‘Masculine, Feminine, Neuter’ and Other Writings on Literature
Roland Barthes, whose centenary falls in 2015, 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 professor of literary semiology until his death in 1980.
The greater part of Barthes’s published writings have been available to a French audience since 2002, but here, translator Chris Turner presents a collection of essays, interviews, prefaces, book reviews and other journalistic material for the first time in English. ‘Masculine, Feminine, Neuter’, the third in the five-volume series, consists of Barthes’s writing on literature, covering his peers and influences, writers in French and other languages, contemporary and historical writers and world literature. This volume comprises Barthes critical articles and interviews previously unavailable in English.
‘Given the diversity of these pieces in terms of history and content, it is crucial that the translator has made a good job of briefly contextualizing all the pieces and that the translations understand, especially in relation to the gendering that operates in the French language and to some of the more recondite references, that the renderings into English need, periodically, the helping-hand of an attuned and scholarly—that is experienced—editor and translator of Barthes.’ —H-France Review
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