Roland Barthes 1915-1980

Another French philosopher in the historical site, we have especially recreated a room of the sanitarium where Barthes was staying from the periods 1934-35 and 1942-46 when he was suffering from tuberculosis. Barthes' notion of writing as the origin of meaning-effects and the reader as the sufficient principle of the text's unity has became the central point of reference for an era of theory. He enlists further analogies with bourgeois individualism and arguments drawn from linguistics so as to conflate the grammar and ontology of the "I". The emptiness of subject writing is then filed by the Reader.

Peripatetics may feel a relation to this emptiness as hypertext clearly delineates a tilting of the power balance between an author and a reader. As this is merely a historical tour, one does not have to reach a conclusion. The varying, sometimes opposing stands of the different theorists were purposely arranged so as to induce thinking, not to confuse any.

In "Writers and Authors" Barthes stipulated that the " author performs a function, the writer an activity." The term 'author-writer' was coined by Barthes to represent a paradoxical role of the modern age - to communicate 'pure thought' without such communication developing any parasitical message. In MYTHOLOGIES (1957) Barthes used semiological concepts in the analysis of myths and signs in contemporary culture. Barthes's starting point was not in the traditional value judgments and investigation of the author's intentions, but in the text itself as a system of signs, whose underlying structure forms the 'meaning of the work as a whole'. Till Barthes' death in 1980, and in the publishing of Incidents seven years later which revealed his homosexuality and secret passions, this philosopher continues to be a figure worth studying for Structuralism and Semiotics.