13 April 2010

Roland Barthes

'It is under the pressure of History and Tradition that the possible modes of writing for a given writer are established; there is a History of Writing. But the History proposes - or imposes - new problematics of the literary language, writing still remains full of the recollection of previous usage, for language is never innocent: words have a second-order memory which mysteriously persists in the midst of new meanings. Writing is precisely this compromise between freedom and remembrance, it is this freedom which remembers and is free only in the gesture of choice, but is no longer so within duration...And written trace precipitates, as inside a chemical at first transparent, innocent and neutral, mere duration gradually reveals in suspension a whole past of increasing density, like a cryptogram.'

Writing Degree Zero (1953)

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