Andy Stafford

Roland Barthes, Phenomenon and myth


Titel: Roland Barthes, Phenomenon and myth, 1998
Uitgever: Edinburgh University Press
ISBN13: 978-0-7486-0867-6ISBN: 9780748608676


How did Roland Barthes, beginning his publishing career only at the age of 38 and from a provincial middle-class but impoverished background, become a touchstone of late 20th century cultural theory and practice? How could a writer who was unable to win a prize for writing become the prime theorist and practitioner of ecriture? How do we write the intellectual life of a writer whose major concern, at the end of his career, was to undermine any image of himself which might take hold?

Following the publication of Roland Barthes's Complete Works, it is now more possible to chart Barthes's unorthodox, if not meteoric, rise to prominence and to trace the development of ideas and writing practices across his career. Aware of the pitfalls of a biographical approach to the 'Death of the Author theorist and the arch critic of bourgeois myth - this study sets out to find Barthes somewhere in the 'dialogue' between the writer and his time. It starts from the beginning, and seeks to explain the 'late' by an earlier Barthes suggesting particular influences and investigating the reception of his work along the way.

Dividing Barthes's life into three distinct phases - the polemical journalist of post-war France, the academic theorist of the 1960s, and the celebrated writer and intellectual in the 1970s - this powerful intellectual biography sets out the conditions in which an 'outsider' to the academic and intellectual world became feted as one of France's mostimportant post-war intellectual figures. In so doing, it takes into account the uneasy relationship between academic research in the social sciences, political critique and literary creativity.

ANDY STAFFORD is Lecturer in French Studies at Lancaster University and is a specialist on Roland Barthes's early journalism. He is currently researching a study of post-war popular theatre in France.





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