Roland Barthes (1915-1980) was an 'incomparable enlivener of the literary mind' whose lifelong fascination was with 'the way people make their world intelligible'. He has a multi-faceted claim to fame: to some he is the structuralist who outlined a 'science of literature', and the most prominent promoter of semiology; to others he stands not for science but for pleasure, espousing that literature which gives the reader a creative role. He championed the Nouveau Roman but his best known works deal with classic writers such as Racine and Balzac. He called for 'the death of the author', urging that we study not writers but texts; yet he himself published idiosyncratic books rightly celebrated as imaginative products of a personal vision.
[The author] elucidates the varied theoretical contributions of this 'public experimenter' and describe the many projects which Barthes explored and which helped change the way we think about a range of cultural phenomena, from literature, fashion, wrestling and advertising to notions of the self, of history and of nature....Continua