Empire Signs
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Empire Signs

By (author) Roland Barthes

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With this book, Barthes offers a broad-ranging meditation on the culture, society, art, literature, language, and iconography--in short, both the sign-oriented realities and fantasies--of Japan itself.

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  • Paperback | 122 pages
  • 136 x 200 x 10mm | 158.76g
  • 01 Oct 1983
  • Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc
  • Anchor Books
  • New York
  • English, French
  • Pbk.
  • 0374522073
  • 9780374522070
  • 63,628

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Author Information

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.

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Review quote

"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 "

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