The title of this web site is an acknowledgment to ideas originally presented by the French structuralist Roland Barthes. Barthes examined portions of everyday life and, by applying his structuralist approach, associated meanings with items that went well beyond the physical properties of the item itself. Each item he examined carried a significance well beyond its own value.
One of his more famous investigations was analyzing what wine meant to the French. A bottle of red wine, then, is mythologized into something far beyond itself. Going well beyond simply a glass bottle containing crushed, fermented grapes to something that represents a sense of nationalistic pride, encompassing all that the French hold dear. For that matter, the association that Canadians proudly have with hockey and beer are comparable, as is any country’s flag, to items that hold significances that are so mythologized.
The personal part comes from a desire to investigate those things that individuals attach value to. Barthes paved the way for structuralists to examine cultural motifs on a grand scale. On a more intimate level, we get to inquire and investigate those things that we encounter that impact and leave mark. What do the things that we have read and, therefore, experienced mean to you? This is an intimate grouping, not a random blog or forum of internet fly-byes. I hope you take the time to post a thought or two about the texts in question. At least take it as an opportunity to read again, pick up a book based on the conversations that you see running through this site. In doing so, I hope that you start to uncover more about who you are as a person and why you attach meanings to those things that you hold dear.
Friends have been invited here to read, comment, lurk, link and share the importance of life’s important events they have come to realize through literature. After all, literature is supposed to be that axe that cleaves through the frozen regions of the soul [Kafka], so let’s share and discuss it.
I see this site as an opportunity to use literature and technology to reconnect with the folks that I just don’t have the time or proximity to connect with over the shared experience of a book or article. It is also an opportunity to reflect in a way that I need to continue doing to become better at it and not to loose the writing skills that I’ve gained after the last couple of years of education.
Cheers and I hope to get this thing going soon so as I can see you all here.