The Grain of the Voice: Interviews 1962-1980

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This book brings together the great majority of Barthes’s interviews that originally appeared in French in Le Figaro Littéraire, Cahiers du Cinéma, France-Observateur, L'Express, and elsewhere. Barthes replied to questions—on the cinema, on his own works, on fashion, writing, and criticism—in his unique voice; here we have Barthes in conversation, speaking directly, with all his individuality. These interviews provide an insight into the rich, probing intelligence of one of the great and influential minds of our time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Perhaps the best introduction to date on Barthes and his work."—Scott Montgomery, Bloomsbury Review

"As a first introduction to the work of Roland Barthes, The Grain of the Voice could not be bettered. Stimulated by generally intelligent questioners, Barthes here talks about the development of his thought, explains why and how he wrote his many books, and pays tribute to philosophers, linguists, novelists, poets, painters, and filmmakers who have interested and inspired him . . . What comes across most vividly is the sheer gusto of a man who never stopped developing and changing, never stopped interacting with contemporaries of all ages and all tastes, and never stopped enjoying his intellectual activities and spiritual explorations."—S. S. Prawer, Washington Post Book World

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Collected here are many previously published interviews with Barthes, which give him a forum for discussing his work. He also comments on a wide variety of issues, arguing, for example, that de Sade is a great writer, that laziness is the student's rebellion against academic rigidity. PW called the text ``candid and pointed.'' January
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810126404
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,468,066
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Roland Barthes (1915-1980) was born in Normandy, raised in Paris, and was educated at the Sorbonne and Centre national de la recherche scientifique. His first book, Mythologies, about myths in popular culture, was published in 1957. He was a central figure in schools of theory including structuralism, semiotics, existentialism, social theory, Marxism, and post-structuralism. His works include S/Z, Camera Lucida, and the essay "The Death of the Author." Northwestern University Press is reissuing Barthes’s New Critical Essays this season as well.

Linda Coverdale is an award=winning translator of more than fifty books. In 2001, the French government awarder her the title of Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

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Table of Contents

From Speech to Writing
Do Things Mean Something?
On Film
I Don't Believe in Influences
Semiology and Cinema
On Behalf of the "New Criticism," Roland Barthes Replies to Raymond Picard
On The Fashion System and the Structural Analysis of Narratives
The Fashion System
Conversation on a Scientific Poem
On S/Z and Empire of Signs
L'Express Talks with Roland Barthes
Roland Barthes on Criticism
Interview: A Conversation with Roland Barthes
The Fatality of Culture, the Limits of Counterculture
Pleasure / Writing / Reading
The Adjective Is the "Statement" of Desire
An Almost Obsessive Relation to Writing Instruments
The Phantoms of the Opera
Roland Barthes versus Received Ideas
What Would Become of a Society that Ceased to Reflect upon Itself?
The Play of the Kaleidoscope
Twenty Key Words for Roland Barthes
Literature / Teaching
The Surrealists Overlooked the Body
The Crisis of Truth
A Great Rhetorician of Erotic Figures
Of What use Is an Intellectual?
A Lover's Discourse
The Greatest Cryptographer of Contemporary Myths Talks about Love
On the Subject of Violence
A Few Words to Let in Doubt
An Extremely Brutal Context
Roland Barthes on Roland Barthes
Dare to Be Lazy
For a Chateaubriand of Paper
From Taste to Ecstasy
On Photography
The Crisis of Desire

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