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autobiography
Mourning Diary: October 26, 1977–September 15, 1979
 
 
Author
Roland Barthes. Nathalie Leger, ed. Richard Howard, trans.
Publisher Hill & Wang  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 7.75 x 5.25 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780809062331
Pages/Publication Date 261/2010
Daedalus Item Code 21708
This item is not available.
Description
The day after his mother's death in October 1977, French philosopher Roland Barthes began a diary of mourning. Taking notes on index cards, as was his habit, he reflected on a new solitude, on the ebb and flow of sadness, and on modern society's dismissal of grief. These 330 cards, transcribed here in English, provide a key to the themes he tackled throughout his work. Behind the unflagging mind of this "most consistently intelligent, important, and useful literary critic to have emerged anywhere" (Susan Sontag) lay a deeply sensitive man who cherished his mother with a devotion unknown even to his closest friends.

"These pensées on the process of grieving the loss of a mother are an invitation to eavesdrop on a densely qualified (in the finest sense) rational mind touched by eternal loss. While continuing his life work, the great French cultural critic Barthes kept notes of sadness and self-reflection on slips of paper. This fragmentary book begins the night after his mother's death; informing it all is the presence of absence. Although conflicted by the very process of making literature from grief, Barthes (1915–1980) contemplates such day-to-day, unexpected spells of sadness as living in an empty apartment; how the role reversal of caring for a dying parent affected him; the larger mysteries of time; and his own generalized mental state ("Not even the desire to commit suicide").... This volume is both a window into the soul of a philosopher and a unique contribution to the inspirational literature of the adult child left behind."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 
 
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