By Roland Barthes
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Extra resources for Criticism and Truth
23 Revue parlementaire, 15 Nov. 1965. 24 Picard, p. 33. 25 Picard, p. 22. 26 Picard, p. 39. 27 Picard, p. 32. 28 Picard, pp. 110, 135. 29 See Picard's prefaces to the tragedies of Racine, Oeuvres completes, Pleiade, I, 1956. 30 In fact, too symbolic. 31 Picard, p. 30. " (Revue parlementaire, 15 Nov. 1965). 33 Picard, pp. 135-6. 34 Since we are talking about precious stones, let us quote this gem: "By always wanting to unearth a writer's obsession at any price, one takes the risk of going to dig for it in the "depths" where one can find all sorts of things, where one runs the risk of mistaking a pebble for a diamond" (Midi libre, 18 Nov.
You can describe this linguistic narcissim in another way: "jargon" is the language which the Other uses; the Other (and not Others) is that which is not yourself; this is why we find another's way of speaking painful. As soon as a language is no longer that of our own community we judge it to be useless, empty, raving, 45 used for reasons which are not serious but trivial and base (snobbery, complacency): thus the language of "neocriticism" seems to "archeo-criticism" as strange as Yiddish (a suspect comparison in any event), 46 to which one could reply that Yiddish too can be learnt.
A small study could be done on the contemporary descendants of Julien Benda. 39 I forbear from quoting all the accusations of "opaque jargon" which have been made against me. 40 This has all been said in an appropriate way by Raymond Queneau*: "This algebra of Newtonian [humorously gallicized as "nioutonien"] rationalism, this 20 NOTES Esperanto which facilitated the shady dealings of Catherine the Great and Frederick of Prussia, this argot of diplomats, Jesuits and Euclidean geometricians remains supposedly the prototype, the ideal and the measure of all varieties of French" (Batons, chiffres et lettres, Gallimard, "Idees", 1965, p.