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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
...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...
Published on 10 Jan 2002 by J. Tuffin

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5 of 5 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


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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 10 Jan 2002
By 
J. Tuffin "jontytuffin" (north yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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...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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good essays..., 1 Jun 2010
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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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barthes - a great thinker, 13 Sep 2011
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RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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.
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23 of 27 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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Mythologies' by Roland Barthes, 14 Dec 2010
This review is from: Mythologies (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
This book is that rarity - a book on critical theory which is understandable! Short, informative chapters in a very readable style. Ideal for undergraduates studying literature theory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A seminal text of semiology, 7 July 2010
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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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 17 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Mythologies (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
A really good read at a great price, ideal for my kindle, easy to buy and delivered instantly to my kindle, what's not to like!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just a classic, 26 April 2014
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This review is from: Mythologies (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Wonderful Roland Barthes makes us see the world around us in a new way - fantastic and quite easy to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 25 Mar 2014
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A must read for everyone, especially those in the arts and cultural industries and research fields. Barthes is a legend and a must read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, 4 Feb 2010
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Kenneth Mckeating (UK) - See all my reviews
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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.
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Mythologies (Vintage Classics)
Mythologies (Vintage Classics) by Roland Barthes (Paperback - 3 Sep 2009)
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