Roland Barthes

Roland Barthes was a French literary theorist, philosopher, linguist, critic, and semiotician. His work has had a significant impact on a variety of fields including structuralism, semiotics, social theory, design theory, anthropology, and post-structuralism. Barthes is known for his ideas on the nature of myth, the concept of 'the death of the author,' and the distinction between 'readerly' and 'writerly' texts. His notable works include 'Mythologies,' 'S/Z,' and 'Camera Lucida.'


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Mythologies

    This book is a collection of essays that explore the layers of cultural and societal meanings that are imbued in everyday objects, activities, and phenomena. The author decodes the symbols and signs embedded in things as varied as wrestling, soap detergents, toys, and even the face of Greta Garbo. The book is a pioneering exploration of semiotics, the study of signs and symbols, and it challenges readers to question and understand the cultural connotations and ideologies that are presented as natural or given in our everyday lives.

  2. 2. Camera Lucida

    The book in question is a seminal work in the field of photography theory, blending personal reflection with philosophical investigation. The author delves into the nature of photography, exploring the medium's ability to capture the essence of a moment and its subjects. Through a two-part analysis, the author introduces concepts such as the studium and punctum to articulate the layers of meaning and emotional response elicited by photographs. The work is also a meditation on loss and memory, inspired by the author's search for the essence of his late mother in her photographs. The text is both an intimate journey and a critical examination of the power of images to evoke and preserve the fleeting nature of existence.

  3. 3. The Pleasure of the Text

    "The Pleasure of the Text" is a philosophical and literary exploration of the act of reading. The author presents the idea that there are two types of pleasures associated with reading: "pleasure of the text" and "bliss." The former is a comfortable enjoyment derived from the familiar, the latter a disruptive and challenging joy that comes from the new and unexpected. The book delves into the interaction between reader and text, highlighting the role of the reader in interpreting and creating meaning, and challenges traditional notions of authorship and textual authority.

  4. 4. Writing Degree Zero

    This book is a critical exploration of the nature and history of literature, focusing on the social and historical aspects of writing. It argues that language and literature are shaped by historical, social, and political forces, and that they are not neutral or natural. The author suggests that the style and form of writing are as important as the content, and he introduces the idea of "writing degree zero", which refers to a kind of writing that is stripped of style and personality, and is therefore capable of conveying truth in a direct and unmediated way.