Customer Reviews


28 Reviews
5 star:
 (17)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barthes - a great thinker
I first encountered Roland Barthes many years ago in a seminal "little" book, "Elements of Semiology" but "little" only in size. Rooted in the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, the modern father of semiotics, it fascinated; "semiotics" was first used in English by Henry Stubbes (1670), a precise medical term denoting the branch of medical science relating to the...
Published on 13 Sept. 2011 by RR Waller

versus
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good essays...
The book works in two parts, firstly as a journalistic foray into debunking the ideological underpinnings for a number of myths which have taken Barthes eye over a number of years, usually composed as counterpoints to mainstream bourgeois press like Elle magazine and L'express in France. And the second part of the book is espousing the theory of semiotics. If I start with...
Published on 1 Jun. 2010 by abclaret


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good essays..., 1 Jun. 2010
By 
abclaret (Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mythologies (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
The book works in two parts, firstly as a journalistic foray into debunking the ideological underpinnings for a number of myths which have taken Barthes eye over a number of years, usually composed as counterpoints to mainstream bourgeois press like Elle magazine and L'express in France. And the second part of the book is espousing the theory of semiotics. If I start with the weakest, the later is a rather wordy and turgid read consisting of just over a third of the book, giving the background to the signalling process which conveys ideas and themes from a particular source within bourgeois society and its wider reverberations. The theory clearly could be an integral part of any cultural critic's arsenal, but suffers from not being lucid or over-concise. I would even go far as to say it reads academic and I was at pains to understand his point in some of the passages.

To the main core of the book, I would say almost the opposite. A number of cultural items come under Barthes cross-hairs; wrestling, plastic, steak & chips, margarine, etc, etc. He examines the cultural significance and the underpinning politics of the topic at hand. This works particularly well in pieces like, 'Poor and the Proletariat', 'Novels and Children', 'Striptease' and 'Astrology' where his better sensibilities are able to takeover and round on what the ideology espousing really reads like. I would suggest avoid reading the later 'Myth Today' piece unless you have a particular need.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barthes - a great thinker, 13 Sept. 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mythologies (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
I first encountered Roland Barthes many years ago in a seminal "little" book, "Elements of Semiology" but "little" only in size. Rooted in the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, the modern father of semiotics, it fascinated; "semiotics" was first used in English by Henry Stubbes (1670), a precise medical term denoting the branch of medical science relating to the interpretation of signs, later in 1690 by John Locke. Derived from the Greek, "semeioikos", "observant of signs", modern linguistic used it in a different way. Charles Sanders Peirce in the nineteenth century, defined "semiotic" as "what must be the characters of all signs used by...an intelligence capable of learning by experience", (Peirce, C.S., Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vol. 2, paragraph 227.)

Barthes was, in many ways, was the one who picked up de Saussure's baton. "Mythologies" is clearly divided into two sections; in the first, he covers an enormous amount of ground, putting semiology into practice in the modern world but, in part two, he steps back to write a deep analysis of "Myth Today".

The World of Wrestling - "American wrestling represents a mythological fight between Good and Evil" (P 23)
Romans in Films - "... these incessant fringes ... the label of Roman-ness"
The Writer of Holiday - Needless to say this proletarianization of the writer is granted only with parsimony ..."
Toys - " ... the adult Frenchman sees the child as another self ..."
Novels and Children - "A Jesuitic moarality: adapt the moral rule ... but never compromise about the dogma"
Face of Garbo - "...that moment in cinema when capturing the human face still plunged audiences into ecstasy"
Wine and Milk - " wine gives thus a foundation for a collective morality ..."
Striptease - "Parisian striptease - woman is desexualised at the very moment she is stripped naked"
The New Citroen - "cars today are almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals"

"Myth Today" - "Myth is not definied by the object of its message but by the way in which it utters this message. There are formal limits to myth, there are only 'substantial' ones." (P 109)

Barthes re-examines and re-defines myth as well as writing a master-class in ways to use it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 10 Jan. 2002
...I was made to read this book as part of my Philosophy degree, a few years back. It was one of the few which had a lasting impression on me. Yes, you can compare it with the Tarantino Star Wars scene if you like ...but only if you read it superficially. The thing I figured out about French philosophy is that the way its worded initially strikes an Anglo-Saxon palate as being pompous, pretentious, and full of hot air. Maybe most of it is, I don't know - I loathe Derrida for these same reasons. But not this book by Barthes. Get past the initial culture shock and you find yourself starting to see how people mythologize just about everything. It's funny. It's illuminating. And it's also pretty salient, when you see how advertisers have tapped into these same impulses. Read it, and do yourself a favour. It's like an immunity shot against so much of the BS we seem to get fed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is brilliant!, 28 Jan. 2004
This is a masterpiece of social critique, picking apart the ideological underpinnings of many of the things which a lot of people take as "obvious". The unifying theme is the idea of "myth" - basically, a type of signification which projects an additional meaning onto an existing concept so as to make it carry a second, ideological meaning. Because the second meaning is smuggled into the sign, it isn't argued by those who use it, but appears as an "obvious" connotation. Barthes identifies and exposes many such myths in a variety of short essays (originally newspaper columns) dealing with aspects of French society in his day. In addition, this volume contains the long essay "Myth Today", in which Barthes sets out the theoretical underpinnings of his critiques.
If you're one of the people who's taken in by myths, this book could change your life. If not, you'll hopefully appreciate Barthes's efforts enough to start making your own efforts to critique myths. The only slight problem with this book is that its reference points are rather dated. For this reason it's worth reading it alongside something more recent, such as Len Masterman's Television Mythologies collection or one of the Glasgow Media Studies Group books. All in all, though, this can't be faulted.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Mad Men' philosopher reaches new audiences every day, 13 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Mythologies (Paperback)
Roland Barthes turned commerce into poetry, writing about automobiles as winged chariots, margarine as magic, wine as elixir, Fashion as language and Audrey Hepburn's face as event. In 'Mythologies' his ideas transform the everyday into a series of new fairy tales for modern man and woman. 'FASHION MEDIA PROMOTION the new black magic' is totally inspired by him and the illustrations were guided through discussions with Anton Storey, to become a tribute to Barthes' singular creative genius. The French copy has been bought so I can improve my French by reading 'Mythologies' with Stephanie Fabri. She incidentally recently told me that Jacques Derrida's phrase, 'Il n'y a pas de hors-contexte,' is now as popular as the 'cogito' among teachers, students and so on. You read it here first!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A seminal text of semiology, 7 July 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is an edition of Jonathan Cape's 1972 translation from Roland Barthes's book originally published in 1957.

The body of the book is short bites of stimulating thoughts - usually around 3-4 pages - about popular culture items such as 'novels and children', 'toys', 'wine and milk', 'striptease', etc.

The volume ends on a 50-page development on the nature of myths, discussed in terms of semiology, which is most interesting.

One should keep in mind that this book is a selected translation, and not integral.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Please, Myth!, 25 Mar. 2015
By 
Mr. G. Morgan "wes" (Haywards Heath, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mythologies (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
A judicious grab-bag of slyly assembled insights, light where most Structuralist prose is lumpy and written in a spry manner that is often droll and perceptive. Most of the book comprises essays examining aspects of modern culture, film, magazine, a royal family disporting itself afloat... and margarine. Barthes' trick is to reveal by sharp analysis, how often simple things, adverts or news reports or photo's, conceal a deeper, ideological meaning. He is amusing, clever and very readable; he also makes you think. The final third, 'Myth Today', consists of a more analytical study of his method and is somewhat turbid, much less entertaining, than the demonstrations of it in the essays itself. Unusually for structuralist books, they tend to obscurantism, this one is a delight, the only one that I return to with pleasure. And you can supplement it by trying to compose analyses of contemporary cultural artifacts, great fun and very rewarding. You can then become your own mini-mythologist! A treat.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, 4 Feb. 2010
By 
Kenneth Mckeating (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Mythologies (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Roland Barthes is a key figure in international intellectual life. He is one of the most important intellectual figures to have emerged in postwar France and his writings continue to have an influence on critical debates today

Mythologies is a text which contains short journalistic articles on a variety of subjects that focus on various manifestations of mass culture, la culture de masse: films, advertizing, newspapers and magazines, photographs, cars, children's toys, popular pastimes and so on.

I'd recommend this to anyone who is studing Media, or Photography as am I. The text is highly informative.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 25 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A must read for everyone, especially those in the arts and cultural industries and research fields. Barthes is a legend and a must read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Possibly a bad translation, 28 July 2004
I enjoyed the general thrust of the book, a series of essays on various aspects of modern (in the mid 1950's)life. But I have a problem with either the writing or translation, the word "Antiphrastically" appeared too many times than is sensible or natural in any written work.
Either M. Barthes is insanely pretentious, or his translator is. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent reader, and I had my dictionary out at least once an essay to decipher what he'd said. Bad writing, in essence, makes for hard reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Mythologies (Vintage Classics)
Mythologies (Vintage Classics) by Roland Barthes (Paperback - 3 Sept. 2009)
£7.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews