Roland Barthes's critical writings promoted postwar movements ranging from the New Novel to the Parisian version of structural analysis. As a theorist, he was inspired in large part by semiology, the general science of signs set forth in the work of Ferdinand de Saussure. This volume presents a challenging variety of essays that elaborate and comment on specific elements in the evolution of Barthes's study of signs, from the revolutionary semiology of his 1957 Mythologies to the semioclasm and semiotrophy of such post-1960s' books as S/Z, The Pleasure of the Text, and A Lover's Discourse.
The nine essays of Signs in Culture have been organized to express the striking interplay of language and writing as the ethics of form Barthes first described in his 1953 Writing Degree Zero. Each essay serves as a pivotal critical exercise beginning with or departing from Barthes's writing. Each essayist thus engages an expanded semiology which inscribes the life of signs within the institutions and practices that literary critics, philosophers, and historians alike have seen as constituting the elements of a cultural study and critique.