Travels in China

Overview

In 1974 Roland Barthes travelled in China as part of a small delegation of distinguished French philosophers and literary figures. They arrived in China just as the last stage of the Cultural Revolution was getting underway - the campaign to criticize Lin Biao and Confucius. While they were welcomed by writers and academics, the travelers were required to follow a pre-established itinerary, visiting factories and construction sites, frequenting shows and restaurants that were ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $4.83   
  • New (10) from $8.55   
  • Used (4) from $4.83   
Sending request ...

Overview

In 1974 Roland Barthes travelled in China as part of a small delegation of distinguished French philosophers and literary figures. They arrived in China just as the last stage of the Cultural Revolution was getting underway - the campaign to criticize Lin Biao and Confucius. While they were welcomed by writers and academics, the travelers were required to follow a pre-established itinerary, visiting factories and construction sites, frequenting shows and restaurants that were the mainstay of Western visitors to China in the 70s.

Barthes planned to return from the trip with a book on China: the book never materialized, but he kept the diary notes he wrote at the time. The notes on things seen, smelled and heard alternate with reflections and remarks - meditations, critiques or notes of sympathy, an aside from the surrounding world. Published now for the first time more than thirty years after the trip, these notebooks offer a unique portrait of China at a time of turbulence and change, seen through the eyes of the world’s greatest semiotician.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book's most charming aspect is his little sketches: of hairstyles, or statues, or seating plans, and one tiny caricature of a near-featureless but somehow reassuring Confucius, an apparition perhaps of one whom Barthes wished to meet but didn't."
The Guardian

"The three notebooks that make up 'Travels in China' record impressions of what Barthes sees, hears, eats, and thinks in the present tense, so that we feel as if we’re perched on his shoulder, watching the events unfold in real time."
Los Angeles Review of Books

"These writings present an encounter between one of modern France's most influential intellectuals and a China undergoing profound change and adjustement."
Times Higher Education

"An entertainingly frank personal travelogue."
The Newark Star-Ledger

"Travels in China presents the drama of the leftist semiotician in a world in which there doesn't seem to be anything left to interpret … In general, this collection calls to mind those may Utopias verging on dystopias in which, all social problems having been solved, society lapses into a stultifying bordeom - except that this wasn't a fantasy of the future but rather an encounter with what existed in the here and now."
New Statesman

"A China that was in the throes of its cultural revolution was perhaps the perfect location for the unsentimental, observant and wry writer, who loved nothing more than to burst the vain balloons of human life. It is all here, from the greasy rice spoiling his new trousers on the way out, to the official and officious goodbye at Beijing."
Good Book Guide

"Reveals a figure who saw failure before his contemporaries and found Tel Quel's Maoist phase to be far from a great leap forward."
Times Literary Supplement

"Barthes's notebooks show three things that differentiate him from many useful idiots, as Lenin once put it, of the time: he was honest about what he saw in China, he was bored most of the time, and he was gay."
Literary Review

"This is an image of pre-capitalist China, a snapshot of a nation that has changed utterly in the past 35 years."
Sydney Morning Herald

"Barthes writes with his customary insight and style."
Conde Nast Traveller

"These notebooks, object of much controversy when published in France, record Barthes' ateempts to take an interest in Mao's China and his disaffection from the eager political discussions of his French companions. Though Barthes would doubtless have opposed the publicatino of this combination of dutiful note-taking and intimate notations, these fragments give an unfiltered picture of his affective reactions, touristic boredom, and sexual frustration."
Jonathan Culler, Cornell University

"What's delicate and even discreetly political about these engaging notes on a brief trip to China is the liveliness of Barthes's resistance to the obvious and his continuing quest for the oblique and curious. He was too subtle a thinker simply to endorse the unpredictable; but he knew when to worry about predictability, even in a good cause."
Michael Wood, Princeton University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745650814
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/21/2013
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 996,991
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Roland Barthes (1915-1980) was a French essayist and social and literary critic.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction
Map of China
Roland Barthes: Notes from a Visit to China
Notebook 1
Notebook 2
Notebook 3
Notes for Notebooks 1-3
Notebook 4
Thematic index
Index of proper names
Facsimile of Notebook 1
(Roland Barthes Archives, IMEC)

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)