1 Answer | Add Yours
In his essay “Science Versus Literature,” Roland Barthes makes a number of claims, including the following:
- Scientists treat language as a tool; their goal is to make it as clear and as value-free as possible
- To scientists, the subject-matter or content they wish to communicate is most important; the language in which such messages are communicated is unimportant. It should simply be clear and precise and objective
- In contrast, in literature, language is everything. Its function is not simply to convey a message
- Literature is a use of language in which language itself becomes the most important element
- Emphasizing the centrality of language as language to literature can have radical implications for morality and politics
- The contrast between science and literature is especially important to structuralists
- Structuralist ideas, which grew out of linguistics, are especially relevant to literature
- Used as a kind of scientific, analytical method, structuralism can help us understand the elements of literature and how they work
- Structuralism can also be used to classify different types of literature
- One of the ancestors of structuralism is rhetoric
- At every level of literature, structuralist analysis is especially appropriate
- However, structuralism should not aim simply to be another “scientific” approach to literature.
- Instead, structuralism should place
the actual subversion of scientific language at the centre of its programme . . .
- Structuralism should give up the pretense that language can ever be simply a neutral means of communicating ideas
- Structuralists should be aware of, and should highlight, the paradoxes involved in their own use of language and in any use of language
- There is no such thing as a neutral use of language, despite the claims of scientists to have achieved such a use; their claims must be challenged
- There is no use of language that is superior to others; the claim of scientists to have achieved such a language must be challenged
- Science suppresses the pleasures of language, and these need to be developed and emphasized
- The role of literature
is actively to represent to the scientific establishment what the latter denies, . . . [which is] the sovereignty of language. And structuralism ought to be in a strong position to cause such a scandal because, being acutely aware of the linguistic nature of human artefacts, it alone can reopen today the question of the linguistic status of science.
We’ve answered 318,944 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question