D.A. Miller in Bringing Out Roland Barthes has but two bottom of the page notes. Although pages apart they can be read in unison. The second is a longish quotation reporting on the quality of Barthes’s voice.
Guy Scarpetta, having visited Barthes’s seminar, recorded this impression: “I was at once struck by the marked contrast between his words and his voice. Albeit the content of his discourse was abstract, semiological, ‘scientific,’ the voice itself never ceased being eroticized: warm, deep, slow-paced, cajoling, velvety, modulated (Casals playing Bach on the cello): it was with his voice that he would cruise. I immediately sensed that most of his auditors, male and female, so intensely submitted to the charm (the ‘obtuse meaning’) of his voice that they ended by savoring it for itself, almost independently of what it said. A kind of ‘extra,’ this voice grazed them, disturbed them, enveloped them, seduced them — to the point of excitation pure and simple.”
And the one note that preceded this
Consider how the two semantically opposed, morphologically identical words, effeminate and emasculate (in French efféminé and émasculé), instead of together defining a state of genderlessness, synonymously converge in a single attribute that may be predicated only of men.
Unconnected and widely spaced apart. Challenges me even further to find other voices that occupy different gender positions and who enchant, charm, and yes, seduce. Nicole Brossard comes to mind.
“Elle le fait d’une voix ferme, sans ornements ni déclamation, dans un registre légèrement supérieur à celui de sa voix normale. Il y a là presque un chant, mais retenu, et soumis à une tension, un risque, une inquiétude.” -Pierre Nepveu in his introduction to Brossard’s A tout regard
via Jane Cope http://travelcoat.tumblr.com/
And so for day 817