S/Z: An Essay
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Preface by Richard Howard. Translated by Richard Miller. This is Barthes's scrupulous literary analysis of Balzac's short story "Sarrasine."
whimsical (the mactdoine) and later chimerical (the arabesque created by the old man and the girl when seated side by side). I t is bI.. way of this excess which enters the discoUrse after rbetoricJlu... properly saturated it that something can be told and the nar:.rative begin. XV. THE FULL SCORE The area of the (readerly) text is comparable at every point to a (classical ) musical score. The divisions of the syntagm (in its 2.8 gradual movement) correspond to the divisions of the sonic flow
from?" "Wlutt's ~ngr' "WIutt hdB she doner' They lowered their voices and WtJlJted off to talk in greater comfort on some isolated sofa. Never Itdd a richer vein been offered to seekers after mystery. ACI'. .....iding place: 2: to come out of hiding. REF. Ethnic psychology ( Paris, worldly, slanderous, ta1etelling). *** Here we have two further terms of the hermeneutic code: the proposal of fIae enigma each time the discourse tells us, in one way or another, "'There is an enigma," and the avoided
surrounding the old man's identity will be anbodied in a certain number of actions, in themselves mysterious. * (41) Whenever this person croued the threshold of the room he supposed to inhcrbit in the Lcrnty mcrnsion. his ttplJetlf"nce crlWd)'B created " gredt senscrtion ermong the f"mil),. One might htrve CtIlkd it ern event of grecrt imfJort4nce. Filif'/JO, Mcrrianincr, Mme a lARty, crnd ern old serv"nt were the only persons privileged to GIist the old mcrn in wcrlking, rising, sitting down.
expectation and desire for its solution. The dynamics of the text (since it implies a truth to be deciphered) is thus paradoxical: it is a static dynamics: the problem is to mtJintdin the enigma in the initial void of its answer; whereas the sentences quicken the story's "unfolding" and cannot help but move the story along, the henneneutic code perfonns an opposite action: it must set up delays (obstacles, stoppages, deviations) in the Bow of the discourse; its structure is essentially reactive,
Zambinella to Sarrasine. The impossibilities of loving which La Zambinella has heretofore alleged (400, 401, 4(4) were all of a psychological order. What is now advanced is a physical limit. There is a shift from the banal contestation of feelings based on certain psychological attributes (You are ficlcle, 1 am demanding, excluded), each of which was nonetheless deemed a sufficient motive for refusal when it was presented, to the radical contestation of being (1 am not a woman): we will admit