Quotations From ROLAND BARTHES


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  • Language is legislation, speech is its code. We do not see the power which is in speech because we forget that all speech is a classification, and that all classifications are oppressive.
    Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. inaugural lecture, Jan. 7, 1977, Collège de France; repr. In Barthes: Selected Writings (1982). Lecon (1978).

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  • There is only one way left to escape the alienation of present day society: to retreat ahead of it.
    Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. "Modern," The Pleasure of the Text (1975).
  • The bastard form of mass culture is humiliated repetition ... always new books, new programs, new films, news items, but always the same meaning.
    Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. "Modern," The Pleasure of the Text (1975).

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  • The New is not a fashion, it is a value.
    Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. "Modern," The Pleasure of the Text (1975).
  • All official institutions of language are repeating machines: school, sports, advertising, popular songs, news, all continually repeat the same structure, the same meaning, often the same words: the stereotype is a political fact, the major figure of ideology.
    Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. "Modern," The Pleasure of the Text (1975).

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  • What the public wants is the image of passion, not passion itself.
    Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. Mythologies, "Le monde où l'on catche," (1957).

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  • Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.
    Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. "Talking," A Lover's Discourse (1977, trans. 1978).
  • To try to write love is to confront the muck of language: that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little, excessive ... and impoverished.
    Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. "Inexpressible Love," A Lover's Discourse (1977, trans. 1979).

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  • The politician being interviewed clearly takes a great deal of trouble to imagine an ending to his sentence: and if he stopped short? His entire policy would be jeopardized!
    Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. "Sentence," The Pleasure of the Text (1975).

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  • To eat steak rare ... represents both a nature and a morality.
    Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. "Steak and Chips," Mythologies (1957, trans. 1972).

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