Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces
In The Preparation of the Novel, a collection of lectures delivered at a defining moment in Roland Barthes's career (and completed just weeks before his death), the critic spoke of his struggle to discover a different way of writing and a new approach to life. The Neutral preceded this work, containing Barthes's challenge to the classic oppositions of Western thought and his effort to establish new pathways of meaning. How to Live Together predates both of these achievements, a series of lectures exploring solitude and the degree of contact necessary for individuals to exist and create at their own pace. A distinct project that sets the tone for his subsequent lectures, How to Live Together is a key introduction to Barthes's pedagogical methods and critical worldview.
In this work, Barthes focuses on the concept of "idiorrhythmy," a productive form of living together in which one recognizes and respects the individual rhythms of the other. He explores this phenomenon through five texts that represent different living spaces and their associated ways of life: Émile Zola's Pot-Bouille, set in a Parisian apartment building; Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, which takes place in a sanatorium; André Gide's La Séquestrée de Poitiers, based on the true story of a woman confined to her bedroom; Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, about a castaway on a remote island; and Pallidius's Lausiac History, detailing the ascetic lives of the desert fathers.
As with his previous lecture books, How to Live Together exemplifies Barthes's singular approach to teaching, in which he invites his audience to investigate with him--or for him--and wholly incorporates his listeners into his discoveries. Rich with playful observations and suggestive prose, How to Live Together orients English-speaking readers to the full power of Barthes's intellectual adventures.
This is Roland Barthes at his inventive and idiosyncratic best: a brilliant and suggestive reader, both of literary texts and the social, psychic, and affective spaces of everyday life.
Diana Knight, University of Nottingham
ForewordPrefaceTranslator's PrefaceSession of January 12INTRODUCTIONMethod? (Method. Culture) - Fantasy - My fantasy: idiorrhythmy - MonarchismSession of January 19INTRODUCTION (continued)Works - Greek network - TraitsAKÈDIA / AKEDIASession of January 26ANACHÔRÈSIS / ANACHORESISHistorically - MetaphoricallyANIMAUX / ANIMALS1. Robinson Crusoe (Phases. History) - 2. AnachoritesATHOS / ATHOSHistory - SpaceSession of February 2ATHOS / ATHOS (continued)Way of Life - Ownership - PowerAUTARCHIE / AUTARKYBANC / SCHOOLBÉGUINAGES / BEGUINAGESHistory - Space - Way of Life - Socio-Economics - Power - ConclusionSession of February 9BUREAUCRATIE / BUREAUCRACYCAUSE / CAUSEChristianity - Other sorts of Telos - Bion - HomeostasisCHAMBRE / ROOM1. The total spaceSession of February 16CHAMBRE / ROOM (continued)2. The room becomes isolated within the house - 3. The room loses its association with the couple ? Cella - The MagnificenzaCHEF / CHIEFSession of March 2CLÔTURE / ENCLOSUREFunctions (Protection. Definition) - Extreme-experienceCOLONIE D'ANACHORÈTES / COLONY OF ANACHORITES1. Qumran sect - 2. Monks of Nitria - 3. Carthusians - 4. The Solitaires of Port-RoyalSession of March 9COUPLAGE / PAIRING1. Principle of pairing - 2. Two examples of strong pairing (Lausaic HistoryDISTANCE / DISTANCEDOMESTIQUES / SERVANTS1. Need = Desire - 2. Need ? DesireSession of March 16ÉCOUTE / HEARINGTerritory and hearing - Repression and hearingÉPONGE / SPONGEÉVÉNEMENT / EVENTFLEURS / FLOWERSIDYLLIQUE / IDYLLSession of March 23MARGINALITÉS / MARGINALITIESFirst margin: coenobitism - Second margin: idiorrhythmyMONÔSIS / MONOSISOne / Two - The desire for Two - In praise of OneNOMS / NAMESNicknamesSession of March 30NOMS / NAMES (continued)Caritatism - No NameNOURRITURE / FOOD1. Rhythms - 2. The foods themselves (the divisions of the forbidden: what's forbidden / what's tolerated). The connotations of foodSession of April 20PROXÉMIE / PROXEMICSThe notion - The lamp - The bedRECTANGLE / RECTANGLECivilization of the rectangle - The frame - Subversions?RÈGLE / RULERegula - Territory - Rule and Custom - Rule and LawSession of April 27SALETÉ / DIRTINESSNoteworthy - Meaning - TactXÉNITIA / XENITIASemantic network - False image - Dereality - ConclusionSession of May 4UTOPIE / UTOPIABUT WHAT ABOUT METHOD?1. Traits. Figures. Boxes - 2. Classification - 3. Digression - 4. Opening a dossier - 5. The supporting-textWHAT IS IT TO HOLD FORTH?RESEARCH ON INVESTED SPEECHSeminarSession of January 12HOLDING FORTH "SoSession of March 23CHARLUS-DISCOURSE1. Kinetics - 2. TriggersSession of March 30CHARLUS-DISCOURSE (continued)3. Allocutionary authority (Andromache. Charlus-Discourse) - 4. Forces ("Psychology." "Psychoanalysis." Intensities) - To take my leave and fix a new appointmentSUMMARYNOTESGLOSSARY OF GREEK TERMSBIBLIOGRAPHYINDEX NOMINUMINDEX RERUM
Read an excerpt from How to Live Together (to view in full screen, click on icon in bottom right-hand corner)