on Roland Barthes






Kindle edition


Mireille Ribière, Barthes, Philosophy Insights, Humanities-Ebooks, 90 pages

(New updated edition of Barthes – A Beginner’s Guide, Hodder & Stoughton, 2002)


Roland Barthes (1915-1980), was probably the most important French thinker to emerge from the post-war period. He was part of every major intellectual movement in the humanities that came out of Metropolitan France between 1945 and 1980 and he became a figure of international repute. At a time of great social, political and intellectual change, Barthes represented an unconventional, yet often rigorous, way of thinking which had considerable appeal.

This comprehensive study guide to Roland Barthes’s work tracks his intellectual evolution, with particular emphasis on those areas where his influence is felt most strongly today.

The strength and originality of Barthes’s seminal work are scrutinised in seven core chapters (Mythologies; Semiology; New criticism; Structuralism; Reader, writer and text; Pleasure, the body and the self; and Photography), and the successive shifts in his thinking are carefully explained. Another three chapters (Barthes in perspective; Barthes’s legacy; and Paradox: a way of thinking) offer an overview of Barthes’s career and assess his place in today’s intellectual landscape.


Barthes’s Early Years, 15 pages
Contents: Childhood in Bayonne (1915–1924). — Teenage Years in Paris (1924–1933). —Tuberculosis, ‘A Substitute Existence’ (1934–1945).

Barthes’s Early Works, 14 pages
Contents: 1946: ‘The Onset of Productive Life’. — Michelet (1954), An Anachrony. — Writing Degree Zero (1953) – The Ethics of Form.

Barthes and the Theatre, 16 pages
Contents: ‘I have always loved the theatre’.— The Popular Theatre Years. — The Brecht Years.

And in French:

‘Barthes “réaliste” – La photographie, une voie possible vers le roman, 12 pages
Abstract: While supporting literary works that undermine the conventions of « realism » and traditional narrative, Barthes repeatedly expressed his hostility to “analogical” forms of thought and art. In this context, it is significant that Camera Lucida, in which the photographic image is seen as the perfect “analogon” of reality, should depart from his previous writings and take on a mainly narrative form.

Georges Perec, Roland Barthes: l’élève et le maître, 16 pages
Abstract: Throughout his writing career, Perec acknowledged Barthes as his master. Yet Barthes never recognized him as a major writer. This paper examines in detail the similarities and, most importantly, the divergences between their respective approaches to literature.