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The book was first published in the United States, in 1997 by Totem book. The version I read was from my local library and this edition was published in the UK in 1999 by Icon books ltd.
Authors are Philip Thody and Ann course
Price in the UK is £8.99, in the USA its $10.95 and also I found online at the website www.amazon.co.uk for new and used for £1.82. All of these are paperback.
Basically the book is as the title says. It introduces Roland Barthes, a French man. Born in November 12 1915 and died in March 25 1980. He got hit by a laundry van the month before. He was mainly seen as a semiotic person, where you study signs. Also he was a philosopher, socialist, and a critic of literature.
Semiotics is a study of signs, some people say science of signs. This is what Barthes was best known for. It is the study of signs. How they are shown and expressed. How they are used to communicate, what are the meanings of the signs and why they are used by the user and how they are understood by the reader. A bit complicated but interesting.
I am reviewing the book itself therefore I would not go in detail about Barthes as you can read the book yourself, or from any other sources.
The book is very easy to read, there are only around 170 pages which can be read in a few hours. Half the book is filled with animations that corresponds to the text. This helps the reader to visualise what has been written. Having no idea of who Barthes is and what he does, this book is very good at giving a summary that will stick with you. There is not really a structure to the book. Just a statement to introduce Barthes and at the end how he died. In between, it talks about Barthes ideas and some events in his life. Plus where he got his influence from and what people thought of his ideas. There are some pictures were it might not be appropriate, as there are sexual images. All in all, it is a good book for what is it for. Not relevant to everyone but it will help if it is relevant.
I enjoyed reading the book, I have an interested in learning something new. I have learnt what semiotics is about and who Roland Barthes is from this book.