2016年7月29日 星期五

Barthes 寫《符號帝國》THE EMPIRE OF SIGNS By Roland Barthes

Roland Barthes 寫的《符號帝國》的漢譯本,我80年代買過、讀過兩版版。現在封箱了。

Barthes 寫過日本這《符號帝國》。然而日本得臣服於艾菲爾塔,因為她在東京也一再地要與它「修‧破‧離」。 (嘿嘿,有點胡說。)


 江灝譯《符號帝國》台北:麥田出版,詹偉雄導讀,頁13-59,2014.10.1 初版一刷、2015.11.19 初版四刷
這本的圖,與記憶中的似乎差別頗大。

2014年,台灣的翻譯者成熟多了,譬如說,頁109註解《風姿花傳》可以解釋一下內容。

頁178-79的註解可以指出"原作者巴特誤植,是William Wordsworth的,不是莎士比亞的話。"

Empire of Signs,'' for Barthes - The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/books/97/09/14/reviews/1419.html
Sep 12, 1982 - Lead: THE EMPIRE OF SIGNS By Roland Barthes. .... In Barthes's Japan, Zen is all-important, especially for ''that loss of meaning Zen calls a ...

Lead: THE EMPIRE OF SIGNS By Roland Barthes. Translated by Richard Howard. Illustrated. 128 pp. New York: Hill & Wang. $12.95. A BARTHES READER Edited, and With an Introduction, by Susan Sontag. 495 pp. New York: Hill & Wang. $20.SINCE his death in 1980, Roland Barthes has continued to grow in stature as a writer. To be sure, he has long been recognized as a thinker; he was, after all, the founder of semiology, the study of signs (which the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, who first proposed such a study, defined as ''a science that studies the life of signs within society''). What is new about Barthes's posthumous reputation is the view of him as a writer whose books of criticism and personal musings must be admired as serious and beautiful works of the imagination.
Text:
In her introductory essay to ''A Barthes Reader,'' and indeed in her very selection of readings from Barthes, Susan Sontag makes a convincing argument for Barthes the Great Writer. She sees him as the true heir to Andre Gide, since both are ''supple, multiple'' as well as ''elusive, willing to be minor.'' She contrasts Barthes with Jean-Paul Sartre, whose ''evangelical contempt for literature'' and insistence on the writer's need to be politically committed led him finally to make a mockery of his own great talents. In this context Barthes emerges as the Artful Dodger of French letters - canny, evasive, a modest, subtle commentator, someone who disowned or revised his earlier work with each new book.
This complexity was something Gerard Genette observed in a 1964 essay on Barthes, ''The Obverse of Signs'' (included in his volume of essays called ''Figures of Literary Discourse''). Genette remarked that in the 10 years after the publication of his first book, ''Writing Degree Zero,'' Barthes passed from a Sartrean blend of existentialism and Marxism, through the ''substantial psychoanalysis'' of Gaston Bachelard, on to a feisty, sarcastic Marxist ''critique of everyday life'' in ''My-thologies.'' From there Barthes proceeded to a more Freudian form of psychoanalysis in his study of Racine. Genette concluded that the ''texts collected in 'Critical Essays' (1964) seem to express a decisive conversion to structuralism, understood in its strictest form, and the abandonment of any responsibility towards meaning; literature and social life are now merely languages, which should be studied as pure formal systems, not for their content, but for their structure.''
BARTHES underwent at least one more conversion, evident in his three last books: ''Roland Barthes,'' ''A Lover's Discourse'' and ''Camera Lucida.'' With this trilogy Barthes in a sense returned to his Gidean beginnings (his first published essay was on Gide), to the self-examining if not confessing Gide of the Journals; for Barthes in these books (to use the lovely phrase of his expert translator, Richard Howard) was ''intimate but not personal.''
Despite these changes in method (all of them well represented in ''A Barthes Reader''), a remarkable consistency characterized Barthes's temperament, his style and his eye. One might say of him what he wrote about his model: ''Gide is a simultaneous being. To a greater or lesser degree, Nature has posited him as complete, from the very first. He has merely taken the time to reveal the various aspects of himself in succession. ...'' One of the unifying, ''simultaneous'' aspects of Barthes's literary personality is his fastidiousness. As Genette said, ''Barthesian semiology is, both in its origin and in its active principle, that of a man fascinated by the sign, a fascination that no doubt involves, as it does for Flaubert or Baudelaire, an element of repulsion, and which has the essentially ambiguous character of a passion.''
This repulsion for the ''overfed'' meanings or the ''diseased'' signs of our petit-bourgeois culture with its advertising, glossy theatrical spectacles, agony columns and child prodigies is one of Barthes's reasons for writing his book about Japan, ''The Empire of Signs.'' In the two volumes of ''Mythologies'' he rubbed his hands with gruesome relish over the hidden meanings latent in nearly every artifact of Western pop culture. In ''The Empire of Signs'' (which might more properly be called ''The Empire of Empty Signs'') Barthes writes with admiration of the place Miss Sontag calls an ''esthete's utopia'' where nothing lurks behind the beguiling surface.
Barthes more than once said, ''A named meaning is a dead meaning,'' and one of his favorite images was of Orpheus (the signifier) condemning Eurydice (the signified) to eternal death by looking back at her. One might say that Barthes, contradicting Aristotelian Nature, abhorred everything that wasn't a vacuum. He was far too elegant and tentative, too much the dandy, to feel entirely at home in the West with its looming, unmistakable pregnancies of meaning. To me Barthes has always been unexpectedly funny, never more so than in the superficially sober and meticulous ''S/Z,'' his line-by-line analysis of a short story by Balzac. Barthes decodes and deflates the pretensions to meaning present everywhere in Balzac's ''realistic'' text, which he ends up by treating as a sort of grand computer stocked with cliches and chattering away to itself. Behind this chatter, this cultural yammering, Barthes detects a terrible anxiety in Western society, an unarticulated fear that language itself means nothing, that it is merely an automaton's gesture flagging down the void.
IF Japan did not exist, Barthes would have had to invent it - not that Japan does exist in ''The Empire of Signs,'' for Barthes is careful to point out that he is not analyzing the real Japan but rather one of his own devising. In this fictive Japan, there is no terrible innerness as in the West, no soul, no God, no fate, no ego, no grandeur, no metaphysics, no ''pro-motional fever'' and finally no meaning.
In Barthes's Japan, Zen is all-important, especially for ''that loss of meaning Zen calls a satori.'' If ''S/Z'' is an examination of the stink of personality and the baneful yearning for transcendence that has corrupted the West, then ''The Empire of Signs'' is its antidote: a study of a hypothetical society where things possess an innocence. For instance, in Japan, Barthes declares that ''sexuality is in sex, not elsewhere; in the United States, it is the contrary; sex is everywhere, except in sexuality.'' Similarly, the famous flower arranging of Japan is an art not concerned with symbolism but with gesture; there the point of a gift is not what it contains but the exquisite package that encloses it; and the Bunraku puppet theater is superb because of its reserve, its avoidance of the hysteria of the Western theater, its delegation of ''the whole cuisine of emotion'' to the speaker who sits to one side of the stage. Barthes contrasts the attitudes of the Western theater and the Japanese: ''The voice: real stake of our modernity, special substance of language, which we try to make triumph everywhere. Quite the contrary, Bunraku has a limited notion of the voice; it does not suppress the voice, but assigns it a very clearly defined, essentially trivial function.''
Barthes once called Voltaire ''the last happy writer,'' by which he meant, among other things, that Voltaire was the last writer who could cheerfully assume that the whole planet, both the known and the unknown parts, reflected principles that were perfectly grasped, so that, for Voltaire the world was an exotic projection of familiar arguments. In a paradox that is characteristic of Barthes, he said that the purpose of Voltairean travel is ''to manifest an immobility.'' But for Barthes travel is quite a different project. To be sure, much like Voltaire, he uses the Orient as a pretext for a lesson, but the lesson is not one he already knows. For Barthes Japan is a test, a challenge to think the unthinkable, a place where meaning is finally banished. Paradise, indeed, for the great student of signs.


The Lectern: "Empire of Signs" Roland Barthes

thelectern.blogspot.com/2013/12/empire-of-signs-roland-barthes.html
...I'm going to briefly summarize the four short chapters on haiku. Bold is chapter titles, italics are quotes from Barthes, parentheses are my comments.

It is evening, in autumn,
All I can think of
Is my parents
Buson

1. The Breach of Meaning
·      the deceptive easiness of haiku
·      it is intelligible but appears to mean nothing (nothing beyond itself)
·      it presents its meaning simply
·      in contrast with Western poetry which demands a chiselled thought, the haiku allows one to be trivial, short, ordinary
·      Western poetry has unavoidably two systems of meaning: the symbol, the metaphor; and reasoning, the syllogism
·      (for the Western reader) the haiku is attracted to one or other of these two signification systems
·      first: we assign the haiku a 'poetic' meaning - in Western lit, 'poetic' is a symbol of the ineffable, the inexpressible-
·      in this poetic meaning, everything in the haiku becomes symbolic
·      second: we see the three lines of the haiku as a syllogism: rise, suspense, conclusion
·      if we renounce both these systems, commentary becomes impossible: to comment on the haiku means simply to repeat it
·      Western methods of interpretation fail the haiku

The West moistens everything with meaning like an authoritarian religion which imposes baptism on entire peoples.

The work of reading which is attached to it is to suspend language, not to provoke it.

How admirable he is
Who does not think "Life is ephemeral"
When he sees a flash of lightning
Basho

 2. Exemption from Meaning
·      the Buddhist syllogism contains four propositions:
·      this is A
·      this is not A
·      this is both A and not-A
·      this is neither A nor not-A
·      this is the obstructed meaning, an impossible paradigm
·      in this way, Zen wages a war against meaning
·      for example, the Sixth Patriarch recommended his students to give the following answer: if questioning you, someone interrogates you about non-being, answer with being. If you are questioned about the ordinary man, answer by speaking about the master etc
·      (The Sixth Patriarch is one of the major figures of Zen/Chan Buddhism, a Chinese Scholar/monk大鑒惠能 Dajien Huineng early 8th C BCE)
·      the patriarch's recommended response is designed to disrupt the paradigms of Q&A/language and therefore to imperil the search for meaning
·      Zen makes the mere mechanism of meaning apparent

·      the haiku is an attempt to attain a flat language, a language with no layers of meaning (Barthes calls this 'a lamination of meaning') - a first level signifier: a signifier which is matte
·      all we can do with this matte signifier is scrutinize it, not solve it
·      Zen and the haiku are a praxis designed to halt language
·      Satori (Nirbana, enlightenment) is a suspension of the constant inner language of consciousness
·      because language sums up other languages to penetrate meaning - secondary signifiers, thoughts of thoughts - Zen perceives of this a kind of jamming
·      the abolition of secondary thought is one of the aims of the haiku
·      the haiku attacks the symbol as a semantic operation (by refusing the possibility of a secondary language)

·      it does this by measuring language, a concept which is inconceivable to the Western mind
·      the Western mind always tries to make signifier and signified disproportionate (by saying a little with many words, or by saying a lot with few words)
·      the haiku, on the other hand is an adequation of signifier and signified, a suppression of margins, smudges and interstices
·      in the haiku, signified and signifier are measured ('get the measure' of something is also meant by this)

·      the practice of saying haiku twice:
·      saying it once is to give the meaning of surprise to its sudden, perfect appearance
·      saying it more than twice is to simulate profundity, to postulate that meaning can be discovered in it
·      saying it twice is an echo, neither singular, nor profound

There is a moment when language ceases and it is this echoless breach which institutes at once the truth of Zen and the form -brief and empty- of the haiku.

...perhaps what Zen calls 'satori' is no more than a panic suspension of language, the blank which erases in us the reign of the Codes, the breach of that internal recitation which constitutes our person...('Codes' is a Barthesian term, from S/Z, meaning the reference discourses which underlie Western literature. Basically, here he means any kind of secondary thoughts.)

The echo merely draws a line under the nullity of meaning.

I come by the mountain path.
Ah! this is exquisite!
A violet!
Basho

I saw the first snow
That morning I forgot
To wash my face
(unattr)


 3. The Incident
·      Western art transforms the 'impression' into a description
·      in the West description - A Western genre- is the equivalent of contemplation
·      two kinds of contemplation: forms of the divinity (Loyola), evangelical narrative episodes
·      in the haiku, there is no metaphysics centred around a subject or around a god
·      the haiku is centred around the Zen character Mu (nothing), an apprehension of the thing as an event, not as substance
·      the haiku is centred on what happens to language, rather than what happens to the subject producing/receiving the language
·      the haiku does not describe (this seems counter intuitive until one realises what Barthes means by ‘describe’, namely, the relationship between the sign and the signified. According to B this relationship doesn't exist in the haiku. In the haiku, language has no referent, is the essence of appearance, and an untenable moment. It is language degree Zero. Barthes calls this later in the essay an 'escheat of signification')
·      it presents language as a category, as a painting, a miniature picture

·      the order and dispersion of haiku, in anthologies and other texts
·      on the one hand there is plethora, on the other brevity
·      this creates a dust of fragmentary events with no direction or termination
·      the haiku and the self, the self is nothing but the site of reading, timeless
·      the haiku reflects the self
·      for example, in the Hua Yen doctrine (one of the key tenets of Mahayanna Buddhism, the Buddhism of China and East Asia, the origin, one can say, of Zen), a haiku is a jewel which reflects all the other jewels in a kind of irradiation, but one with no centre
·      in the West, the analogy of this is the dictionary, a play of reflections without origin
·      reflection: in the West, the mirror reflects the self, in the East, a mirror reflects nothingness, it is empty

·      this can be applied to everything which happens in the street in Japan
·      the streets are full of incidents, which a Westerner can only read in the way he reads a haiku
·      but the ability to create haiku is denied the Westerner (because of the way his consciousness is founded in language and his concept of language as a system generating secondary languages)
·      the incidents observed in the street do not have anything picturesque about them, nor do they have anything novelistic about them
·      novelistic: they do not contribute to the chatter which would make them descriptions or narratives
·      the incidents of the street present a rectitude of line, a stroke, a gesture
·      the graphic nature of Japanese life, writing alla prima
·      the line does not express, but causes to exist
·      there can be no hesitation, no regret, no trial and error in the stroke of the brush
·      these gestures do not refer back to the self, there is no self-sufficiency, only graphism

The haiku's time is without subject: reading has no other self than all the haikus of which this self, by infinite refraction, is never anything but the site of reading.

The haiku reminds us of what has never happened to us; in it we recognize a repetition without origin, an event without cause, a memory without person, a language without moorings.

The old pond:
A frog jumps in:
Oh! the sound of the water.
Basho

4. So
·      the purpose of haiku is to achieve exemption from meaning
·      this is impossible in Western lit, which contests meaning only by making it incomprehensible
·      the haiku resists commentary, and it's this commentary which is the most ordinary exercise of our consciousness
·      the haiku doesn't instruct, express, divert- it serves none of the purposes usually attributed to literature due to its insignificance and due to the way it resists finality
·      the haiku is written just to write

·      in Western lit there are two basic functions: description and definition (again Barthes is using ‘describe’ in a special sense here: embellish with significations, with moralities, committed as indices to the revelation of a truth or of a sentiment)
·      the haiku resists both of these
·      the haiku does not describe in the sense of giving meaning to reality
·      the haiku does not define except only in the sense of giving a gesture, but this gesture is only an efflorescence of the object
·      the haiku only designates, it has no vibration or recurrence
·      it says: 'it's that', or 'it's thus' or 'it's so', or even just 'so.'
·      it's like the flash of a photo one takes very very carefully, but with no film in the camera
·      the haiku is stripped of any mediation of knowledge, of possession, of nomination,
·      it's like a child pointing at something and saying 'That!'

The haiku's task is to achieve exemption from meaning within a perfectly readerly discourse (a contradiction denied to Western art, which can contest meaning only by rendering its discourse incomprehensible).

The haiku is a faint gash inscribed upon time.

Nothing special says the haiku, in accordance with the spirit of Zen...nothing special has been acquired, the word's stone has been cast for nothing; neither waves nor flow of meaning.

Full moon
And on the matting
The shadow of a pine tree

In the fisherman's house
The smell of dried fish
And heat

The winter wind blows
The cat's eyes
Blink
unattr.


How many people
Have crossed the Seta bridge
Through the autumn rain?
Joko

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