In the later work of Roland Barthes the singular body of the reader becomes
increasingly important. Barthes pleaded for a semiotics of literature that
took into account what he called 'le grain du désir, la revendication du corps'.
In my analysis of Kosmos (1966), written by the Polish author Witold Gombrowicz,
I want to examine how such a reading strategy, based on the desire
of the reader, could take shape and how it could enrich the art of reading,
which is for Barthes also an art of living. An important Barthesian notion in
this respect is the delicacy, the taste for nuances that is prominently displayed
in literary texts. I also intend to show how this at first sight rather hedonistic,
even egoistic way of reading actually has a number of important ethical
implications, to the extent that the individual reader 'shares' his reading with
other readers, and literature is able to create an intersubjective space where
different subjects can meet each other.