„La signification immédiate des choses“: Die Suche nach Präsenz bei Alain Robbe-Grillet und Roland Barthes
Alain Robbe-Grillet and Roland Barthes, two leading figures in post-war French literature and thought, both embark upon their respective projects from a state of semiotic alienation, encapsulated in the concept of écriture. Reality and language both appear governed by ideologically charged systems of signification; only the circumvention of this alienation may provide the means, however provisional, for any utterance to be able to reside beyond the given. Robbe-Grillet’s strategy consists of a return to the mute surface of things that seems to provide access to a reality prior to any imposition of meaning. Barthes’s strategy is more oblique. Despite his relentless critique of the alienating codes at work in quotidian and scientific discourses, his reflections on photography, which form a continual strand in his thinking, seem concerned with the conception of a non-coded access to reality, which photography appears capable of offering. In both cases, however, immediacy and meaning gradually reveal themselves as mutually exclusive. Robbe-Grillet's Le miroir qui revient and Barthes’ La chambre claire, thus, both provide forms of discourse that try to negotiate this dilemma.