Philip Thody

Roland Barthes


Titel: Roland Barthes, 1977
Uitgever: Macmillan Press
ISBN-10: ISBN-10: 0-226-79513-6
ISBN-13: ISBN-13: 978-0-226-79513-3


Philip Thody's Roland Barthes is both an admirably lucid introductory study of one of the most important modern literary critics and a carefully considered attempt to present Barthe's ideas within the framework of "a conservative estimate." It is a book written about Barthes in non-Barthesian prose, a translation of Barthes's principal concepts into the language of Anglo-Saxon empiricism, and an evaluation of the usefulness of those concepts. Barthes himself argued that "there is an evil, a social, ideological evil attached to sign systems which do not openly proclaim themselves as systems." Thody agrees and has candidly declared his conservative standpoint in this unique attempt to describe one form of discourse with the terms and ideological implications of a very different one.

Thody provides the reader with a succinct account of Barthes's career and a clear exposition of the themes developed in books such as Mythologies, Sur Racine, Elements de semiologie, S/Z, and others. He places those themes within the contexts of French and Anglo-American I iterary criticism, as well as Marxist and Freudian thought. At the same time, Thody offers a reasoned and systematic criticism of Barthes's principal ideas, emphasizing both their originality and their controversial nature. This edition of Roland Barthes also contains a lengthy Afterword in which the author brings his account up to date, commenting on the more recent works Barthes published before his death in 1980 and presenting a frank, self-critical reevaluation of the goals and limitations of his "conservative estimate."

"A thoroughly useful study, and what is more, an enjoyable one, written with wit, generosity, and a humane understanding of two literary traditions that have grown very far apart." -Graham Hough, Times literary Supplement

Philip Thody is professor of French literature at the University of Leeds. He is the author of Jean Genet: A Critical Appraisal, Laclos: les Liaisons dangereuses, and other works.





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