The language we use when we are in love is not a language we speak, for it is addressed to ourselves and to our imaginary beloved. It is a language of solitude, of mythology, of what Barthes calls an 'image repertoire'.
This book revives - beyond the psychological or clinical enterprises which have characterised such researches in our culture - the notion of the amorous subject. It will be enjoyed and understood by two groups of readers: those who have been in love (or think they have, which is the same thing), and those who have never been in love (or think they have not, which is the same thing). This book might be considered, in its restless search for authorities and examples, which range from Nietzsche to Zen, from Ruysbroek to Debussy, an encyclopaedia of that affirmative discourse which is the lover's.
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Love, here, is a state of the imagination, with the lover desperate to interpret the dire ambiguities inseparable from his role. This is a speculative book, and a melancholy one, an exploration of the idiom of anxiety. Barthes's love is a passion in the old, suffering sense of the word - Observer
May be the most detailed, painstaking anatomy of desire that we are ever likely to see or need again... All readers will find something they recognize in Barthes' recreation of the lover's fevered consciousness: The book is an ecstatic celebration of love and language and...readers interested in either or both...will enjoy savouring its rich and dark delights - Washington Post Book World
Roland Barthes was born in 1915 and studied French literature and classics at the University of Paris. After teaching French at universities in Rumania and Egypt, he joined the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, where he devoted himself to research in sociology and lexicology. He was a professor at the College de France until his death in 1980.