The Infinitely Possible

Roland Barthes, “Ecrire,” Oeuvres complètes, ed. Eric Marty, 5 vols. (Paris: Seuil, 2002), 4:422–423. Originally published as the preface to Roger Druet and Herman Grégoire, La civilisation de l’écriture (1976)

Even as I reflect on what I should write (as is happening at this very moment), I feel my hand move, turn, connect, dive, rise, and often enough, as I make my corrections, erase or even obliterate a line. This field expands until it reaches the margins, thus creating, out of seemingly functional and minuscule traces (letters), a space which is quite simply that of art. I am an artist, not because I represent an object, but more fundamentally, because, as I write, my body shudders [jouit] with the pleasure of marking itself, inscribing itself, rhythmically, on the virgin surface (virginity being the infinitely possible).

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