"The Fear of Breakdown" is the title of an article written in 1974 by the English pediatrician and psychoanalyst D. Winnicott, who writes that the psychoanalyst lives in fear of breakdown. But: "The clinical fear of breakdown is the fear of a breakdown that has already been experienced [...], and there are times when a patient is dependent on being told that the breakdown, the feared occurrence of which undermines his life, has already taken place. The same seems to be true for the fear of the lover, for example for Roland Barthes: "From the beginning of love, abandonment (the fear of it) has already taken place.
Pierre Loti was a Turcophile French naval officer who was in the Ottoman Empire between 1876 and 1877. Aziyadé (1879), a novel of letters, tells the autofictional love story of a naval officer (he has the same name as the author) against the background of the declining Ottoman Empire. In Constantinople (today's Istanbul), the novel character Loti disguises himself as a Turk and adopts the national language in order to pass for a native. At the same time, however, he officer travels inward, to the exotic land of his unconscious. With him, the Ottoman Empire also regresses in the novel.
Although Loti tries to hide his homosexual desire, this desire seems to be omnipresent. André Gide and Jean Cocteau are certain that the forbidden love for the young harem lady Aziyadé, who gave the novel its title, is a codified same-sex love, as it were. Barthes elaborates on this gay subtext in his preface to the Italian edition of Loti's novel. Barthes reads a life-threatening situation for Loti as a successful cruising scene.