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Writer and arts journalist Nick James assesses the impact Roland Barthes still has on the way we look at film.

The impact that the maverick critic, philosopher and semiologist Roland Barthes has had on those who write about films and on many who make them is significant. The film writer and arts journalist Nick James gives a personal response to his work.

Barthes was a powerful blast of fresh air in post war cultural thought, his carefully argued, accessible and sometimes mischievous examinations of philosophical, cultural and social ideas continue to influence contemporary writers and thinkers. Across the series five authors write about Barthes' significance to them and discuss the influence this extraordinary literary figure has had up. They create a picture of an author and essayist whose writing was fun, accessible and deeply influential on the way we look at the world. Barthes's literary output was not only prolific, but also eclectic. During the course of his life his thinking reflected the development of theories of structuralism, semiotics, social theory, design, anthropology and post structuralism.

Other essayists over the week include cultural historian and broadcaster Andrew Hussey, design historian Penny Sparke and historian and broadcaster Michael Wood.

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15 minutes

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