Mythologies by Roland Barthes

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Synopsis

“No denunciation without its proper instrument of close analysis,” Roland Barthes wrote in his preface to Mythologies. There is no more proper instrument of analysis of our contemporary myths than this book—one of the most significant works in French theory, and one that has transformed the way readers and philosophers view the world around them.

Our age is a triumph of codification. We own devices that bring the world to the command of our fingertips. We have access to boundless information and prodigious quantities of stuff. We decide to like or not, to believe or not, to buy or not. We pick and choose. We think we are free. Yet all around us, in pop culture, politics, mainstream media, and advertising, there are codes and symbols that govern our choices. They are the fabrications of consumer society. They express myths of success, well-being, or happiness. As Barthes sees it, these myths must be carefully deciphered, and debunked.

What Barthes discerned in mass media, the fashion of plastic, and the politics of postcolonial France applies with equal force to today’s social networks, the iPhone, and the images of 9/11. This new edition of Mythologies, complete and beautifully rendered by the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet, critic, and translator Richard Howard, is a consecration of Barthes’s classic—a lesson in clairvoyance that is more relevant now than ever.

 

About Roland Barthes

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Roland Barthes was born in 1915. A French literary theorist, philosopher, and critic, he influenced the development of various schools of theory, including structuralism, semiotics, existentialism, social theory, Marxism, and post-structuralism. He died in 1980.
 
Published March 13, 2012 by Hill and Wang. 288 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mythologies

Kirkus Reviews

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A new edition of landmark work.

Mar 06 2012 | Read Full Review of Mythologies

Publishers Weekly

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This new edition brings into English for the first time all of the essays in the groundbreaking Mythologies by French semiotician and critic Barthes, translated by the redoubtable Howard (Flowers of E

Jan 06 2012 | Read Full Review of Mythologies

Publishers Weekly

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Barthes’s classic tome on symbolism—an essential text in cultural studies—is given fresh life with a new translation from Richard Howard and Annette Lavers and this audio edition. Exploring how films,

May 25 2012 | Read Full Review of Mythologies

Publishers Weekly

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Barthes’s classic tome on symbolism—an essential text in cultural studies—is given fresh life with a new translation from Richard Howard and Annette Lavers and this audio edition.

May 28 2012 | Read Full Review of Mythologies

Publishers Weekly

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This new edition brings into English for the first time all of the essays in the groundbreaking Mythologies by French semiotician and critic Barthes, translated by the redoubtable Howard (Flowers of Evil), and joins them with Lavers’s earlier translation of Barthes’s accompanying analytical e...

Jan 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Mythologies

Washington Independent Review of Books

In “The Tour de France as Epic,” Barthes describes the Tour as an epic battle “with only four movements: to lead, to follow, to escape, to collapse.” “To collapse,” he argues, “prefigures abandon, it is always horrifying and saddens the public like a disaster: on Mont Ventoux, certain collapses h...

Jul 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Mythologies

BookIdeas.com

Barthes relates this to his subject, myth, in this way: "It can be seen that in myth there are two semiological systems, one of which is staggered in relation to the other: a linguistic system, the language (or the modes of representation which are assimilated to it), which I shall call the langu...

Dec 11 2015 | Read Full Review of Mythologies

https://muse.jhu.edu

Finally, Martine Joly positions Barthes’s study within 1950s French research on myth and reflects on recent and, she argues, futile attempts to repeat its success, while Graham Allen discusses Mythologies with regard to the development of Cultural Studies and contemporary university micromanage...

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