"The goal of literary work is to make the reader no longer a consumer, but a producer of the text."








The Readerly Text: Barthes accuses the majority of traditional texts of plunging the reader into "a kind of idleness", leaving him with "no more than the poor freedom to accept or reject the text". In other words, the reader merely treats the text as a form of "referendum", an absolute in authorial intention, so to speak.


The Writerly Text: One which allows the reader a measure (ideally, an infinite amount) of free play in his interpretation. It is one that permits and invites reconstruction by the reader, one that is infinitely plural and reversible, with no fixed beginning and end. Put simply, the Writerly Text "is ourselves writing". Barthes shared many concepts with Foucault.


Scary!: Traditional methods of reading have been inculcated in us, to the extent that we are often afraid to challenge and re-interpret texts, in ways different from the norm. As such, the idea of a Writerly Text might seem scary, as we are suddenly endowed with the power to create, to alter, and to appropriate. Such a complex manipulation of signifiers and signifieds in writing might seem unthinkable to most, thus, The Madness Of Chronicles.



Here's a nice Anti-Barthes polemic out on the web for all you skeptics!

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All quotations on this page taken from Roland Barthes, S/Z.

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