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The Barthes Effect

The Essay as Reflective Text

1987
Author:

Réda Bensmaïa
Translated by Pat Fedkiew
Foreword by Michèle H. Richman

The Barthes Effect

Acknowledges the essay as an eccentric phenomenon in literary history, one that has long resisted entry into the taxonomy of genres, as it concentrates on four works by Roland Barthes: The Pleasure of the Text, A Lover's Discourse, Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes, and Camera Lucida. Maintains that with Barthes the essay achieves a status of its own, as reflective text.

Acknowledges the essay as an eccentric phenomenon in literary history, one that has long resisted entry into the taxonomy of genres, as it concentrates on four works by Roland Barthes: The Pleasure of the Text, A Lover's Discourse, Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes, and Camera Lucida. Maintains that with Barthes the essay achieves a status of its own, as reflective text.

. . . a study rigorously conscious of the critical maneuvers it executes and, more importantly, questions as critical practice . . . Bensmaïa’s strategy produces a successful investigation of the interstices and slippages of meaning which Barthes addressed in his work.

SubStance

The author acknowledges the essay as an eccentric phenomenon in literary history, one that has long resisted entry into the taxonomy of genres, as it concentrates on four works by Roland Barthes: The Pleasure of the Text, A Lover's Discourse, Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes, and Camera Lucida. Maintains that with Barthes the essay achieves a status of its own, as reflective text.

“…a study rigorously conscious of the critical maneuvers it executes and, more importantly, questions as critical practice…Bensmaïa’s strategy produces a successful investigation of the interstices and slippages of meaning which Barthes addressed in his work.” SubStance

Reda Bensmaia is associate professor in the departments of French and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota, and translator Pat Fedkiew, a graduate student in French at Minnesota. Michele Richman is associate professor of French at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Reading Georges Bataille: Beyond the Gift.

The Barthes Effect

Réda Bensmaïa is currently University Professor of French and Francophone literature at Brown University.

The Barthes Effect

. . . a study rigorously conscious of the critical maneuvers it executes and, more importantly, questions as critical practice . . . Bensmaïa’s strategy produces a successful investigation of the interstices and slippages of meaning which Barthes addressed in his work.

SubStance

Réda Bensmaïa has written a text that defies classification and challenges our habits of thought. It straddles the boundary between fiction and non-fiction and thus calls into question the importance of this divide for the symbolic economy of our times.

Wlad Godzich, University of Geneva