Barthes is an intellectual star, one of the very small group of matres penser, such as Sartre, Levi-Strauss and Foucault... I readily proclaim that Mythologies is a kind of masterpiece, a fascinating book, the meaning of which sticks in the mind and can lend itself to all sorts of applications * Observer * Essays on the codings that command our daily life (from hair-styles in the film of Julius Caesar through glossy photos of gourmet cooking, to the cult of foam in detergents)...Mythologies has penetrating gusto -- Christopher Ricks * Sunday Times * Semiology is the study of the signs and signals, the symbols, gestures and messages through which western society sustains, sells, identifies and yet obscures itself by painting or powdering over its raddled, whore-like visage... Barthes' purpose is to tear away masks and demystify the signs, signals and symbols of the language of mass culture -- Dennis Potter * The Times * All about the most ordinary things. He knew how to connect Racine and beach holidays, Freud and the anticipation of a lover's phone call. Like so many modern artists, he saw the deeper themes running through supposedly banal things. -- Alain de Botton * Daily Express *
Roland Barthes was born in 1915 and studied French literature and classics at the University of Paris. After teaching French at universities in Romania and Egypt, he joined the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, where he devoted himself to research in sociology and lexicology. He was a professor at the College de France until his death in 1980.