- Publisher: Anchor Books
- Format: Paperback | 122 pages
- Language: English / French
- Dimensions: 136mm x 200mm x 10mm | 159g
- Publication date: 1 October 1983
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0374522073
- ISBN 13: 9780374522070
- Edition statement: Pbk.
- Sales rank: 52,340
An analysis of the culture of Japan includes discussions of haiku, cooking, Zen Buddhism, the custom of bowing, and the layout of cities.
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Roland Barthes was born in 1915 and studied French literature and the classics at the University of Paris. After teaching French at universities in Romania and Egypt, he joined the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, where he devoted himself to research in sociology and lexicology. He was a professor at the College de France until his death in 1980.
"If Japan did not exist, Barthes would have had to invent it--not that Japan "does" exist in "Empire of Signs", for Barthes is careful to point out that he is not analyzing the real Japan, there is no terrible "innerness" as in the West, no soul, no God, no fate, no ego, no grandeur, no metaphysics, no 'promotional fever' and finally no meaning . . . For Barthes Japan is a test, a challenge to think the unthinkable, a place where meaning is finally banished. Paradise, indeed, for the great student of signs." --Edmund White, "The New York Times Book Review "