After Roland Barthes’s unexpected death in March 1980, the posthumous publication of two of his “diaries,” whose existence had only been known to a handful of people, sparked controversy among his literary executors, family, former students, and friends. Although various commentators took sides over which of the two texts was the most compromising, significantly, the consensus among readers seemed to be that some texts are too intimate to publish. The move by Barthes’s interlocutors to designate some texts as “intimate” above others, and to locate a prohibition against publishing in this essential quality of “intimacy,” reveals an unresolved tension between the postmodern distrust of autobiographical veracity on the one hand, and readerly desire and fantasy, on the other. Further, this ambiguous and often self-contradictory position is one that Barthes himself increasingly claimed and privileged in his own late works, including his seminars Le Neutre and La Préparation du roman.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 405-421
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.