The Veiling of Homoerotic Desire in Roland Barthes' S/Z

Carrie Watterson

Here Balzac reveals the root of the mystery of Sarrasine, yet the significance of this moment passes by Barthes practically unnoticed. He fails to address the revelation of the castration that drives the entire narrative except as it pertains to the castration he is attempting to construct in Sarrasine. The tale is initiated and sustained by a fascination with the withered old castrato at the Lanty estate, and here Balzac offers the reader an opportunity to interrogate the origins of the enigma. Chigi is characterized as bitter and scorned, expecting gratitude for the service of castration. Zambinella's refusal to return to the sight of his castration encodes an undelineated sense of horror and trauma around the event. Yet Barthes ignores these snares. He is confronted with castration as presence, as condition in full manifestation within the reality of the text, and too close an examination would cause his own construction to unravel.

Cyberspace Web Gender Matters Origin