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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant book.
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on 8 June 2013
A very heady and intense book. It overpowers you and wraps you within the needy and vicelike read of the narrator's psyche.

If you have loved and lost, or are falling in love, it is bittersweet and heartrending, and at once soothes your pain and inflames it with fresh, emergent reminders of the incoherence of emotion.

It is a very self-indulgent read - and not in a bad way. Something to read on your own, in private, and to take meaningful pauses at every other sentence or so to wonder about your own life and memories...
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on 13 July 2012
Love never ceases to be defined, analyzed, intellectualized, talked about and written about. Why? Because it is one of the greatest drives and sources of inspiration.
In A Lover's Discourse, Roland Barthes dissects and studies love in many various fragments. it is mostly the pains of love, the infatuation, the jealousy, the martyrdom, the suffering, the obsession and the elevation of the beloved that he takes up with an almost scientific detachment.
The reader will recognize very well love's different aspects and mechanisms.

Joyce Akesson, author of Majnun Leyla: Poems about Passion, The Invitation and Love's Thrilling Dimensions.
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This is perhaps Barthes at his most playful as he anatomises the textuality of love. Love, he asserts, is articulated, expressed and performed via a series of 'codes' or an 'image repertoire' - and his analysis takes in not just the individual and the personal (noted by initials in the margins) but the universal and general as depicted in narratives from Plato to Lacan via Goethe, Balzac and Proust, to name just a few.

Despite the mischievous postmoderness, this is also very good on the cruel deceptions of our self-told love stories and is perhaps Barthes at his most human and accessible.
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on 17 July 2013
The definitive deconstruction of love. Every nuance of emotion, every detail of the painful process of falling in, being in, and letting go of love is covered. Beguiling in its simplicity this is a perfect way of dissecting every bewildering moment that being human means - after all, we have all fallen in love.
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on 6 December 2002
This book was fabulous, and it has changed me in a way few, if any, other books ever have. Barthes' insight is eerie sometimes, as you find yourself reading a passage and thinking, "How did he know exactly the way I feel?" The style is a bit unusual, and some people may find it difficult, but the sheer weight of his observations can't help but touch you. I recommend it to anyone who ever has been in love or has been loved - after reading it, you will never be the same.
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on 7 August 2014
I sent back the book because the quality of the paper and printing were very bad, but try to find a good edition not too expensive because this book is essential to have as a reference all along your life.
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on 8 January 2016
Barthes is pulling love apart in this wonderful essay. Not so easy to comprehend and a background in philosophy might come handy but all in all you can find some magical excerpt.
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on 4 August 2009
I once read this book a few years back. I remember then thinking that it was a very witty and cynically refined book full of kind-of interesting observations. I would guffaw at it with the self-satisfaction that comes with studying 1st year art history. I was accustomed to the jargon of semiotics and postmodernism at that stage so I could follow the thrust of Barthes' "logic".

I bought this book last week for a lady friend, and thought I would quickly flick through it again to see what it was all about as I'd largely forgotten. It's pretty awful... The references, if not Goethe, are to obsolete films or pappy music hall... so what ? Of course it's easy to criticise - it's light entertainment. There isn't a line that goes by without painful discussion of the "signifier", to the extent that you realise that at base, postmodern jargon is comprised of euphemisms for nonsense.

A joyless, thankless, vacuous read. Buying this as a present for a loved-one is like bringing a charcuterie to a bar mitzvah.
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on 4 June 2015
I don't think you should attempt to read this without being well-versed in Barthian discourse and theory, and if you don't know Goethe's SORROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER, you must also read that beforehand. In fact your cultural capital must be pretty elevated before you venture upon A LOVER'S DISCOURSE, and it should be French too - Flaubert, Diderot, Chateaubriand... Then, and only then will you find this book supremely rewarding.
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