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Barthes: A Very Short Introduction

Jonathan Culler

Publication Date - May 2002

ISBN: 9780192801593

152 pages

Retail Price to Students: $11.95


Roland Barthes was the leading figure of French Structuralism, the theoretical movement of the 1960s which revolutionized the study of literature and culture, as well as history and psychoanalysis. But Barthes was a man who disliked orthodoxies. His shifting positions and theoretical interests make him hard to grasp and assess. This book surveys Barthes' work in clear, accessible prose, highlighting what is most interesting and important in his work today. In particular, the book describes the many projects, which Barthes explored and which helped to change the way we think about a range of cultural phenomena--from literature, fashion, wrestling, and advertising to notions of the self, of history, and of nature.


  • Widely recognized as the best short book on Barthes' work and influence
  • Barthes is the most 'reader-friendly' of the great French theorists of the twentieth century, and thus among the most popular.
  • Jonathan Culler is highly respected and widely published in his field, and also regarded as one of the clearest writers on literary theory

About the Author(s)

Jonathan Culler is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell University and a leading figure in the world of literary theory. Praised by Frank Kermode for his 'remarkable expository skills', his publications include seminal works on deconstruction and semiology as well as studies of individual authors. HisVSI Literary Theory is the series bestseller with sales of 40,000 copies to date.

Table of Contents

    1. Man of parts
    2. Literary Historian
    3. Mythologist
    4. Critic
    5. Polemicist
    6. Semiologist
    7. Structuralist
    8. Hedonist
    9. Writer
    10. Man of Letters
    11. Barthes after Barthes