The Sounds of Silence: Roland Barthes

Jürgen Pieters

in Speaking With the Dead

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780748615889
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652020 | DOI:
The Sounds of Silence: Roland Barthes

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This chapter discusses the work by Roland Barthes. The question that Barthes puts in the opening pages of La chambre claire (Camera Lucida) offers an apt illustration of the paradox which underlies the conversation with the dead. His famous essay, ‘The Death of the Author’, is reported. Barthes' subject in this text is not so much the author as a living person, the concept that is invoked by literary critics in order to solve a number of problems surrounding the interpretation of texts. The act of writing as a metempsychosis without a soul is evaluated. It was only in Michelet's texts that the dead were given the voice they lacked during so much of their lives. Barthes would have appreciated the irony of Jorge Luis Borges' words and would have rewritten them in tribute to the master.

Keywords: Roland Barthes; Death of Author; metempsychosis; soul; Michelet; Jorge Luis Borges; dead; voice

Chapter.  7448 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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