Roland Barthes

Roland Barthes

Roland Barthes

Roland Barthes

Synopsis

Roland Barthes is a central figure in the study of language, literature, culture and the media. This book prepares readers for their first encounter with his crucial writings on some of the most important theoretical debates, including: *existentialism and Marxism *semiology, or the 'language of signs' *structuralism and narrative analysis *post-structuralism, deconstruction and 'the death of the author' *theories of the text and intertextuality. Tracing his engagement with other key thinkers such as Sartre, Saussure, Derrida and Kristeva, this volume offers a clear picture of Barthes work in-context. The in-depth understanding of Barthes offered by this guide is essential to anyone reading contemporary critical theory.

Excerpt

The books in this series offer introductions to major critical thinkers who have influenced literary studies and the humanities. The Routledge Critical Thinkers series provides the books you can turn to first when a new name or concept appears in your studies.

Each book will equip you to approach a key thinker's original texts by explaining her or his key ideas, putting them into context and, perhaps most importantly, showing you why this thinker is considered to be significant. The emphasis is on concise, clearly written guides which do not presuppose a specialist knowledge. Although the focus is on particular figures, the series stresses that no critical thinker ever existed in a vacuum but, instead, emerged from a broader intellectual, cultural and social history. Finally, these books will act as a bridge between you and the thinker's original texts: not replacing them but rather complementing what she or he wrote.

These books are necessary for a number of reasons. In his 1997 autobiography, Not Entitled, the literary critic Frank Kermode wrote of a time in the 1960s:

On beautiful summer lawns, young people lay together all night, recovering from their daytime exertions and listening to a troupe of Balinese musicians. Under their blankets or their sleeping bags, they would chat drowsily about the gurus of the time … What they repeated was largely hearsay; hence my

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