Thursday, July 7, 2016

"Masculine, Feminine, Neuter" by Roland Barthes (Translated by Chris Turner) Published by Seagull Books

ISBN: 978-0857422422 Seagull Books
"Masculine, Feminine, Neuter" by Roland Barthes (translated by Chris Turner) Published by Seagull Books

There are book reviews, and then there are book reviews written by Roland Barthes.  "Masculine, Feminine, Neuter" is a compilation of his writings that deals with the subject matter of literature.  The beauty of his critical thought is that he really gets into the text and culture of the book that he's focusing on.  I have always found his writings on the New Novel, in other words, the novels by Alain Robbe-Grillet, fascinating.  Robbe-Grillet and others, were working in a different format, of being very objective, yet of course, being subjective at the same time.  The writing is factual, but the reporting of that fact will always be subjective.  Which is a reminder how one should read the news these days.  There is also commentary on Marcel Proust regarding his masterpiece, and how that book is really about writing as well.  Life happened, but the writing part is another form of life.   Seagull Books should be congratulated for publishing this series of Barthes' writings that hasn't been issued in english before.  And again, reading Barthes is a bit like having a really good friend whisper in your ear as you are reading a text that he's interested in.   A good friend indeed. 

- Tosh Berman

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