Roland Barthes, whose centenary falls in 2015, was a restless, protean thinker. A constant innovator, often as a daring smuggler of ideas from one discipline to another, he first gained an audience with his pithy essays on mass culture and then went on to produce some of the most suggestive and stimulating cultural criticism of the late twentieth century, including Empire of Signs, The Pleasure of the Text, and Camera Lucida. In 1976, this one time structuralist outsider was elected to a chair at France’s preeminent Collège de France, where he chose to style himself as professor of literary semiology until his death in 1980.
The greater part of Barthes’s published writings have been available to a French audience since 2002, but here, translator Chris Turner presents a collection of essays, interviews, prefaces, book reviews, and other journalistic material for the first time in English. Divided into five themed volumes, readers are presented in volume two, ‘The “Scandal” of Marxism’ and Other Writings on Politics, with a wide range of Barthes’s more overtly political writings, with an emphasis on his early work and the serious national turbulence in the French 1950s.
About the Author
Roland Barthes (1915-80) was a professor at the Collège de France until his death. His books include Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography; Image, Music, Text; and A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments. Chris Turner is a writer and translator who lives in Birmingham, England. He has translated Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Aftermath of War, Portraits, and Critical Essays and André Gorz’s Ecologica and The Immaterial, all published by Seagull Books.
Table of Contents
Do Revolutions Follow Laws?
The ‘Scandal’ of Marxism
Humanism without Words
Phenomenology and Dialectical Materialism
On a Metaphor. (Is Marxism a Church?)
Left-Wing Writers or Left-Wing Literature?
Yes, There Definitely is a Left-Wing Literature
The Masters and the Slaves
Am I a Marxist?
Is Anti-Semitism Right- or Left-Wing?
The Choice of a Career
On a Use of the Verb “To Be”
On the De Gaulle Regime
On the Left-Wing Criticism
A Case of Cultural Criticism
So, How Was China?
Letter to Bernard-Henri Lévy
The Minorities of the Minorities
Remarks on Violence
Reply to a Question on Artists and Politics