A la recherche du temps perdu











"What is there of Desire in reading? Desire cannot be named, not even (unlike Demand) expressed. Yet it is certain that there is an eroticism of reading (in reading, desire is there with its object, which is the definition of eroticism). Of this eroticism of reading, there is perhaps no purer apologue than that episode in Proust’s novel where the young Narrator shuts himself up in the Combray bathroom in order to read…

Thus, a desiring reading appears, marked with two institutive features. By shutting himself up to read, by making reading into an absolutely separated, clandestine state in which the whole world is abolished, the reader is identified with two other human subjects—actually quite close to each other—whose state also requires a violent separation: the amorous subject and the mystic subject."
—  Roland Barthes, The Rustle of Language, trans. Richard Howard