‘A Very Fine Gift’ and Other Writings on Theory
A major collection of essays and interviews from an iconic 20th-century philosopher in five volumes.
Roland Barthes was a restless, protean thinker. A constant innovator—often as a daring smuggler of ideas from one discipline to another—he first gained an audience with his pithy essays on mass culture and then went on to produce some of the most suggestive and stimulating cultural criticism of the late twentieth century, including Empire of Signs, The Pleasure of the Text, and Camera Lucida. In 1976, this one-time structuralist outsider was elected to a chair at France’s preeminent Collège de France, where he chose to style himself as a professor of literary semiology until his death in 1980.
The greater part of Barthes’s published writings has been available to a French audience since 2002, but now, translator Chris Turner presents a collection of essays, interviews, prefaces, book reviews, and other journalistic material for the first time in English and divided into five themed volumes. In volume one, A Very Fine Gift, Barthes attempts to frame his lifelong curiosities in theoretical form, from his early musings on the sociology of literature through his high period of structuralism to his later reflections on Derrida.
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