Roland Barthes as a Cultural Theorist

French literary critic, Roland Barthes (1915-1980) was a key figure both in the development of structuralism — in particular in the application of techniques derived from semiology to the analysis of everyday life and popular (as well as high) culture — and in the post-structuralist criticism of structuralism. His work covers an enormous range of… Read More Roland Barthes as a Cultural Theorist

Gerard Genette and Structural Narratology

The most important of the structural narratologists, Gerard Genette, has argued for the autonomous nature of the literary text. Genette’s work has been of particular use to literary critics for his  attempts to develop models of reading texts in a rigorously analytical manner. The analysis of narrative has been Genette’s abiding concern, as his voluminous… Read More Gerard Genette and Structural Narratology

Umberto Eco and the Semiotics

Eco proceeds from the Peircean assumption of “unlimited semiosis.” Though unlimited semiosis indicates that signs always refer to other signs (and that a text is open to infinite interpretations), Eco seeks a middle ground between univocal meaning and infinite meanings. For Eco unlimited semiosis is meaning established with reference to conditions of possibility. A univocal type… Read More Umberto Eco and the Semiotics

Roland Barthes’ Contribution to Literary Criticism

Embodying a transformation from structuralism to poststructuralism, Roland Barthes, though initially characterised by a Marxist perspective, extended structural analysis and semiology to broad cultural phenomena, and promulgated and popularised the poststructuralist notions of “the death of the author”, of the text as a site of freeplay, and the difference between the “work” and the “text”… Read More Roland Barthes’ Contribution to Literary Criticism


The advent of critical theory in the post-war period, which comprised various complex disciplines like linguistics, literary criticism, Psychoanalytic criticism, structuralism postcolonialism etc., proved hostile to the liberal consensus which reigned the realm of criticism between the 19305 and `50s. Among these overarching discourses, the most controversial were the two intellectual movements, structuralism and poststructuralism… Read More Structuralism