From "Empire of Signs" by Roland Barthes

+++ “…but it is also necessary that, leaving aside vast regions of darkness (capitalist Japan, American acculturation, technological development), a slender thread of light search out not other symbols but the very fissure of the symbolic. This fissure cannot appear on the level of cultural products: what is presented here does not appertain (or so it is hoped) to art, to Japanese urbanism, to Japanese cooking. The author has never, in any sense, photographed Japan. Rather, he has done the opposite: Japan has starred him with any number of ‘flashes’; or, better still, Japan has afforded him a situation of…

Vocab via Clarice, Barthes, Buddhist philosophy

tessitura, noun.Music. The part of the total compass of a melody or voice-part in which most of its tones lie. enclitic, adj.Grammar. That ‘leans its accent on the preceding word’ (Liddell and Scott): in Greek grammar the distinctive epithet of those words which have no accent, and which (when phonetic laws permit) cause a secondary stress to be laid on the last syllable of the word which they follow. Hence applied to the analogous Latin particles -que, -ve, -ne, etc., and in mod. use (with extension of sense) to those unemphatic words in other langs. that are treated in pronunciation as…

Thoughts on Barthes’ "Mythologies"

With Mythologies, Roland Barthes gives semiology legs. Barthes expands upon Ferdinand de Saussure’s study of signs by subsuming the tripod of signifier, signified and sign, previously used primarily in decoding units of language or language-objects, as Barthes prefers (words, art, rituals, material culture) and using this tripod to map what he terms myth — that is, a metalanguage, where signs themselves are only signifiers in a greater chain of cultural connotation. For Barthes, myth begins with the sum of signs and extends to a “greater,” “global” system, necessitating the semiotician’s analysis as a schema that not only “makes us understand…

Thoughts on Barthes’ "Mythologies"

With Mythologies, Roland Barthes gives semiology legs. Barthes expands upon Ferdinand de Saussure’s study of signs by subsuming the tripod of signifier, signified and sign, previously used primarily in decoding units of language or language-objects, as Barthes prefers (words, art, rituals, material culture) and using this tripod to map what he terms myth — that is, a metalanguage, where signs themselves are only signifiers in a greater chain of cultural connotation. For Barthes, myth begins with the sum of signs and extends to a “greater,” “global” system, necessitating the semiotician’s analysis as a schema that not only “makes us understand…

“Now, all art which has only two dimensions, that of the work and that of the spectator, can create only a platitude, since it is no more than the capture of a shopwindow spectacle by a painter-voyeur. Depth is born only at the moment when the spectacle itself slowly turns its shadow toward man and begins to look at him.”– Roland Barthes, The World as Object Yesterday, reading Barthes’ collected essays, I became convinced I needed to start up keeping a journal again – his essay “Deliberation” discusses with grace and humility the difficulties of keeping a journal – so…

“Now, all art which has only two dimensions, that of the work and that of the spectator, can create only a platitude, since it is no more than the capture of a shopwindow spectacle by a painter-voyeur. Depth is born only at the moment when the spectacle itself slowly turns its shadow toward man and begins to look at him.”– Roland Barthes, The World as Object Yesterday, reading Barthes’ collected essays, I became convinced I needed to start up keeping a journal again – his essay “Deliberation” discusses with grace and humility the difficulties of keeping a journal – so…

Vocab gleened from Roland Barthes

ap·o·lo·gi·a na formal, usually written, defense or justification of a belief, theory, or policy (formal) re·gent n1. somebody who rules on behalf of a monarch who is unable to rule because of youth, illness, or absence2. any of various officers of a university, especially a member of the governing board adjruling as a regent car·a·cole or car·a·col nin dressage, a half turn to the left or right performed by a horse and rider vtito perform or cause a horse to perform a caracole dem·i·urge n1. a very strong, driving, and influential force or personality (formal)2. a public magistrate in some…

Vocab gleened from Roland Barthes

ap·o·lo·gi·a na formal, usually written, defense or justification of a belief, theory, or policy (formal) re·gent n1. somebody who rules on behalf of a monarch who is unable to rule because of youth, illness, or absence2. any of various officers of a university, especially a member of the governing board adjruling as a regent car·a·cole or car·a·col nin dressage, a half turn to the left or right performed by a horse and rider vtito perform or cause a horse to perform a caracole dem·i·urge n1. a very strong, driving, and influential force or personality (formal)2. a public magistrate in some…