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Now it happens that in this country (Japan),' wrote Barthes, 'the empire of signifiers is so immense, so in excess of speech, that the exchange of signs remains of a fascinating richness mobility and subtlety.' It is not the voice that communicates, but the whole body - eyes, smiles, hair, gestures. The body is savoured, received and displays its own narrative, its own text. Barthes discusses bowing, the courtesy in which two bodies inscribe but do not prostrate themselves, and why in the West politeness is regarded with suspicion - why informal relations are though more desired than coded ones. He described the progressive Japanese spectacle and the demeanor worth regard to food: the essentially visual denotation of the coloured state of raw flesh or vegetable of Sukiyaki or tempura. The cook's purpose is 'to make us witness to the extreme purity of his cuisine; it is because his activity is literally graphic.' He explains the relation between ideographic writing and painting; the theatrical traditions of No, Kabuki and Bunraku; the pure designation (which abolishes finality) of the Zen literary expression, the haiku; the organization of space in the ideal Japanese house, in which propriety or ownership is never delineated - walls slide, partitions are fragile - and there is nothing to grasp. 'What will be in question,' wrote Barthes of this seminal, previously untranslated work, 'will be the city, the shop, the theatre; manners, gardens, violence; faces, eyes and the brushes with which it is all written but not painted.' Translated from the French by Richard Howard.
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"If Japan did not exist, Barthes would have had to invent it--not that Japan does exist in Empire of Signs, for Barthes is careful to point out that he is not analyzing the real Japan, there is no terrible innerness as in the West, no soul, no God, no fate, no ego, no grandeur, no metaphysics, no 'promotional fever' and finally no meaning . . . For Barthes Japan is a test, a challenge to think the unthinkable, a place where meaning is finally banished. Paradise, indeed, for the great student of signs." --Edmund White, The New York Times Book ReviewAbout the Author:
Roland Barthes was born in 1915 and studied French literature and classics at the University of Paris. After teaching French at universities in Rumania and Egypt, he joined the Centre Nationale de Recherche Scientifique, where he devoted himself to research in sociology and lexicology. He was a Professor at the College de France until his death in 1980.
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Book Description Jonathan Cape Ltd, 1983. Condition: Good. This is an ex-library book and may have the usual library/used-book markings inside.This book has hardback covers. In good all round condition. Dust Jacket in good condition. Please note the Image in this listing is a stock photo and may not match the covers of the actual item,400grams, ISBN:0224029460. Seller Inventory # 7129341