By Andy Stafford
During this cogent, obtainable biography, Andy Stafford bargains a brand new photo of the fellow and his paintings, person who is helping us to appreciate him while it recognizes the complexity provided through his stressed pursuits and unorthodox career.
Stafford argues that Barthes is healthier labeled as a journalist, essayist, and critic, and he emphasizes the social preoccupations in his work—how Barthes consistently labored to research the self and society, in addition to the self in society. In doing so, Stafford paints a desirable photograph not only of Barthes, yet of the whole highbrow scene of postwar France. As Barthes keeps to discover new readers this day, this ebook will make the fitting advent, whilst it deals new avenues of proposal for experts.
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Extra info for Roland Barthes (Critical Lives)
In order to gauge the influence of Fournié’s 36 Marxism on Barthes, one need only compare Barthes’ writings immediately before meeting Fournié (mostly the pieces published in Existences), with those that immediately followed. Before August 1947 (the date of his first article on the ‘degree zero’ thesis in Combat), Barthes’ writings, though perspicacious and sensitive in their ideas, were largely belles-lettristes – that is, concerned with literature and arts outside of social, political and ideological concerns.
His first stay was in Bedous, where he sat in bed in the quiet and had time to read works by François Mauriac, Jean Giraudoux and even Balzac. 17 It was not only his best friend, Rebeyrol, who went to hypokhâgne without him; another contemporary in hypokhâgne, who was to reappear in the joust with him over new criticism in the mid-1960s, was none other than the future Racine specialist and Sorbonne professor Raymond Picard. If we combine this stunted academic progression, fear of mortality and deep personal uncertainty about his career with the loss of his father and his exclusion, because of his illness, from the national experience of Nazi occupation and eventual liberation from tyranny (Etienne Révelin, Barthes’ mother’s step-brother, was killed in the Paris street-fighting of January 1945), we can see that Barthes’ life was beset, directly and indirectly, with the tragedies of the first half of the twentieth century of war, bereavement and poverty.
Located on a side street off Saint-Sulpice, in the 51 sixth arrondissement of Paris, Barthes’ flat was but two steps away from the Café de Flore, from Saint-Germain-des-Prés and from the Left Bank intellectual culture associated with Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and others. However, if the family finances were suddenly and incontrovertibly stable, Barthes’ career was not at all. In 1954 he had two respected books under his belt but no actual career. Attempts at launching a researcher’s trajectory were all met with closed doors because Barthes did not have a PhD.
Roland Barthes (Critical Lives) by Andy Stafford