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Design historian Penny Sparke charts the influence Barthes has had on her personally throughout a career devoted to visual culture.

The eminent design historian Penny Sparke (author of 'The Modern Interior' and 'As Long As It's Pink') cites Roland Barthes as a factor in her decision to work in the field of design. She assesses his influence on her thinking throughout her career.

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. In this series five authors write about Barthes' significance to them and discuss the effect the maverick cultural philosopher has had upon their own work. They create a picture of a literary figure 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 influenced the development of theories of structuralism, semiotics, social theory, design, anthropology and post structuralism.

Other essayists over the week include broadcaster and cultural historian Andrew Hussey, film journalist Nick James and historian and broadcaster Michael Wood.

Producer: Frank Stirling at Unique.

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15 minutes


The Book that Changed Me

The Book that Changed Me

Five figures from the arts and science introduce books that changed their lives and work.

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