Michael Wood attempts to define Roland Barthes, a man who redefined himself throughout his career, embracing semiotics, art, design, thought, popular culture, photography and film.
The historian and broadcaster Michael Wood concludes this series of essays celebrating the 20th-century French philosopher Roland Barthes by trying to define him. Semiologist, existentialist, writer on art, design, thought, popular culture, photography, film - even Barthes himself was decidedly inconsistent in his attempts to define himself.
Across the week five authors have been writing about Barthes' significance to them and discussing the effect the maverick cultural philosopher has had upon their own work. Over the week they've created a picture of a literary figure whose writing was fun, accessible and deeply influential on the way we look at the world. So how should we think of him? Or does he defy categorisation? Barthes' literary output was eclectic. During the course of his life his thinking influenced the development of theories of structuralism, semiotics, social theory, design, anthropology and post structuralism. 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.
An eclectic group of essayists celebrate the range and breadth of his writing. Other essayists over the week include broadcaster and design historian Penny Sparke, film journalist Nick James and historian and broadcaster Michael Wood.
Producer: Frank Stirling at Unique.
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