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

Roland Barthes’ Concept of Mythologies

Differing from the Saussurean view that the connection between the signifier and signified is arbitrary, Barthes argued that this connection, which is an act of signification, is the result of collective contract, and over a period of time, the connection becomes naturalised. In (1957) Barthes undertook an ideological critique of various products of mass bourgeoise… Read More Roland Barthes’ Concept of Mythologies

Roland Barthes’ Analysis of Balzac’s Sarrasine

Barthes’ analysis of Balzac’s Sarassin in S/Z (1970) has led to some major development in poststructuralist theory. Barthes identifies two main types of literature, roughly corresponding to the 19th century realist novel and the twentieth century experimental modernist novel. Traditionally, the realist text, which Barthes calls the “readerly text” was thought to be transparent, with seemingly unitary… Read More Roland Barthes’ Analysis of Balzac’s Sarrasine

Roland Barthes’ Concept of Readerly and Writerly Texts

One of the seminal contributions of Roland Barthes, a versatile literary and cultural critic and semiologist, was the poststructuralist distinction between two main types of texts roughly corresponding to nineteenth century realism and twentieth century experimental modernism. In his 1970 work S/Z in which he did a structural analysis of Balzac’s Sarrasine, Barthes formulated that… Read More Roland Barthes’ Concept of Readerly and Writerly Texts

Roland Barthes’ Concept of Death of the Author

Roland Barthes’ Death of the Author (1968) plays a pioneering role in contemporary theory as it encapsulates certain key ideas of poststructuralist theory and also marks Barthes’ transition from structuralism to poststructuralism. The title itself, in a rhetorical way announces the liberation of the literary work from authorial-intention and control, an idea foreshadowed in modernism.… Read More Roland Barthes’ Concept of Death of the Author

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