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The Situation of the Text: Erotic and Pornographic in Barthes’s Camera Lucida
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013). (KuFo)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5104-1716
2015 (English)In: Critical quarterly (Print), ISSN 0011-1562, E-ISSN 1467-8705, Vol. 57, no 2, p. 72-89Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the present essay I argue the continued relevance of aesthetic evaluation by means of an analysis of Barthes's much discussed concept of punctum in Camera Lucida. Focusing especially on Barthes's seemingly offhand comments on the distinction between the erotic and the pornographic, I suggest that what is truly original in Barthes is the way he figures his own interpretive pleasure into the text under study, to the effect that his own text becomes the reflection not only of this or that text, but of the very situation of interpretation. In highlighting this situation, I make a case for Barthes's analysis of the photograph as an unexpected Marxist version of the medieval quadriga, the fourfold interpretive scheme according to which a text holds a literal, an allegorical, a tropological, and an anagogical sense. Such a procedure makes evident the continued relevance not only of the much maligned distinction of the erotic and the pornographic, but of aesthetic evaluation as such.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. Vol. 57, no 2, p. 72-89
Keywords [en]
punctum, pornography, photography, literary studies
National Category
Humanities
Research subject
Comparative Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37165DOI: 10.1111/criq.12195ISI: 000358610400007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-37165DiVA, id: diva2:843077
Available from: 2015-07-25 Created: 2015-07-25 Last updated: 2017-11-15Bibliographically approved

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