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

Carrie Watterson

after Chigi's revelation:

(491) It is a woman," Sarrasine said, believing himself alone. "There is some hidden intrigue here. Cardinal Cicognara is deceiving the Pope and the whole city of Rome!" * HER. Enigma 6: snare, by Sarrasine, for himself. The reflexive snare (Sarrasine for Sarrasine) survives the disclosure: we know that the sculptor prefers the evidence of codes to the evidence of facts. ** REF. Machiavellian code (a fictional network of secret intrigues, shadowy impostures, subtle and preposterous deceptions: realm of paranoia and the code of Florentine and Papal Italy). (S/Z, 193)

after the kidnapping:

(510) "Ah, you are a woman," the artist cried in a delirium, "for even a . . . " He broke off. "No," he continued, "he would not be so cowardly." * HER. Enigma 6: snare, by Sarrasine, for himself. Psychological proof furnishes Sarrasine his last snare, and provides delirium its last refuge. This proof bases femininity on the weakness of woman. Faced with this proof, which he has often employed, Sarrasine is nonetheless encumbered with a new term, the castrato, which he must situate in the moral hierarchy of biological creatures; since he needs to locate the absolute, ultimate weakness in Woman, he gives the castrato an intermediate position ("even a castrato would not be so cowardly"); the enthymeme, on which all proof is based, is organized as follows: woman occupies the last stage of pusillanimity; Zambinella, by his submissive posture, the cowardliness of his behavior, attains this last stage; thus Zambinella is really a woman. (195)

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