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Barthes, Roland (1915–1980)

Roland Barthes was a French cultural critic associated with both structuralism and post-structuralism who, even more than most other French intellectuals, resisted disciplinary categorization. Barthes spent his early career teaching, convalescing from tuberculosis, and writing for left-wing literary journals. After his iconoclastic argument in Writing Degree Zero (1967b) that no writing could stand apart from and comment on culture because it was always part of it, he went on to write about history, film, photography, language, art, music, and theater, as well as poetry and literature.

Many of these themes crop up in the work for which he is most well known, Mythologies (1972). This slim volume, which started life as a series of brief essays published in French magazines, has had an enduring appeal because ...

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