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Roland Barthes

Biography and Timeline

    • Roland Barthes was born on November 12, 1915 in Cherbourg, France.
    • His father was killed in battle when he was just an infant, so he was raised mostly  just by his mother.
    • Barthes Attended High school at the Lycee Loius Le-Grand
    • College at the Sorbonne
      • He studied:
          • Classical letters
          • Grammar
          • Philology
          • Greek tragedy
  • “Roland Barthes was the most eloquent theorist of intertextuality, who always attacked the notions of stable meaning and unquestionable truth.” (Simandan)
  • Died March 26,1980

Main Ideas

    • Roland Barthes built his theory upon those of Julia Kristeva and Mikhail Bakhtin.
      • “Similar to Kristeva, Barthes considered that only literature written after the emergence of Modernism allows the reader to become fully active in the production of meaning.” (Simandan)
    • “Barthes argued that not the ‘text’ is the material inscription of a ‘work’, but the ‘work’ is the material, offering the possibility of meaning, closure and thus of interpretation. The term ‘text’ is considered to be the act of writing. Barthes makes it clear that we should not confuse the text and the work: “The work is held in the hand, the text in language” (Simandan)
  • To Barthes, the text is not something that gives off one meaning, but is open to many interpretations.

“The Death of the Author” (1967)

    • In his essay “The Death of the Author”, “Barthes combines psychoanalytic and linguistic theories to argue that the origin of the text is not a unified authorial consciousness, but a plurality of other words, other utterances, and other texts.” (Simandan)
    • The title, “The Death of the Author” alludes to Barthes saying to disregard who the author of a text is.
    • A main purpose of this work was to disconnect from other theories.
    • Barthes feels as though the meaning  of a text is at the discretion of the readers. NOT the intention of the author alone.
    • “The reader and the text are the two most important elements in the interpretation of a literary piece” (Carol Davis eNotes)
    • The meanings that are being analyzed should come from the reader, not the author.
    • Barthes states: “to give a text an author, is to impose a limit on the text.”
  • By not focusing on who the author of a text is, or their specific meanings, the story becomes unlimited.

Key Terms Related to Intertextuality

  • Structuralism-a method of interpretation and analysis of aspects of human cognition, behavior, culture, and experience that focuses on relationships of contrast between elements in a conceptual system that reflect patterns underlying a superficial diversity. (Google Dictionary)
    • The doctrine that structure is more important than function. (Google Dictionary)
  • Post-Structuralism– “Movement in literary criticism and philosophy began in France in the late 1960s. Drawing upon the linguistic theories of Ferdinand de Saussure, the anthropology of Claude Lévi-Strauss (see structuralism), and the deconstructionist theories of Jacques Derrida (see deconstruction), it held that language is not a transparent medium that connects one directly with a “truth” or “reality” outside it but rather a structure or code, whose parts derive their meaning from their contrast with one another and not from any connection with an outside world. Writers associated with the movement include Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, and Michel Foucault.”(Britannica)
  • Semiotics-also called semiology. The study of signs and sign using behavior. (Britannica)

Important Work

The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.tbook.constantvzw.org/wp-content/death_authorbarthes.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjb0pn1l47hAhWBct8KHbF6DXMQFjAAegQIBRAB&usg=AOvVaw0gJUpXwU3rg0EGUM5ceUAZ


“The Death of the Author Simplified”

“The Death of the Author and Intertextuality”

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Works Cited

BIOGRAPHY. “Roland Barthes.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 2 Apr. 2014, www.biography.com/people/roland-barthes-36995.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Semiotics.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 25 July 2018, www.britannica.com/science/semiotics

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Poststructuralism.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 31 Mar. 2016, www.britannica.com/art/poststructuralism.

Simandan, v. m. “Barthes’s Elements of Intertextuality.” V.M. Simandan, 28 Dec. 2018, www.simandan.com/barthess-elements-of-intertextuality.

Write a Note on the Essay ‘The Death of the Author’ by Roland Barthes. .” Enotes.com, Enotes.com, www.enotes.com/homework-help/write-note-eassy-death-an-author-ronald-barthes-422886

“TOP 25 QUOTES BY ROLAND BARTHES (of 158) | A-Z Quotes.” A, www.azquotes.com/author/989-Roland_Barthes.

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