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“Within a national norm such as French, forms of expression differ in different groups, and every man is a prisoner of his language: outside his class, the first word he speaks is a sign which places him as a whole and proclaims his whole personal history. The man is put on show and delivered up by his language, betrayed by a formal reality which is beyond the reach of his lies, whether they are inspired by self-interest or generosity. The diversity of languages therefore works like Necessity, and it is because of this that it gives rise to a form of the tragic.” – Roland Barthes, Writing Degree Zero (trans. Annette Lavers and Colin Smith)

Published inLit & CritRoland Barthes

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