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Mythologies

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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  8,311 ratings  ·  270 reviews
"[Mythologies] illustrates the beautiful generosity of Barthes's progressive interest in the meaning (his word is signification) of practically everything around him, not only the books and paintings of high art, but also the slogans, trivia, toys, food, and popular rituals (cruises, striptease, eating, wrestling matches) of contemporary life . . . For Barthes, words and o ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 1st 1972 by Hill and Wang (first published 1957)
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Community Reviews

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Riku Sayuj

On Arranging My Library


Arranging a library is no easy task:
I think Tolkien will be happy to share his space
With Virgil and Homer,
In my Library.
While I can feel the glare in my back
as I stack
Nabokov next to that one copy of
Dan Brown I own.


Arranging a library is no easy task:
To do so this seriously is almost to practice
In an amateurish and private fashion,
The art of literary criticism.
And once that notion entered my library,
My authors took to their relative positions
With none of that dismissiven
...more
Tosh
I am not a huge critical lit reader but there is something so enjoyable about Barthes' books or essays. I like the way he writes about an everyday object or subject matter - and just tears into it like a very curious scientist. "Mythologies" is one of his more well-known titles and rightfully so. Good writer and I think he's a great reader as well.
Trevor
This was much more interesting than I expected it to be – and I could even go as far as to say some of it was quite fun. I mean fun in a relative sense, of course, as this is a text with quite some ‘resistance’ and so some of it was also quite hard to read.

Most of the text is a series of short essays that discuss what the author refers to as ‘myths’. Now, these aren’t really the kinds of things that you might automatically associate with the word ‘myth’. There is a longish (longish for a book t
...more
Ellen
In high school, I used to attend the wrestling meets. I'm not sure why. I hated spectator sports, having endured a brief period of sullen cheerleading where I found myself unable to whip up a frenzy over first downs or sis-boom-bah on command.

Among the high school wrestlers I watched, there were some who elicited greater and lesser degrees of sympathy or repugnance, while one--though otherwise an inarticulate hulk--was transformed on the mat into a figure of grace, performing pins swiftly and cl
...more
Roz Foster
Mythologies (1957) was recommended to me as a must-read for brand builders. Who better (or more fun) to read when boning up on brand strategy and semiotics than Roland Barthes? Each of Barthes’s very brief and highly entertaining essays demonstrates his point of view and method as a mythologist--a sarcastic bastard with the insight to look a hole right through you.

According to Barthes, a mythologist is (not just an irreverent, cultural jester, but) an individual who recognizes a cultural myth, s
...more
David
Barthes' most famous contribution to the semiotics school of structuralism, post-structuralism: though not his most-read according to GoodReads (an accolade reserved for Camera Lucida). While I love all of the Barthes that I have read, I think this should be required reading somewhere (the first part, anyway). Barthes is brilliant; his eyes seem always turned to the world as it is, and yet remain mindful of the world as it seems: that is the premise of Mythologies. Intentionally or unintentional ...more
Melissa Rudder
Apr 26, 2008 Melissa Rudder rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Steve, Tim, and anyone interested in theory and rhetoric
I only had to read half of Roland Barthes' Mythologies for my Critical Theory class, but I was so engrossed that I set aside George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones (you'll understand how impressive that is if I ever get to that review) and spent a day of my spring break reading the whole thing. In Mythologies, Barthes, a theorist I previously (and less amiably) met during my Media and Rhetoric class, does a semiotic reading of different aspects of society in order to identify the ideological belie ...more
Jason
Dec 17, 2012 Jason added it
Shelves: read-2010
Oh enjoy the 3 page observations of myth in modern society. Relish how surprisingly difficult they can be to understand, but yet have something marvelous to ponder. Soon you will get to the second half, the essay "Myth Today," and it will hurt your brain reeeeeeal good. Barthes examines the power of myth, why it is so harmful, and how it works semiotically. The last 60 pages took me 5 hours to read but it was so insightful I sat struck when I had put the book down. This is not easy reading and i ...more
Fahad
أسطوريات

رولان بارت لا يقرأ إلا باللغة التي كتب بها، للحقيقة لم أستطع إكمال الكتاب، كانت هناك فجوات كبيرة لا يسهل ردمها، رغم موضوعات مقالاته الجذابة جداً.
Alicia Kachmar
Ouch, my brain hurts.
Jason
a wonderful book...
although it didn't end up going where i thought it would...
barthes envisions the process of myth as a pernicious tool of the dominant power structure for the covert distortion of history...
his analysis centers on the notion that myth is used in the modern world to 'naturalize' concepts that the bourgeois power base wants the masses to believe 'go without saying' or are seemingly essential parts of human existence...
i'd never really thought of myth in this light...
barthes argum
...more
Bryant
My advice is to read this book backwards. Some of the short essays, including "Wine and Milk," "Steak and Chips," "The Blue Guide," and "The Lost Continent," are exemplary demonstrations of the ideas laid out in the long essay, "Myth Today," that concludes the book. There Barthes argues for a dense handful of concepts related to the signifier and the signified, noting especially the extent to which mythology tries to depict things properly categorized as "historical" in a manner that we might ca ...more
flannery
I wonder sometimes what it must be like to have been born before the simulacrum became a matter of fact, instead of 1985. What was it like to read Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, or Guy Debord before Ronald Reagan became president, Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor and the world was recreated in a manmade archipelago off the coast of Dubai? I have no idea. Roland Barthes is a tremendous writer but this book feels too precious, too quaint; serious conversations about the petite bourgeoise just f ...more
Raya Al-Raddadi
يعدد بالقسم الأول بعضاً من أهم الأساطير المعاصرة وماتشير إليه مثل المصارعة كترفيه للطبقات الكادحة والغير مثقفة بعكس الأوبرا،، وأمثلة أخرى
ثم يقوم بالجزء الثاني (والذي أظنه الأهم ) بتحليلها مستعيناً بعلم الرموز ونظرية سوسير في النظر إلى تلك الأساطير كرمز يتكون من دال ومدلول ودلالة وما إلى ذلك ويركز كثير على دور الايدولوجيا في إنشاء تلك الأساطير جعلها تظهر بمظهر عفوي بعد أن تشوه طبيعتها التاريخية والسياسية .. كتاب يستحق القراءة ويجعلك تبدأ النظر لهذا العالم وتحليل كل مايبدو طبيعياً وبديهياً من زاو
...more
Tamara
I had a lot of fun with this. The final essay is slightly impenetrable but awfully tantalizing, and the collection of analytic viginettes are insghtful and often downright hilarious. Some of them have dated - though often in illuminating ways that don't suggest much progress, really - and others remain totally spot-on for today. Barthes doesn't exactly take apart the world around him, rather he tries to understand what its actually communicating, what the moral of the message is, and how this no ...more
anna blume
ნაშრომი ამოდის იდეიდან, რომ ნებისმიერი სიტყვა შეიძლება გახდეს მითი. ცნებები როგორც სტერეოტიპები. მაგალითად, სტერეოტიპი ფილმებში, რომ რომაელებს შუბლზე შეჭრილი თმა აქვთ, - მართლაც ყველა ფილმში რომაელებზე ასეთი ვარცხნილობა მახსენდება. მაგალითად, როგორც ღვინოს დაემართა, მატერიალურის გარდა, სემანტიკური მნიშვნელობა შეიძინა. იგი წარმოდგენილია როგორც რძის ანტონიმი, სრული ოპოზიცია - ყველაზე სნობისტური სასმელის ყველაზე არასნობისტურ სასმელთან დაპირისპირება. მაგალითად, ბიფშტექსისა (თითქმის უმი და სისხლიანი ...more
Deborah
Smart Barthes ~ I appreciate the intellectual vigor in most of the 53 essays. Some, more than others.

His long, intricate study ("no denunciation without its proper instrument of close analysis") helps parcel out what we're reading from the motivation of its having been written.

What remains, besides the capital enemy (the bourgeois Norm) is the necessary conjunction of these two gesture: no denunciation without its proper instrument of close analysis, no semiology which cannot ultimately be ackno
...more
Joe S
Tasty little treat, and essential as an intro to semiology, cultural theory and/or just plain critical thinking. Four stars as a teaching tool. As a read in its own right, though, it feels like one of those seminal texts that outdate themselves. You hit an especially belabored point and think, "Well, no shit. We all got there 30 years ago with...ah...Barthes. Oh."

But hot damn, does it make freshmen's heads explode. Pre-tween little brainses everywhere.
Yann
C'est sans doute l'un des pires livres de ma bibliothèque. Pédant, creux, fatueux, vide et ennuyeux: il ne s'agit que de lire des fadaises à propos de sottises. Rien ne vient rétribuer l'impatience du pauvre lecteur qui s'inflige chaque page comme une punition chaque fois plus cuisante. On ne devrait pas autant abuser de la longanimité du lecteur plein de bonne volonté. Pour moi, Barthes, c'est terminé.
Kristen
I feel justified giving this three stars, despite skimming/skipping the last 15 or so pages. The first part of the book is made up for very short essays in which Barthes examines the myths of everyday life. (His definition of myth: a circumstance that has been brought about by a specific series of historical and societal actions, but is portrayed as "natural" or "just the way it is.") The final third is a more general essay about using semiology to explore myths. The final piece got a bit dry an ...more
Alex
Nov 03, 2013 Alex marked it as to-read
This sounds interesting, but I have a very low tolerance for wankery. This better not wank.
Stephen
Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols, especially in language, of how they function and how they have meaning. Of especial interest to semioticists is the language of mass culture: how the plain meaning (if there can be such a thing) of a sign or symbol (or word) is loaded up with meta-meaning by its use in popular culture. Roland Barthes, variously a professor of literature, philosophy, linguistics, and semiotics, wrote an essay a month for two years for Les Lettres Nouvelles, a French li ...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
A wonderful collection of essays in which Barthes as a mythologist searches behind and reveals the meanings hidden in the modern 'myths'(myth as a semiological concept). He takes the ordinary examples and then begins analyzing it. Only then you realize that the ordinary thing (eg: advertisement for the detergent powder) itself was a myth which when excavated reveals much. For example He does a psycho analytic study of the advertisement of detergent powders among many other things.
There are few
...more
Hadrian
Brand new translation!

This edition is in two parts - the first being a series of some fifty or so short essays on certain events or things, and their symbolic/semiotic meanings. Everything from wrestling to Greta Garbo to margarine to a populist conservative who supported Vichy France and reminds me of the fringes of the Tea Party.

My favorites are the essays on Wrestling - it is a story, more so than a physical competition, and Toys - which directly shape a child's occupations and thoughts. Eve
...more
i!
Myth As Stolen Language—makes interesting move from description of myth strictly in linguistic terms to characterizing Contemporary Poetry as antimythical system, which is in turn, of course, appropriated as {Contemporary-Poetry-as-antimythical}-as-myth.

Pg. 244: "Myth can reach everything, corrupt everything, and even the very act of refusing oneself to it."

Math as a "finished language which derives its very perfection from this acceptance of death". Quantitative-as-death.
Tautology reaches the
...more
Andrea
I loved one point made by Barthes, and one point only. So it got a three and not less, because it also had me raging.

I love the idea of myth as violence, the idea that it represents the stripping of a word or an image of all of its historical and political content, replacing it with an ideal. And in the world of today, it is almost always a political or marketing kind of ideal. Aesop, mythmaker extraordinaire, ensures through his stories that there is no longer a living, breathing, hungry lion,
...more
Pierre E. Loignon
Ce livre m’a passablement ennuyé.
On y trouve certains passages très amusants, mais il ne s’agit jamais de rien de plus que d’opinions subjectives assumées (10) et il est important de garder en tête qu’il s’agit d’une œuvre qui se veut une provocation libératrice sinon, on risque de trouver Barthes franchement stupide. Le vrai problème, c’est que ces réflexions sont trop souvent inintéressantes autant en ce qui a trait aux objets choisis qu’en ce qui concerne la réflexion sur ces objet, générale
...more
Jeremy
The only Barthes I've read before is his "death of the author piece," which is sort of the token piece of theory which everyone who majored in english is familiar with. What makes this so interesting is how he weaves this incredibly fluid analysis informed by his ideas of myth and semiology. It kind of reminds me of Vico a bit, where you see a methodology arise out of examples instead of just being introduced in a rote, inorganic way. The way he takes apart these hopelessly everyday things and s ...more
Kate
Oct 26, 2007 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: English Lit majors!
After spending a semester with Barthes and pairing it with the Best American Non-required reading 2006 book, I'd say I got a lot out of it. A lot our class (that we read this book for) really didn't like Barthes, primarily because he is so abstract and likes to use the flowery language. I think for the average reader, this is a book where you have to slow down and think about every word, every sentence, every paragraph to get what he is saying in the slightest bit, which is good because it chall ...more
Paul
This is a great, thought-provoking set of essays that suffers from age, despite the lasting relevance of its core arguments. My main gripe was that Barthes' method of choosing bits of contemporary pop culture to illustrate his arguments is of course destined to become dated, and so a few of the chapters when over my head. I'm just not familiar with Chaplin or the Dominici Trial, and I don't know who or what the Abbé Pierre is. However, the central arguments were easy to grasp despite this, and I ...more
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What`s your idea about this article from Mythologies : " Soap- powders and Detergents" ? 1 3 Mar 18, 2015 02:11PM  
The cultural view 2 21 Feb 21, 2013 10:43AM  
Help me understand this book please? 6 73 Aug 05, 2012 10:24AM  
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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.
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“We know that the war against intelligence is always waged in the name of common sense.” 17 likes
“What I claim is to live to the full the contradiction of my time, which may well make sarcasm the condition of truth.” 11 likes
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