This book focuses on some of the ways Barthes discusses the nature of his own writing. The first two chapters examine the key but ambiguous term of `derive' (`drift'), a word which raises questions about how exactly Barthes's writing develops across three decades, about the `scientific'legitimacy of his concepts, and about his own frequently fraught relation to the scientific discourses around him, especially psychoanalysis. Two typical discursive manoeuvres that structure his writing, `naming' and `framing', are then shown to generate particular aesthetic effects which causecomplications for some of his theoretical stances. Barthes's fascination for the idea that all writing is a kind of scribble, closer to the visual arts than to speech, is investigated in depth, and his latent animus against speech as such is made manifest. The final chapter suggests that, forBarthes, `the real' can leave its mark on writing only as a disturbing, indeed traumatic trace.