Roland Barthes: The Figures of Writing

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byAndrew Brown

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This book focuses on some of the ways Barthes discusses the nature of his own writing. The first two chapters examine the key but ambiguous term of `derive' (`drift'), a word which raises questions about how exactly Barthes's writing develops across three decades, about the `scientific'legitimacy of his concepts, and about his own frequently fraught relation to the scientific discourses around him, especially psychoanalysis. Two typical discursive manoeuvres that structure his writing, `naming' and `framing', are then shown to generate particular aesthetic effects which causecomplications for some of his theoretical stances. Barthes's fascination for the idea that all writing is a kind of scribble, closer to the visual arts than to speech, is investigated in depth, and his latent animus against speech as such is made manifest. The final chapter suggests that, forBarthes, `the real' can leave its mark on writing only as a disturbing, indeed traumatic trace.

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This book focuses on some of the ways Barthes discusses the nature of his own writing. The first two chapters examine the key but ambiguous term of `derive' (`drift'), a word which raises questions about how exactly Barthes's writing develops across three decades, about the `scientific'legitimacy of his concepts, and about his own fre...

Andrew Brown is at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:314 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.94 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198151713

ISBN - 13:9780198151715

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`The subject of this careful study is Roland Barthes as a writer. The figures of Writing counts amoung a growing number of books that take seriously Barthes labour as a critic, as a creative observer of culture, and as an artist...the treatment of the graphic character of writing, and theclosely argued sections on framing, scribbling, silence, and trauma - stand as strong and enduring contributions. These parts of the book renew not only our appreciation of Barthes but also and especially our allegiance to art and literature.'Modern Philology