In the field of contemporary literary studies, Roland Barthes (1915-1980) remains an influential figure. Yet the tendency in America to over-simplify his works as "structuralist" has prevented a thorough understanding of Barthes's unfolding as a critic and author. Patrizia Lombardo rejects an absolutist or developmental assessment of his career. Insisting that his works can best be understood in terms of the paradoxes he perceived in the very activity of writing, Lombardo similarly sees in Barthes the crucial ambiguity that determines the modern writer - an irresistible attraction for something new, different, breaking with the past, yet also an unavoidable scorn for the contemporary world. Lombardo isolates the problem of representation - the divorce of that which signifies (literature, language) and that which is signified (reality, history) - as the dominant paradox in Barthes's writing. For Barthes, only literature is fit to represent life and reality in all its multiple, infinite aspects, because life is subtle and science is coarse. Out of this disparity between life and science emerges a second paradox; the paradox of structuralism. This book reflects what Lombardo considers the most original quality of Barthes: his concern for literature and its destiny in a world where there is little place for it. Lombardo aims to demonstrate that her mentor's critical endeavour was not a linear progression of thought but was, as Barthes described his work, a romance, a "dance with a pen".
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Patrizia Lombardo is a professor at the University of Geneva. She is the author of numerous books including "Cities, Words and Images: From Poe to Scorsese."Review:
This is an original, honest and unpretentious study, written by an exmember of Barthes’s seminar who manages to convey her passion for his personal and literary style in a way that is sympathique rather than sycophantic.(French Studies)
In these days, when certain originally liberating ideas are turning into a stultifying orthodoxy, it is good to be reminded of Roland Barthes. . . . Lombardo shows how Barthes was as fascinated with history as he was with formalism, even though one usually thinks of them as opposites. . . . It is provocative and a worthwhile addition to the literature.(Choice)
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Book Description Univ of Georgia Pr, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0820311391