rereading

“Rereading, an operation contrary to the commercial and ideological habits of our society, which would have us ‘throw away’ the story once it has been consumed (‘devoured’), so that we can then move on to another story, but another book, and which is tolerated only in certain marginal categories of readers (children, old people, and professors), rereading is here suggested at the outset, for it alone saves the text from repetition (those who fail to reread are obliged to read the same story everywhere), multiplies it in its variety and its plurality: rereading draws the text out of its internal chronology (‘this happens before or after that’) and recaptures a mythic time (without before or after); it contests the claim which would have us believe that the first reading is a primary, naïve, phenomenal reading which we will only, afterwards, have to ‘explicate,’ to intellectualize (as if there were a beginning of reading, as if everything were not already read: there is no first reading, even if the text is concerned to give us that illusion by several operations of suspense, artifices more spectacular than persuasive); rereading is no longer consumption but play (that play which is the return of the different). If then, a deliberate contradiction in terms, we immediately reread the text, it is in order to obtain, as though under the effect of a drug (that of recommencement, of difference), not the real text, but a plural text: the same and new.”

(Roland Barthes, S/Z, trans. Richard Miller, pp. 15–16.)

july 16–31, 2013

Books

  • Tommaso Landolfi, Cancerqueen, translated by Raymond Rosenthal
  • Jules Verne, An Antarctic Mystery: The Sphinx of the Ice Fields, trans. Cashel Fields
  • H. G. Wells, The Sleeper Awakes
  • Lucy Ives, Nineties
  • William Shakespeare, Cymbeline

Films

  • Damsels in Distress, directed by Whit Stillman
  • The Haunting, dir. Robert Wise

Exhibits

  • Donald Judd, 101 Spring Street