Synopses & Reviews
Roland Barthes, whose centenary falls in 2015, was a restless, protean thinker. A constant innovator, often as a daring smuggler of ideas from one discipline to another, he first gained an audience with his pithy essays on mass culture and then went on to produce some of the most suggestive and stimulating cultural criticism of the late twentieth century, including Empire of Signs
, The Pleasure of the Text
, and Camera Lucida
. In 1976, this one time structuralist outsider was elected to a chair at France’s preeminent Collège de France, where he chose to style himself as professor of literary semiology until his death in 1980.
The greater part of Barthes’s published writings have been available to a French audience since 2002, but here, translator Chris Turner presents a collection of essays, interviews, prefaces, book reviews, and other journalistic material for the first time in English. Divided into five themed volumes, readers are presented in volume five, ‘Simply a Particular Contemporary’: Interviews, with four interviews Barthes conducted between 1970 and 1979, varying widely in style and content.
"Perhaps the best introduction to date on Barthes and his work."and#151;Scott Montgomery, Bloomsbury Review
"As a first introduction to the work of Roland Barthes, The Grain of the Voice could not be bettered. Stimulated by generally intelligent questioners, Barthes here talks about the development of his thought, explains why and how he wrote his many books, and pays tribute to philosophers, linguists, novelists, poets, painters, and filmmakers who have interested and inspired him . . . What comes across most vividly is the sheer gusto of a man who never stopped developing and changing, never stopped interacting with contemporaries of all ages and all tastes, and never stopped enjoying his intellectual activities and spiritual explorations."and#151;S. S. Prawer, Washington Post Book World
This book brings together the great majority of Barthesand#8217;s interviews that originally appeared in French in Le Figaro Littand#233;raire, Cahiers du Cinand#233;ma, France-Observateur, L'Express, and elsewhere. Barthes replied to questionsand#151;on the cinema, on his own works, on fashion, writing, and criticismand#151;in his unique voice; here we have Barthes in conversation, speaking directly, with all his individuality. These interviews provide an insight into the rich, probing intelligence of one of the great and influential minds of our time.
About the Author
Roland Barthes (1915andndash;1980) was born in Normandy, raised in Paris, and was educated at the Sorbonne and Centre national de la recherche scientifique. His first book, Mythologies, about myths in popular culture, was published in 1957. He was a central figure in schools of theory including structuralism, semiotics, existentialism, social theory, Marxism, and post-structuralism. His works include S/Z, Camera Lucida, and the essay andquot;The Death of the Author.andquot; Northwestern University Press is reissuing Barthesandrsquo;s New Critical Essays this season as well.
Linda Coverdale is an award=winning translator of more than fifty books. In 2001, the French government awarder her the title of Chevalier dans land#39;Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Table of Contents
From Speech to Writing
Do Things Mean Something?
I Donand#39;t Believe in Influences
Semiology and Cinema
On Behalf of the andquot;New Criticism,andquot; Roland Barthes Replies to Raymond Picard
Onand#160;The Fashion System and the Structural Analysis of Narratives
The Fashion System
Conversation on a Scientific Poem
Onand#160;S/Z andand#160;Empire of Signs
Land#39;Expressand#160;Talks with Roland Barthes
Roland Barthes on Criticism
Interview: A Conversation with Roland Barthes
The Fatality of Culture, the Limits of Counterculture
Pleasure / Writing / Reading
The Adjective Is the andquot;Statementandquot; of Desire
An Almost Obsessive Relation to Writing Instruments
The Phantoms of the Opera
Roland Barthes versus Received Ideas
What Would Become of a Society that Ceased to Reflect upon Itself?
The Play of the Kaleidoscope
Twenty Key Words for Roland Barthes
Literature / Teaching
The Surrealists Overlooked the Body
The Crisis of Truth
A Great Rhetorician of Erotic Figures
Of What use Is an Intellectual?
A Loverand#39;s Discourse
The Greatest Cryptographer of Contemporary Myths Talks about Love
On the Subject of Violence
A Few Words to Let in Doubt
An Extremely Brutal Context
Roland Barthes on Roland Barthes
Dare to Be Lazy
For a Chateaubriand of Paper
From Taste to Ecstasy
The Crisis of Desire