Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Et si je n'avais pas lu . . . ~ And if I hadn't read . . .

Roland Barthes on Roland Barthes (trans. Richard Howard):
And if I hadn't read Hegel, or La Princesse de Clèves, or Lévi-Strauss on Les Chats, or l'Anti-Œdipe?--The book which I haven't read and which is frequently told to me even before I have time to read it (which is perhaps the reason I don't read it): this book exists to the same degree as the other: it has its intelligibility, its memorability, its mode of action. Have we not enough freedom to receive a text without the letter?

(Repression: not to have read Hegel would be an exorbitant defect for a philosophy teacher, for a Marxist intellectual, for a Bataille specialist. But for me? Where do my reading duties begin?)
Interesting use of the conditional tense there--rather like Austen's "perhaps," I'd say...

I have not read Hegel!

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