Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Interdisciplinary Barthes$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Diana Knight

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266670

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266670.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

Barthes’s Frenchness

Barthes’s Frenchness

(p.25) 2 Barthes’s Frenchness
Interdisciplinary Barthes

Philippe Roger

British Academy

Barthes doesn’t think in terms of identity, even less national identity, yet amongst his contemporaries (the ‘French theorists’) his writing seems the most ‘French’. He admits this somewhat paradoxically by devoting sarcastic analyses to ‘Frenchness’ whilst testifying, in the more intimate pages of Roland Barthes par Roland Barthes, to a profound attachment to the ‘land’ of his childhood, the ‘light of the South-West’, ways of being and speaking, or of preferring pears to exotic fruit. This book sparked the revisionist reading of Barthes’s intellectual itinerary that would gather momentum after his death: behind the structuralist and fellow-traveller of the avant-garde lurked a conservative writer, a crypto-Gidian explorer of the self. In fact, a benefit of the 1975 commission was to enable Barthes’s return to anthropology. Michelet par lui-même (1954) and Mythologies (1957) had allowed Barthes to explore national identity in historical and anthropological terms, and a custom-made ‘ethnology of France’ (‘Notre France, in the manner of Michelet’) was a persistent project. Although formulated with calculated lightness, the question of Frenchness runs throughout this ‘Barthes by himself’; far from signalling a farewell to politics and ideology, it provided the right frame for a socio-anthropological exploration of France and Barthes’s ‘French’ identity.

Keywords:   Roland Barthes, Frenchness, identity, Roland Barthes par Roland Barthes, Mythologies, Michelet, anthropology, ethnology, France

British Academy Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.