Voice

It’s your own and some other’s, you and not you, babbling on day and night in a lunatic monologue. A man muttering in a room, a man and his skull, a man in his skull, a man carrying around his skull, babbling on. Repeat, cease, start, forget, remember, circle, abandon, stop, continue. Prodded into speech, prodded and prodder. Sometimes it seems it could go on without you, a babble with a voice of its own, warring with its own words.

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One response to “Voice

  1. Humboldt calls the sign’s freedom volubility. I am (inwardly) voluble, because I cannot anchor my discourse: the signs turn ‘in free wheeling’. If I could constrain the sign, submit it to some sanction, I could find rest at last. If only we could put our minds in plaster casts, like our legs! But I cannot keep from thinking, from speaking; no director is there to interrupt the interior movie I keep making of myself, someone to shout, Cut! Volubility is a kind of specific human misery: I am language-mad: no one listens to me, no one looks at me, but (like Schubert’s organ-grinder) I go on talking, turning my hurdy-gurdy.

    — Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse (trans. R. Howard)

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