Roland Barthes on the Labyrinth Metaphor

Roland Barthes on labyrinth-as-metaphor. From The Preparation of the Novel

. . . let’s imagine a Labyrinth without a central quid (neither Monster nor Treasure), so one that’s a-centric, which basically means a labyrinth without a final signified  to discover → Now, that might be the Metaphor for Meaning, in that it disappoints → Interpretation (detours, investigations, orientations) like a kind of mortal game, possibly with nothing at the center; here, again, the path would be equivalent to the goal–but only if you manage to get out (Rosenstiehl: the only mathematical problem presented by the labyrinth is how to find a way out). Imagine Theseus not finding the Minotaur at the center and yet sill turning back in the direction of . . . Ariadne, Love, Infidelity, “Life to no avail.”

3 thoughts on “Roland Barthes on the Labyrinth Metaphor”

  1. Did you ever have one of those tilting, wooden labyrinth games? With the little metal marbles, where you had to tilt the board by twirling knobs, to avoid the holes? The only way I ever found to win at it was by turning the knobs so sharply that the ball jumped out of its course and over the walls. Imagine Theseus only finding the minotaur with the help of a deus ex machina to lift him up out of the labyrinthine, two-dimensional plain. How about that as a metaphor for meaning?


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