Roland Barthes, The Preparation of the Novel, trans. Kate Briggs, Columbia University Press, 2011 (La Préparation du roman I et II, Cours et séminaires au Collège de France, Paris: Seuil, 1976-1977)


Each year, when beginning a new course, I think it apt to recall the pedagogical principle started programmatically in the ‘Inaugural Lecture’: ‘I sincerely believe that at the origin of teaching such as this we must always locate a fantasy, which can vary from year to year.’ I’ll come back in a moment to the ‘fantasy’ for this year (and I hope for years to come, for this one promises to be, if not tenacious (who can say?), then as least broad in its scope (ambitious)). 

The principle is a general one: the subject is not to be repressed—whatever the risks of subjectivity. I belong to a generation that has suffered too much from the censorship of the subject, whether following the positivist route (the objectivity required by literary history, the triumph of philology) or the Marxist (very important—even if it no longer seems so—in my life) → Better the illusions of subjectivity than the impostures of objectivity. Better the Imaginary of the Subject than its censorship.