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

Carrie Watterson

(417) "And if I were not a woman?" * HER. Enigma 6: disclosure, La Zambinella to Sarrasine. ** The impossibilities of loving which La Zambinella has heretofore alleged (400, 401, 404) were all of a psychological order. What is now advanced is a physical limit. There is a shift from the banal contestation of feelings based on certain psychological attributes (You are fickle, I am demanding, excluded ), each of which was nonetheless deemed a sufficient motive for refusal when it was presented, to the radical contestation of being (I am not a woman ): we will admit this is an unusual term in the banal "Declaration of love" sequence: a term whose content is anomalous, scandalous, but whose form (impossibility of loving ) leaves the sequence all its readerliness (ACT. "Declaration": 11: physical impediment). . . .

(419) "What a joke!" Sarrasine cried. "Do you think you can deceive an artist's eye? * ACT. "Declaration": 12: disclaimer of the disclaimer. ** REF. Anatomical knowledge of the realistic artist. *** HER. Enigma 6: Snare, by Sarrasine, for himself: aesthetic proof: artists are infallible. (S/Z, 166)

(446) "I cannot give you any hope," she said. * ACT. "Declaration": 15: command to give up.

(447) "Stop speaking to me in this way, * "Declaration": 16: command to be silent.

(448) because they will make a fool of you. * HER. "Machination": 11: equivocation. La Zambinella's warning is equivocal: on the one hand she refers to the true purpose of the plot, laughter, and on the other she speaks of a risk, whereas the damage has already been done. . . .

(451) "Oh, be still," the impassioned artist said. * The naming of the castrato has been interrupted (for that is what La Zambinella was finally prepared to do, in a low voice ) (SYM. Taboo on the word castrato). ** HER. Enigma 6: snare, by Sarrasine, for himself. The subject's final interest is not to hear the truth, just as the vital interest of the discourse is to continue to suspend the answer to the enigma. (S/Z, 176, 177-178)

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