A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments – Roland Barthes (1977)

1960s: Days of Rage

“In the slim volume of A Lover’s Discourse, French philosopher and literary critic Roland Barthes attempts to deconstruct one of the most powerful of human experiences: that of falling in love. Barthes claims that modern society lacks a language with which to discuss love – a notable change from times past in which it was the sexual, rather than the emotional aspects of love that were considered taboo. This should concern us as, without a system with which to analyse and interpret amorous experience, we are left to practice an unhealthy and unreflective form of love, which can do immense damage to all the parties involved. The stakes are particularly high: when tended properly, love can blossom into a deep and lasting contentment, or become a source of inexhaustible energy and inspiration. If mistreated, however, love can become a source of intense psychological pain, the cause of suicide, or…

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