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Suspending Events, Loving the Margin: Solitude According to Barthes

Sabine Hillen and Gila Walker
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Vol. 31, No. 1, Roland Barthes Retroactively: Reading the Collège de France Lectures (March 2008), pp. 61-71
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43151870
Page Count: 11
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Suspending Events, Loving the Margin: Solitude According to Barthes
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Abstract

In our contemporary society one would be tempted to see solitude as the result of individualism. The most striking idea Barthes developed in Comment vivre ensemble was the way in which solitude could be lived as a collective experience.This collective enterprise was not the result of a selfish retreat devoted to personal preoccupations. It fulfilled itself rather as an action dedicated to the other. In front of this singular way of seeing, the question arises how Barthes conceived this culture of distance as a 'social' action. Is it correct to present this ideological pathway as a form of courtesy, implying that others do not need to be confronted with the inner life of the individual? Taking these preliminary thoughts as a keystone, my article explores the content Barthes gives to his so-called socialisme des distances and how texts of early mystical societies develop this notion of distance.

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