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The Rustle of Language

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3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  881 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
The Rustle of Language is a collection of forty-five essays, written between 1967 and 1980, on language, literature, and teaching—the pleasure of the text—in an authoritative translation by Richard Howard.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 18th 1989 by University of California Press (first published 1984)
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Community Reviews

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Nikhilesh
Feb 12, 2014 Nikhilesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The more i understood the essay, the more i gained respect for it. I am happily convinced that to understand life is to understand language. This fact has probably been staring me since childhood. That time when I had a sinking feeling when the teacher went “What the poet wants to show is....” when in my heart I had very different picture the words of the poem created. The essay has not only overthrown the hegemony of the institution of the author but has for me given a new birth to the very par ...more
Praiz Sophyronja
Wow. I can't remember the last time I've been this angry at a Literary theory before. Barthes is essentially saying that the translation of thought into language removes the specific voice of the author. Which to me, sounds like he is completely disregarding author's intent. Because, well... he is.

He is saying that regardless of what the author meant to write, there are cultural influences and "the author", his person, his life, his passions--" are what creates the text. To this, I agree to an
...more
Tasniem Sami
Oct 11, 2012 Tasniem Sami rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.
دي مش عايزة تتقرى كذا مرة دي عايزة تتحفظ !
Joe
Dec 10, 2015 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An inevitable conclusion made by Barthes. With the beginnings of Burke, to the progression in Philosophy of inaesthetics, and their abandonment of universal ideals, replacing it with the idea that a persons' experience of it [a piece of art] decides what an art piece is.

Still, I enjoyed it. I liked the focus on how language is for the reader to decide. The author merely scribes what is to be written. We, the readers, decide what the words mean. I could not help to think of Wittgenstein.

my only
...more
Joey Dhaumya
3/5 because that is the average of a 1 star and 5 star rating, trivial signifiers in their own right but, as the ends of a range, they capture my reaction to this essay. I vehemently disagree on almost all accounts. His basic idea when unpacked has several kernels of truth, explored brilliantly, though in ways I consider myopic and misguided. So while I love Barthes' use of language and fearless championing of a controversial position, I am so thoroughly at odds with it that I can respect only t ...more
Mateo R.
Intertextualidad

Menciones directas:
* Sarrasine (1830) de Honoré de Balzac (cita).
* En busca del tiempo perdido (1922) de Marcel Proust (alusión).
* Bouvard y Pecuchet (1881) de Gustave Flaubert (alusión).
* "Los paraísos artificiales" (1860) de Charles Baudelaire (cita).
* Mención a los autores Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Valéry, Montesquieu, Bertolt Brecht, Thomas de Quincey, Jean-Pierre Vernant.

Indirecta:
?

* Eventos: Surgimiento del antropocentrismo (s. XVI).
* Figuras recurrentes: Castrado/a, travesti
...more
Cvi *
Jan 16, 2017 Cvi * rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ролан Барт трябва да се чете, затова пък давам няколко цитата, които намирам за подходящ в контекста на университетските ми неволи.

"вместо да описва живота си в своя роман, както често се твърди, той превръща самия си живот в творба"

"модерният пишещ се ражда едновременно със своя текст; по никакъв начин той няма битие, което би могло да предхожда или да следва неговото писане, в нищо той не е субект, чийто предикат би могла да бъде книгата му; няма друго време освен това на акта на изказването и
...more
Jonathan
Gearing up for grad school stuff, I've decided to really dive into looking at some literary theory. For those reading who are in college: don't get rid of any larger text books regarding this kind of stuff. Seriously, I'm going back and rebuying a ton of books I ditched after I graduated. At the time, I didn't recognize the value.

Anyway, I think Barthes claim in this piece is actually really interesting and I want to frame it around a video game I actually once played called "The Beginner's Guid
...more
Niloufar  Rahmanian
"The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author." The essence of the text is shocking and heart breaking . At first i was trying anything in mind just to prove Barthes wrong. Yet i believe that the area of dominance of authors was about to end and the age of reader was about to flourish. Because lets be honest no one ever cared about the reader before, it was all about the author and not the representation of him in the text only, his past, his thoughts that arent even in ...more
JT
Sep 01, 2012 JT rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summer-2012
Full of unruly and incredibly satisfying ideas that one wishes would fit on a business card (to be offered to pretty strangers, recent friends, romantic partners, vaguely accusatory strangers demanding to know the content of your English degree, etc.):

"[T]he reader of the Text might be compared to an idle subject (who has relaxed his image-repetoire): this fairly empty subject strolls (this has happened to the author of these lines, and it is for this reason that he has come to an intense awaren
...more
Rich
Jul 22, 2012 Rich rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a finished review. There's also pieces of my review in Image Music Text. This review is specific to the essay The Death of the Author.

There will always be context in the origin of a piece of art that lends to the understanding of the art. Granted, there are different degrees to the importance of context per art form, depending on where and when it came from, but the author will always be important. The author has both confines of its own that created the voice it speaks with in text,
...more
tortoise dreams
The current academic trend in literary criticism these days is a theory spun in an essay by Roland Barthes (why are all the clever theoreticians French, when the French seem best at pastry, cheese, and wine? Hmm ...), known affectionately as The Death of the Author (DOTA). Let me caveat right here: I'm not an academic, I'm untrained in literary analysis, and if I abuse some key concepts I admit ignorance, but I'm not attempting to misstate the tenets of the theory. In this approach the reader (p ...more
Ali Nili
Nov 01, 2016 Ali Nili rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"text is a tissue [or fabric] of quotations."
Ygraine
Feb 28, 2016 Ygraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
my mind's a little too foggy to unpick all the thoughts this text has inspired in me; i will come back to it, i think.
Lindu Pindu
For an interesting discussion about this text, go here: http://danielcoffeen.podomatic.com/en....
Ahmed Abdelazim
التراتيب البنيوية في أوجّ هيمنتها على القارئ!!
Adam
Jun 26, 2017 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very postmodern argument towards literature, interesting although problematic. has great points though.
Terry
May 22, 2017 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay
Sumit Kumar
Jun 29, 2017 Sumit Kumar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The birth of a reader must be ransomed by the death of the author" - this explains the state of Modern literature as we know it
Elias Vasilis Kontaxakis
Did [the Author] wish to express himself, he ought at least to know that the inner ‘thing’ he thinks to ‘translate’ is itself only a ready-formed dictionary, its words only explainable through other words, and so on indefinitely…

Death of the Author, perhaps Roland Barthes most famous essay, reads a bit like an obituary. (How often has that joke been used?) In it he proclaims the work’s namesake and along with it the “birth of the reader.” This is one key aspect of the text—it’s audacity—along wi
...more
Katie
Jul 16, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed "From Science to Literature", "The Death of the Author" is pretty classic, "On Reading" made me realize that I'm not sure what the difference between reading and writing is for RB, except that, in the common conception, writers are owners and readers are usufructuaries, but he's disagreeing with that conception, so. He seems to contradict himself at times, but in interesting ways - e.g., in one essay, he critiques the idea of science as a metalanguage ("the illusory privilege at ...more
Peyton Del Toro
Many interesting points and definitely worth a read, but I didn't entirely agree with the essay. I've always believed writing to be a mode of thinking, therefore implying that reading is a mode of listening. An author writes because they want to be heard, and a reader seeks out information about the author because they want to know who they're listening to. Studying The Help in my African American Linguistics course wouldn't have been the same if I didn't know the author was white and her "diale ...more
Basila Hasnain
May 07, 2015 Basila Hasnain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One does not always have to agree with a particular stance of criticism or maybe must not. Taking one perspective is reductive and so I dont think that taking the Author out of the triangle of literary criticism ( The Mirror and the Lamp ) would be very conducive in gauging texts. But killing the Author is made so much fun by Barthes :) that as a reader I simply loved the ruthless idea.
As I have been reading works of Literary theory recently am able to appreciate the essay for its clarity, styl
...more
Arya
Feb 06, 2017 Arya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be extremely depressing, as a novelist. Privileges the reader, kills the author. Sad.
Andra
Feb 06, 2016 Andra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Having buried the Author, the modern scriptor can thus no longer believe, as according to the pathetic view of his predecessors, that his hand is too slow for his thought or passion and that consequently, making a law of neccesity, he must emphasize this delay and indefinitely "polish" his form. For him, on the contrary, the hand, cut off from any voice, borne by a pure gesture of inscription (and not of expression), traces a field without origin - or which, at least, has no other origin than l ...more
Leah
Jan 01, 2014 Leah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literature Uni Students
Recommended to Leah by: My Uni Reading List
The great phrases involved are what made me warm to this essay. 'The birth of the author must be at the cost of the death of the author'. They jump out and make this essay worth studying.

In my head though, the essay was just an essay! It was well-written for sure but it simply discussed the idea that the book is the readers once the book is published and that it no longer belongs to the author. I disagreed with the idea of it doesn't matter who the author is. To me it does affect they way you re
...more
Daniel
Dec 27, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essentials, 2016
"Autori surm" on suurepärane esseekogu, mis koondab endasse Barthes'i kirjandusteemalise loomingu paremiku. Kõik nüansid jäid mulle küll kättesaamatuks ja paljud mõtted lendasid üle pea, aga sellegipoolest oli tegemist nauditava lugemisega, mis avaldas tunduvalt minu nägemust Barthes'i põhimõtetest. Kõikidele kirjandushuvilistele on tegemist kohustusliku kirjandusega, isegi kui kõigest aru ei saa, on ikkagi huvitav.
Barney Trotwell
Well, I don't fully agree, but the text makes valuable observations. Namely that a work is not fully controlled by its author, but rather, the author's subconscious, cultural context, and even language itself influence the outcome very much.

I still think the author has a varying degree of control, and that the reader's interpretations, while having merit, can be unrelated to the text itself. I still place importance in the author's intention.
Momina Masood
Sep 04, 2013 Momina Masood rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literature majors
This is shorter than Foucault's and I liked this one better. The last paragraph impressed me and completely won me over. Though I still believe in the significance of the author for the interpretation of any text, I don't believe it to be the ultimate source for it. Barthes, in this respect, highlights the importance of the reader saying that it is the destination that is imperative to the text's meaning rather than the origin. Very interesting, indeed.
Yoana
Отвикнала съм да чета академична литература, мозъкът ми е навикнал към друг вид дискурс и му е трудно да излезе. Но тук се разбрахме с Барт, за разлика от предния ми опит с него. С идеята за смъртта на Автора бях съгласна още когато ми я споменаха за пръв път в 9 клас; самото есе я разгръща в типичния наметофоризиран стил на Барт, но все пак смятам, че е достъпна дори при отсъствие на литературоведско или лингвистично образование.
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Artist Reading Group: Fake it till you make it 1 6 Mar 31, 2016 03:23AM  
  • What is an Author?
  • Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree
  • The Origin of German Tragic Drama
  • On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism
  • Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics
  • The Laugh of the Medusa
  • Glas
  • The Jargon of Authenticity
  • The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field (Meridian-Crossing Aesthetics)
  • Aesthetics and Its Discontents
  • Proust and Signs: The Complete Text
  • Deconstruction and Criticism
  • Can the subaltern speak? : Postkolonialität und subalterne Artikulation
  • The Common Reader
  • Jacques Lacan: A Feminist Introduction
  • Prince of Networks: Bruno LaTour and Metaphysics
  • Biographia Literaria: Biographical Sketches of my Literary Life & Opinions
  • The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art
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Roland Gérard Barthes was a French literary theorist, philosopher, linguist, critic, and semiotician. Barthes' ideas explored a diverse range of fields and he influenced the development of schools of theory including structuralism, semiotics, social theory, design theory, anthropology and post-structuralism.
More about Roland Barthes...

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“Literature is that neuter, that composite, that oblique into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost, beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.” 5 likes
“Man does not exist prior to language, either as a species or as an individual. We never encounter a state where man is separated from language, which he then elaborates in order to 'express' what is happening to him: it is language which teaches the definition of man, not the contrary.” 4 likes
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