Mythologies

Mythologies

4.09 (12,664 ratings by Goodreads)
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"["Mythologies"] illustrates the beautiful generosity of Barthes's progressive interest in the meaning (his word is signification) of practically everything around him, not only the books and paintings of high art, but also the slogans, trivia, toys, food, and popular rituals (cruises, striptease, eating, wrestling matches) of contemporary life . . . For Barthes, words and objects have in common the organized capacity to say something; at the same time, since they are signs, words and objects have the bad faith always to appear natural to their consumer, as if what they say is eternal, true, necessary, instead of arbitrary, made, contingent. "Mythologies" finds Barthes revealing the fashioned systems of ideas that make it possible, for example, for 'Einstein's brain' to stand for, be the myth of, 'a genius so lacking in magic that one speaks about his thought as a functional labor analogous to the mechanical making of sausages.' Each of the little essays in this book wrenches a definition out of a common but constructed object, making the object speak its hidden, but ever-so-present, reservoir of manufactured sense."--Edward W. Said
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 134 x 203 x 12mm | 150g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0374521506
  • 9780374521509
  • 155,925

Review quote

"Teacher, man of letters, moralist, philospher of culture, connoisseur of strong ideas, protean autobiographer . . . of all the intellectual notables who have emerged since World War II in France, Roland Barthes is the one whose work I am most certain will endure" --Susan Sontag 'One of the great public teachers of our time, someone who thought out, argued for, and made available serveral steps in a penetrating reflection on language sign systems, texts --and what they have to tell us about the concept of being human" --Peter Brooks "This new edition brings into English for the first time all of the essays in the groundbreaking "Mythologies" by French semiotician and critic Barthes, translated by the redoubtable Howard (Flowers of Evil), and joins them with Lavers's earlier translation of Barthes's accompanying analytical essay, "Myth Today." Barthes examined mass culture, its ads and hidden or disguised messages, its icons and politics, its desperate speed in the mid-1950s. With several exceptions, these pensees are in delectable, bite-sized pieces. Though very much of their time, these essays tell us a lot about how we might intellectually navigate our own century. When the specifics are unfamiliar to a non-French reader, unobtrusive and cogent notes identify the individuals and issues. By framing the mythic in the quotidian, Barthes examines everything from detergent ("dirt is a sickly little enemy which flees from good clean linens at the first sign of Omo's judgment") to professional wrestling ("Wrestling is not a sport, it is a spectacle"), Garbo's face ("virtually sexless, without being at all 'dubious'"), Billy Graham, the Tour de France, a French striptease, plastics, and onward. With so much new material now included, this volume is not an unabridged reissue so much as a celebration anew." --Publishers Weekly"An abridged English translation of "Mythologies" (1957), one of Barthes's most famous books, has been available since 1972, but it omitted 25 of t
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About Professor Roland Barthes

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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Rating details

12,664 ratings
4.09 out of 5 stars
5 39% (4,899)
4 39% (4,905)
3 18% (2,237)
2 4% (465)
1 1% (158)
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