Collecting Words

Sunday, 12 July 2009

58

It is silent, first, in recognition of its banality. 'Every other night, on TV', Roland Barthes points out, 'someone says: I love you'. How can we, unique and autonomous as we long to be, capture the extraordinary experience of desire by echoing this worn-out commonplace, this blank performative, which lacks nuances and 'suppresses explanations, adjustments, degrees, scruples'? 'I love you' obliterates the distinctiveness of the desire it sets out to capture, and affirms at the same time the difference it sets out to efface, the gap between 'I' and 'you', investing the performance in the process with a certain solitariness.

-Catherine Belsey, Desire: Love Stories in Western Culture, 74-5.

* * *

I have been on a mini holiday somewhere quiet where I can look at the ocean, collect words and wear scarves. I have been thinking about a project, which might turn into postdoctoral research, but I'm unsure at this moment. It's all a bit fragmentary. I am fascinated by the idea of love in culture and literature, particularly as it relates to identity. I don't know if this fascination can be turned into a sustained project, and I'm too tired to start anything new right now, so in the meantime, I'm just collecting words.

Image by Lina Scheynius.

15 comments:

amy said...

i have a few words for your collection: agerasia, dentiloquent and gargalesis

Hila said...

Those are grand Amy, I shall add them to the collection :)

Christina Lowry said...

A word collecting holiday sounds very peaceful. I hope the words you are looking for find you.

:)

rebekah. said...

Here are some very good words to collect, because they are words that don't exist in the English language. You've needed them all along, you just didn't know they were there!

Rina said...

Dear Hila, enjoy this mini vacations, after all that you worked last time...It´s well deserved

Windy Days said...

Collecting things seems to be a natural human instinct and there's nothing nicer than collecting words. I hope you're well rested after your mini holiday! :)

kerri nĂ­ dochartaigh said...

lady, you are wonderful. you truly are. do it, please! x

jodi said...

i love the collecting stage. sometimes it's the best part

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

How lovely a holiday collecting words sounds... and how wonderful to know that someone that is doing just that.

danica said...

oh, catherine belsey is wonderful! that book has been one of my favourites through my research.

speaking of research and the like: are you teaching this semester?

Hila said...

Thanks for the kinds words and the words for my collection :)

And yes Danica, I am teaching this semester - I hope you are too!

Des said...

What a fascinating topic. I imagine there would be several surprising conclusions, and would make for an interseting project. Particulary if you made it a comparative analysis of various cultures and literature.

Hila said...

It is very fascinating - I hope others will find it fascinating too.

Esti said...

wearing scarves and collecting words... sounds magical.

Hila said...

it was indeed :)