Mythologies by Roland Barthes

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"[Mythologies] illustrates the beautiful generosity of Barthes's progressive interest in the meaning (his word is signification) of practically everything around him, not only the books and paintings of high art, but also the slogans, trivia, toys, food, and popular rituals (cruises, striptease, eating, wrestling matches) of contemporary life . . . For Barthes, words and objects have in common the organized capacity to say something; at the same time, since they are signs, words and objects have the bad faith always to appear natural to their consumer, as if what they say is eternal, true, necessary, instead of arbitrary, made, contingent. Mythologies finds Barthes revealing the fashioned systems of ideas that make it possible, for example, for 'Einstein's brain' to stand for, be the myth of, 'a genius so lacking in magic that one speaks about his thought as a functional labor analogous to the mechanical making of sausages.' Each of the little essays in this book wrenches a definition out of a common but constructed object, making the object speak its hidden, but ever-so-present, reservoir of manufactured sense."--Edward W. Said
 

About Roland Barthes

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Roland Barthes (1915-1980), a French critic and intellectual, was a seminal figure in late twentieth-century literary criticism. Barthes's primary theory is that language is not simply words, but a series of indicators of a given society's assumptions. He derived his critical method from structuralism, which studies the rules behind language, and semiotics, which analyzes culture through signs and holds that meaning results from social conventions. Barthes believed that such techniques permit the reader to participate in the work of art under study, rather than merely react to it. Barthes's first books, Writing Degree Zero (1953), and Mythologies (1957), introduced his ideas to a European audience. During the 1960s his work began to appear in the United States in translation and became a strong influence on a generation of American literary critics and theorists. Other important works by Barthes are Elements of Semiology (1968), Critical Essays (1972), The Pleasure of the Text (1973), and The Empire of Signs (1982). The Barthes Reader (1983), edited by Susan Sontag, contains a wide selection of the critic's work in English translation.
 
Published January 1, 1972 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 160 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Pub Date: May 1st, 1972 ISBN: 0374521506 Page count: 16...

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Even when he's making simple sense--describing how a flood "reconstructs" our perceptions of topology or how the bourgeoisie (whipping-boys throughout) believe "anything which risks substituting an explanation for a retort to be null and void"--the combative, often snide mentalism of his stance, ...

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Kirkus Reviews

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Where those pieces can occasionally read like journalism (on a very high intellectual level), the second part, “Myth Today,” which retains the 1972 translation, provides the philosophical underpinnings of meaning as a social construct and myth as man-made, fluid rather than fixed (“there is no fi...

Jan 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Mythologies

Kirkus Reviews

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Although Mythologies, published 15 years ago in France, may seem a lamentably late arrival on these shores, it is still the gamiest of structuralist studies.

Oct 10 2011 | 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

Pajiba

Read all about it , and find more of Martin Jensen’s reviews on the group blog.

Aug 06 2013 | 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...

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Project MUSE

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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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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