Signs of the times:

Roland Barthes, by Louis-Jean Calvet. (Paris: Flammarion, 1990.)

Book review by Rob Couteau




Published in:
The European: Europe's
First National Newspaper
élan section, Nov. 9-11,1990 (London)

Louis-Jean Calvet, a semiologist turned biographer, considers this to be a biography as well as a “history book.” Roland Barthes, the father of semiology, was born in 1919. After being diagnosed with tuberculosis, he lived in sanatoriums from l936 to 1945, and, unable to attend the Ecole Normale Supérieure, he began a lifelong program of self-education: a rare feat for a French intellectual who would later achieve such fame. Calvet’s amassing of humanizing detail about Barthes is impressive. But at times it is excessive, and readers who are not Barthes aficionados will become bogged down in attempting to follow the evolution of this still revered man who combined semiological research with a poetic use of language.


 fine art

Updated: 5 September 2011 | All text Copyright © 2011 | Rob Couteau | key words: Louis-Jean Calvet and Roland Barthes the father of semiology literature book reviews of novels and psychology literary art by Rob Couteau expatriate writers in Paris