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Thread: Barthes and Benjamin on writing tools

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    Senior Member guyy's Avatar
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    Default Barthes and Benjamin on writing tools

    Here’s an interview with Roland Barthes on how he writes. There’s a fair amount of discussion about how he has a lot of pens and how he’s obsessed with them for their feel. (Me too!).

    Warning: it’s in French

    http://www.pileface.com/sollers/spip.php?article1655

    Walter Benjamin, another renowned Paris resident has a brief discussion of writers tools in his _One Way Street_ “Post No Bills” IV:

    “Avoid haphazard writing materials. A pedantic adherence to certain papers, pens, inks is beneficial. No luxury, an abundance of such utensils is indispensable.”

    One Way Street was pre-Paris, but at any rate...

    I felt less guilty about my pedantic adherences & amassing of abundances after reading that passage years ago. It’s sometimes the constraint that allows the words to flow.

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    Senior Member welch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Barthes and Benjamin on writing tools

    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    Here’s an interview with Roland Barthes on how he writes. There’s a fair amount of discussion about how he has a lot of pens and how he’s obsessed with them for their feel. (Me too!).

    Warning: it’s in French

    http://www.pileface.com/sollers/spip.php?article1655

    Walter Benjamin, another renowned Paris resident has a brief discussion of writers tools in his _One Way Street_ “Post No Bills” IV:

    “Avoid haphazard writing materials. A pedantic adherence to certain papers, pens, inks is beneficial. No luxury, an abundance of such utensils is indispensable.”

    One Way Street was pre-Paris, but at any rate...

    I felt less guilty about my pedantic adherences & amassing of abundances after reading that passage years ago. It’s sometimes the constraint that allows the words to flow.
    I've already shrugged at Barthes, but Walter Benjamin is one of my heroes. "One Way Street" is nifty, although tough to follow. Maybe it would be easier if originally written in English -- I have no trouble with Joyce. But Benjamin always rewards the time I spend untangling.

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    Senior Member guyy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Barthes and Benjamin on writing tools

    I dunno. I’ve read a bit of Benjamin in German, and it’s just as hard. It’s not like with some writers who are easier to read in the original.

    I find Barthes a fun read: very clear, often amusing, qualities the academy undervalues.

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    Senior Member Yazeh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Barthes and Benjamin on writing tools

    Thanks for the article.... I partially identify with him....

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    Senior Member Cyril's Avatar
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    Default Re: Barthes and Benjamin on writing tools

    That's a nice long interview. It is a true obsession of tools they used to get what they wanted.
    In his answer he explains he did not like the certain nibs ( Calligraphy )ETC. and hated the" BIC Ballpoint" Which was the revolutionary tech. pen that Killed the spirits of Fountain pens /dip ink writing.

    ^^ J’ai également utilisé la plume : pas la sergent-major qui est trop sèche, mais des plumes plus molles comme la " J ". Bref, j’ai tout essayé... sauf la pointe bic, avec laquelle je ne me sens décidément aucune affinité. Je dirais même, un peu méchamment, qu’il existe un "style bic" qui est vraiment de la "pisse copie", une écriture purement transcriptive de pensée.^^

    "Sergent- Majour '" is a well known highly sort-after Vintage/antique nib among most of the calligraphers today. He did not like like it he says. ( That is one of my favourites ) Instead he liked " J-Nibs " which were very well favourites of the time.

    Well this is an interesting inner thoughts of a writer in that time. This is still happening in our time and I have seen many videos about writes who do continue their work and their work is closely associated with tools to to be wanted to continue their writing passion. That is what Roland is telling in his interview and Thank you for sharing this link. Very interesting interview.

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