Roland Barthes

Author: Roland Barthes

Profile: Roland Gérard Barthes (full name) or Roland Barthes was a French essayist, literary critic, theorist, philosopher and semiotician. With his ideas he was influential in developing a number of schools of theory, including design theory, structuralism, post-structuralism, semiotics, anthropology and social theory and explored fields in a diverse range. He was born in Cherbourg-Octeville, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France and died in Paris France. Claude Levi-Strauss and Ferdinand de Saussure had a strong influence in his life.

In 1930 he took a degree in classical letters at the University of Paris and in philology and grammar in 1943. He worked at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (1952-1959) and was appointed to the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. He was the first person to hold the chair of literary semiology at the College de France in 1976.

Writing style: Roland Barthes writings on the formal study of symbols (semiotics) and signs pioneered by Ferdinand de Saussure, were helpful in establishing the New Criticism and structuralism as prime intellectual movements.

Published Texts:


1953 – Le degree zero de l’ecriture

1954 – Michelet par lui-meme

1957 – Mythologies

1963 – Sur Racine

1964 – Elements de semiologie

1970 – S/Z

1971 – Sade, Fourier, Loyola

1972 – Le Degre zero de l’ecriture suivi de Nouveaux essais critiques

1973 – Le plaisir du texte

1975 – Roland Barthes

1977 – Poetique du recit

1977 – A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments

1978 – Preface, La Parole Intermediaire

1980 – Recherche de Proust

1980 – La chamber Claire: note sur la photographie

1981 – Essais critiques

1982 – Litterature et realite

1988 – Michelet

1993 – OEuvres completes

2009 – Carnets du voyage en Chine, Christian Bourgeois: Paris

2009 – Journal de deuil

Translations to English

1967 – The Fashion System

1968 – Writing Degree Zero

1968 – Elements of Semiology

1972 – Mythologies

1975 – The Pleasure of the Text

1975 – S/Z: An Essay

1976 – Sade, Fourier

1977 – Image-Music-Text

1977 – Roland Barthes

1979 – The Eiffel Tower and other Mythologies

1981 – Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography

1972 – Critical Essays

1982 – A Barthes Reader

1983 – Empire of Signs

1962-1980 (1985) – The Grain of the Voice: Interviews

1985 – The Responsibility of Forms: Critical Essays on Music, Art and Representation

1986 – The Rustle of Language

1987 – Criticism and Truth

1987 – Michelet

1987 – Writer Sollers

1988 – Roland Barthes

1990 – A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments

1990 – New Critical Essays

1992 – Incidents

1992 – On Racine

1994 – The Semiotic Challenge

1977-1978 (2005) – The Neutral: Lecture Course at the College de France

2006 – The Language of Fashion

2007 – What Is Sport?

2010 – Mourning Diary

1978-1979 and 1979-1980 (2011)

1976-1977 (2013) How to Live Together: Notes for a Lecture Course and Seminar at the College de France

Awards and Acknowledgements:

‘Writing Degree Zero’ was ranked at the no.63 position on Le Monde’s list of ‘100 Books of the Century’

S/Z published in 1970 is considered a masterpiece that helped in the development of structuralism and post-structuralism ideologies and is believed to had a major impact on literary criticism.

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