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Barthes - a great thinker,
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.