Jouissance, or, Thomas Bernhard


‘Jouissance’ in Le plaisir du texte (1973)

“If I read this sentence, this story, or this word with pleasure, it is because they were written in pleasure (such pleasure does not contradict the writer’s complaints).”



Bernhard‘s oeuvre is perhaps the perfect example of this or the most complete practice of it: the constant complaining of his irredeemably negative narrators produces a pompous and pretentious style of prose that fills the written text with none other than pleasure. Pleasure for both the writer and reader that could never come from prose sentences attempting engagement (entrapment) with an underhanded empathy, shaping joy, gaiety and that generally held ideal of ‘happiness’ to ‘share’ in. It is their negative thrill, instead, their breaching and interdicting of a limit on what should remain hidden in only the ‘dark depths’ of one’s mind and that which can be written for the public and enter into literature. The Unhappy Consciousness comes to be given shape in sentence form. The Great Refusal to countenance the crushing weight of a damaged life and the ignominy of existence. There is pleasure in saying so so well.

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For the source of these and more Bernhard quotes


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