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Barthes, Roland (1915–80)

DOI
10.4324/9780415249126-DE001-1
DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DE001-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved November 17, 2019, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/barthes-roland-1915-80/v-1

Article Summary

In the field of contemporary literary studies, the French essayist and cultural critic Roland Barthes cannot be easily classified. His early work on language and culture was strongly influenced by the intellectual currents of existentialism and Marxism that were dominant in French intellectual life in the mid-twentieth century. Gradually his work turned more to semiology (a general theory of signs), which had a close association with the structuralist tradition in literary criticism. In his later work, Barthes wrote more as a post-structuralist than as a structuralist in an attempt to define the nature and authority of a text. Throughout his writings Barthes rejected the ‘naturalist’ view of language, which takes the sign as a representation of reality. He maintained that language is a dynamic activity that dramatically affects literary and cultural practices.

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Citing this article:
Risser, James. Barthes, Roland (1915–80), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DE001-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/barthes-roland-1915-80/v-1.
Copyright © 1998-2019 Routledge.

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