Review: A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments

PicsArt_04-02-03.09.14Okay, the truth is I haven’t even finished this book yet (baru 150-an dari total 241 halaman). Namun, aku sudah nggak sabar untuk share pengalamanku membaca buku ini. Lagipula aku khawatir kalau ditunda lagi malah keburu hilang feel-nya. sad

For your info I’ve been struggling to finish this book alongside Cosmos (Carl Sagan) for months! Keduanya adalah buku yang tergolong sulit for sure. Bayangkan aja aku ngebut baca Cosmos yang berbahasa Indonesia tapi tebalnya 400-an halaman (jangan lupa ini buku nonfiksi ilmiah!) bersama A Lover’s Discourse yang berbahasa Inggris dan ‘rumit’ (meski cuma 200-an halaman). Padahal aku udah sok gitu di Goodreads ikut Reading Challenge mau menuhi 20 buku tahun ini. Tampaknya sudah 3 bulan lebih waktuku habis cuma buat baca dua buku tersebut hahaha rolling on the floor

Sudah lama aku gregetan kepengen baca A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments karya Roland Barthes ini. Siapakah Roland Barthes? Menurut Wikipedia, doi adalah French literary theorist, philosopher, linguist, critic, and semiotician (why there are so many modern linguist/theorist/philosopher from France? thinking). Aku lupa pertama tahu buku ini dari mana, sepertinya sih dari suggestion di Goodreads deh. Aku lihat buku ini punya rating tinggi, user review yang bagus, juga background tulisan yang menarik. Pada saat itu aku sedang tertarik baca buku yang membahas tentang cinta, tapi bukan cinta versi teenlit dan chiclit (aku kurang doyan juga lagian laughing). Itulah sebabnya aku semangat banget pergi ke IIBF 2016 kemarin untuk mencari buku keluaran tahun 1978 ini… Sayangnya nggak ketemu meski mas favoritku sudah ngacak-ngacak buku import di stand orang hahaha. At last aku baca pdf-nya yang berbahasa inggris deh (bahkan ebook gratisan pun nggak nemu di internet!).

A Lover’s Discourse bukanlah novel yang ada alur ceritanya. Bingung sih mau menyebut apa. Cara penulisannya itu seperti gabungan dari essay, nonfiksi, serta filosofi. Apa tema yang diangkat? Dari judul pun sudah jelas kalau buku ini bicara tentang cinta, philosophically angel. Barthes membahas cinta dari sudut pandangnya sendiri sebagai “I”, the amorous subject—subjek yang sedang kasmaran. Meskipun judulnya mengandung kata ‘discourse’, tetapi tidak ada percakapan langsung antara “I” dan X alias “the (significant) other”—orang yang dicintai Barthes kala itu. “The other” dalam buku ini disebutkan sebagai loved object yang selalu diam (intractable). Maka percakapan yang ada merupakan perdebatan batin di dalam kepala Barthes sendiri—entah dia bercerita soal perasaannya, membahas cinta secara konseptual, atau merujuk kisah/buku lain dalam membandingkan kisah asmaranya (e.g: merefleksikan kisah cintanya sendiri lewat kisah cinta Werther—aku nggak tau Werther itu siapa laughing).

(Note: Roland Barthes was a gay, so he always refers the other aka X as “he”. Jangan sampai kaget kalau kamu baca bukunya yang berbahasa Inggris batting eyelashes)

Setiap chapter diberi judul sesuai skenario yang akan dibahas beserta pengertian dari judul tersebut. Pembahasan dibagi pakai nomor gitu sesuai dengan case-nya. Oleh karena itu kubilang sebelumnya kalau buku ini seperti essay tapi juga curhatan berkelas cool. Begini contoh formatnya.

 

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Full view

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Judul beserta penafsiran/hint skenario yang akan dibahas

PicsArt_04-02-03.16.59

PicsArt_04-02-03.15.51

Tiap case dipisah pakai nomor

Buku ini benar-benar sangat menarik. Sangat-sangat menarik (ya, aku merasa harus menegaskan ini dalam dua kalimat hehehe tongue). Sebagai pembaca, aku merasa terbawa, terhanyut, dan tenggelam dalam ‘diskusi’ Barthes. Aku bisa berempati dengan apa yang dirasakan Barthes—I experienced myself as the lover, the I (Barthes), and also Barthes’ friend. It feels incredibly realistic. Hampir setiap bagian dalam buku ini membuatku bergumam setuju, “Ohiya ya.” atau malah terasa menyindirku habis-habisan whew!. I think this book is written for all amorous people, that’s why you (and me) can connect with it naturally kiss. Setiap skenario yang dituliskan Barthes sangat dekat dengan love life in real life—tak peduli perbedaan zaman, culture, ataupun sexual preference. Barthes brilliantly describe how it feels to love and being in love.

Lucunya lagi, coincidentally setiap bab yang sedang kubaca itu selalu sesuai dengan apa yang sedang kualami/baru saja terjadi. Kadang rasanya menohok deh baca ini hahaha. It somehow follows my own love life (I’m sorry My Aviator! big grin).

Ada beberapa hal menarik soal Barthes yang kutemukan dalam buku ini:

  1. Barthes surely had problem(s) with loving the other. That might be the reason he wrote this book. He was agitated, anxious, jealous, and madly in love. However, he lived in his own head and talked only to himself. He tried to define his love within theories, logical explanation, predictions, and imaginary scenes—he was too busy explaining what he feels. Sadly, I think he never speak of it to the other. He was unable to let it out due to his ego straight face.
  2. Somehow I sense depression and narcissism in his writing no talking. Kenapa aku bilang demikian? Karena banyak sekali kalimat bernada suicidal di sini. Barthes juga terkesan egois sebagai amorous subject. Hampir semua skenario terkesan “melindungi dan mementingkan diri sendiri” alias terfokus pada diri sendiri (the Fi game is so strong! surprise). Aku merasa X hanyalah sekedar loved object (who was loved by Barthes excessively). They had a thing as lovers, I’m sure of it. But did he ever truly consider X’s feelings?
  3. This is silly, but I think Barthes was ENFPthinking

Meski sangat intriguing, A Lover’s Discourse tergolong buku kelas berat. Bukan saja karena penggunaan katanya yang sudah advanced (aku bolak-balik buka Google Translate setiap baca ini, dan hanya sanggup maks kurang dari 10 halaman per hari), tetapi juga harus mikir keras dan meresapi tiap kalimat supaya paham maksud si Barthes (he was once a philosopher, ingat itu). Aku nggak kebayang deh seperti apa versi aslinya yang berbahasa Perancis. d'oh

Nah untuk memudahkan kamu yang penasaran tapi merasa ngeri baca sendiri, aku rangkum deh di sini beberapa bagian yang membekas di hati dan kepalaku. Sebisa mungkin aku pilihkan yang mudah dimengerti. Silakan disimak! winking


“Now, absence can exist only as a consequence of the other: it is the other who leaves, it is I who remain.” (The Absent One, 13)

“Historically. the discourse of absence is carried on by the Woman: Woman is sedentary. Man hunts, journeys; Woman is faithful (she waits), man is fickle (he sails away, he cruises).” (The Absent One, 13-14)

“It follows that in any man who utters the other’s absence something feminine is declared: this man who waits and who suffers from his waiting is miraculously feminized. A man is not feminized because he is inverted but because he is in love.” (The Absent One, 14)

“I encounter millions of bodies in my life; of these millions, I may desire some hundreds; but of these hundreds, I love only one. The other with whom I am in love designates for me the specialty of my desire.” (Adorable!, 19)

“Don’t be anxious anymore-you’ve already lost him/her.” (Agony, 30)

“A mandarin fell in love with a courtesan. “I shall be yours,” she told him, “when you have spent a hundred nights waiting for me, sitting on a stool, in my garden, beneath my window.” But on the ninety-ninth night, the mandarin stood up, put his stool under his arm, and went away.” (Waiting, 40)

“…to weep is part of the normal activity of the amorous body.” (Dark Glasses, 43)

“I have projected myself into the other with such power that when I am without the other I cannot recover myself, regain myself: I am lost, forever.” (Catastrophe, 49)

“Isn’t the most sensitive point of this mourning the fact that I must lose a language-the amorous language? No more “I love you’s”.” (Exiled from the Image-repertoire, 107)

What I want is a little cosmos (with its own time, its own logic) inhabited only by “the two of us.” Everything from outside is a threat; either in the form of boredom (if I must live in a world from which the other is absent), or in the form of injury (if that world supplies me with an indiscreet discourse concerning the other).” (The Informer, 139)

“Werther might have said as much himself, and quite early in the book, for it is proper to the amorous situation to be immediately intolerable, once the magical amazement of the first encounter is past. A demon denies time, change, growth, dialectic, and says at every moment: This can’t go on! Yet it goes on, it lasts, if not forever, at least a long time.” (This Can’t Go on, 140)

“…I have-courageously!-decided to put an end to the repetition; the patience of an impatience.” (This Can’t Go on, 140)

“Reasonable sentiment: everything works out, but nothing lasts. Amorous sentiment: nothing works out, but it keeps going on.” (This Can’t Go on, 140)

“As a jealous man, I suffer four times over: because I am jealous, because I blame myself for being so, because I fear that my jealousy will wound the other, because I allow myself to be subject to a banality: I suffer from being excluded, from being aggressive, from being crazy, and from being common.” (Jealousy, 146)

Once the first avowal has been made, “I love you” has no meaning whatever; it merely repeats in an enigmatic mode-so blank does it appear-the old message.” (I Love You, 153)


See? A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments is really worth reading; it will linger in your head forever. After few pages, you’ll soon find yourself in love with the book love struck.

Akhir kata, buku ini elegant, a little bit sexy, romantis (dengan caranya sendiri blushing), dan sangat menggugah pemikiranku tentang cinta—tentang apa yang kurasakan. It may not even close to answering what is love; but it sure helps you perceive your own love.

 

*Yang mau baca bukunya silakan hubungi aku (cek Contacts) buat dapetin pdf-nya happy.

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