although I felt quite friendly towards Roland Barthes I could never admire him. he always struck me as very careful and professorial, and strictly partisan. after the ‘Mythologies’ series I couldn’t read him anymore. I tried after he died to read his book on photography, but again I couldn’t get on with it, except for a very fine chapter about his mother. the much revered mother who had been his companion, and the only heroine in the wilderness of his life. then I tried to read A Lover’s Discourse, but I couldn’t. obviously it’s very clever. jottings on love—yes, on love, but in making them he managed not to love at all, as far as I can see. a charming man, really charming, of course. and a writer, of course. that’s the point. a writer of writing that’s stiff and regular.
—Marguerite Duras, Practicalities