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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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    Default Re: Barthes and Benjamin on writing tools

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

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