciplinary Barthes$
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Diana Knight

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266670

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266670.001.0001

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Barthes, the Desire to Write, and the Prevision of the Work

Barthes, the Desire to Write, and the Prevision of the Work

(p.276) 17 Barthes, the Desire to Write, and the Prevision of the Work
Interdisciplinary Barthes

Anne Herschberg Pierrot

British Academy

This chapter explores the connections between Le Lexique de l’auteur (the seminar of 1973–4 in which Barthes reflects on the genesis of the text that will become Roland Barthes par Roland Barthes), La Préparation du roman (his last Collège de France lecture course of 1978–80), and critical essays he wrote in the mid- and late 1970s on scription, the ductus, and writing as gesture (from an anthropological point of view, as in the posthumously published Variations sur l’écriture, and within the paintings of Bernard Réquichot and Cy Twombly). The main focus will be on Barthes’s reflection, across the two seminars, on the idea of the virtual work: his exploration of the modalities of literary genesis in the grammatical mood of the ‘as if’, and his development of ways of modelling literary genesis through the concept of the œuvre-maquette. This bringing together of modelling, genesis, and writing as process, placed in relation to the desire to write as a significant dimension of actual writing, is one of the strikingly original aspects of Barthes’s 1970s thought. It is one that the posthumous publication of the seminars and lectures allows us to understand.

Keywords:   Roland Barthes, Le Lexique de l’auteur, La Préparation du roman, literary genesis, desire to write, writing as process, scription, gesture, ductus, œuvre-maquette

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