restricted access Happy Like Neurotics: Roland Barthes, Ben Lerner, and the Writing of Neurosis
Abstract

Abstract:

Modernity was born under the sign of happiness in the claims to common happiness visible in the French and American Revolutions. This dimension of common happiness appears to have receded or been wrecked by the violent path of contemporary history. Here I attempt to rehabilitate the possibility of common happiness through the exploration of the work of Roland Barthes and of the contemporary poet and novelist Ben Lerner. In particular, we can reconstruct from their writing the possibility of neurosis as the means to access the problem of common happiness. While neurosis appears the classical and even banal sign of the blockage of happiness, the very minor status of neurosis can also indicate the contours of the possible experience of common happiness.


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