How to Live Together presents the lecture notes for Roland Barthes’s first course at the Collège de France. Between January 12 and May 4, 1977, the weekly lectures explored the fantasy of ‘idiorrhythmy’, whereby each individual lives at his or her own pace, improvising new ways of balancing the need for solitude and the desire for contact with others. For an indication of how idiorhythmic living might work, Barthes looks to nature, to religious writings and – especially – to the novel, mining Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Zola’s Pot-Bouille and Mann’s The Magic Mountain for the spatial and temporal, social and affective organizations of daily life they propose. Barthes’s approach to teaching was wholly collaborative, inviting his audience to share in and investigate his fantasy with him. In this sense, the lecture notes are also the record of a lived experiment in reading, thinking and working together.
Kate Briggs is the translator of two volumes of Roland Barthes’s How to Live Together, edited by Claude Coste (Columbia UP, 2012), The Preparation of the Novel, edited by Nathalie Léger (Columbia UP, 2010), and Michel Foucault’s Introduction to Kant’s Anthropology, co-translated with and edited by Roberto Nigro (MIT, 2007). She is the author of Exercise in Pathetic Criticism (Information as Material, 2011) and has published on writing and translation in Translation Studies, Paragraph and Textual Practice. She runs a semester-long translation workshop for students of Cultural Translation at AUP.