The Last Barthes

Critical Inquiry 7 (3):449-454 (1981)

Abstract
It was his mother's death which allowed [Roland] Barthes to write: "I looked through…" "To write on something is to forfeit it," Barthes used to say, reciprocally, it is licit to write on what is already dead, it was Barthes himself in one of his acceptations. His mother was for Barthes the internal order, who permitted both the external other and the I to exist. Once she was dead, his life was over and could therefore become the object of writing. Barthes no doubt had other books to write; but he no longer had any life to live. I find it emblematic that his last book should have been "on photography" . Eloquent or discreet, a photograph never says anything but: I was there; it leads to a gesture of monstration, to a silent deixis, and symbolizes a pre- or post-discursive world; it makes me an object, that is, a dead man. What Barthes himself calls "my last investigation" also concerned death. Tzvetan Todorov, of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, has numerous books on literary theory, including Théories du symbole and Symbolisme et interprétation, which has been published in English. His previous contribution to Crtitical Inquiry, "The Verbal Age," appeared in the Winter 1977 issue. Richard Howard, a poet and critic, has translated many works by Roland Barthes, Tzvetan Todorov, Michel Foucault, and Gilles Deleuze
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/448109
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,645
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Ways of Keeping Love Alive.Heta Pyrhönen - 2008 - Sign Systems Studies 36 (1):49-69.
Barthes's Positive Theory of the Author.Harri Veivo - 2008 - Sign Systems Studies 36 (1):31-47.
Writing the Present.Michael Sheringham - 2008 - Sign Systems Studies 36 (1):11-29.
On Myths and Fashion.Patrizia Calefato - 2008 - Sign Systems Studies 36 (1):71-80.
U9 Roland Barthes.Roland Barthes - 2007 - In Diarmuid Costello & Jonathan Vickery (eds.), Art: Key Contemporary Thinkers. Berg. pp. 149.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-01-17

Total views
13 ( #548,712 of 2,325,865 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #534,295 of 2,325,865 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature