Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes

What right does my present have to speak of my past?

As the title might suggest, this autobiography is as idiosyncratic as its author. Within these pages, Barthes plays both commentator and subject to reveal his tastes, habits, passions and regrets.

No event, relationship or thought is given priority over any other; no attempt to construct a narrative is made. And yet, via a series of vignettes, Barthes's life and views on a multitude of subjects emerge - from money and love to language and truth. A fine introduction to one of the great minds of the twentieth century. 

Mythologies by Roland Barthes

We know that the war against intelligence is always waged in the name of common sense.

In this magnificent and often surprising collection of essays Barthes explores the myths of mass culture., and invents what we think of as cultural criticism. Taking subjects as diverse as wrestling, films, plastic and cars, Barthes elegantly deciphers the symbols and signs embedded deep in familiar aspects of modern life, unmasking the hidden ideologies and meanings which implicitly affect our thought and behaviour.

Startlingly relevant, this early classic of semiotics from one of France's greatest thinkers may irrevocably change the way you view the world around you.

The Grain of the Voice by Roland Barthes

Don’t bleach language, savour it instead.

In these interviews, given between 1962 and 1980, Barthes speaks about the development of his thought, explaining why and how he wrote his many books, paying tributes to philosophers, linguists, novelists, poets, painters and film-makers who have inspired him, as well as discussing how his life became dedicated to an exploration of semiotics.

What comes across is the sheer gusto of a man who never stopped developing and changing, and the warm personal side of his rich and probing intelligence.

A Lover's Discourse by Roland Barthes

I encounter millions of bodies in my life; of these millions, I may desire some hundreds; but of these hundreds, I love only one.

An ecstatic celebration of love and language, in this book Barthes reveals how the language we use when we are in love is not a language we speak. It is a language addressed to ourselves and to our imaginary beloved. It is a language of solitude, of mythology, of what Barthes calls an 'image repertoire'. 

Reviving the notion of the amorous subject beyond psychological or clinical enterprises, Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse is a book for everyone who has ever been in love, or indeed, thought themselves to be immune to its power.

Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes    

For what I have lost is not a Figure (the Mother), but a being; and not a being, but a quality (a soul): not the indispensable, but the irreplaceable.    

Examining themes of presence and absence, Barthes' final book is a series of reflections that begin as an investigation into the nature of photographs – their content, their pull on the viewer, their intimacy. Then, as Barthes contemplates a photograph of his mother as a child, the book becomes an exposition of his own mind. He was grieving for his mother at the time of writing.

Strikingly personal, yet one of the most important early works on photography, Camera Lucida remains essential reading for anyone interested in the power of images. 

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