Roland Barthes
Vintage, New York, 2009, 1972; originally published (in French ) 1953, English
Nonfiction, Art and Cultural History
ISBN: 9780099529750

A collection of essays that explores the myths of mass culture, its symbols and signs, embedded in familiar aspects of modern life, unmasking the hidden ideologies and meanings that implicitly affect human thought and behavior.

On 6 book lists
Shashi Caan

Short chapters that are magnificent in their breadth of subject matter and depth of meaning. Exploring the ordinary and everyday objects and happenings, Barthes provides a critique that is intriguing in its consideration of the shaping of changed meanings, by design, in society and culture. He also inspires the questioning of myth, our reality, and the related significance.

Abbott Miller

A book that opened hundreds of doors to reading design, art, music, and film with the eye of an anthropologist and an art critic. Barthes infused everything else I wrote and thought about afterward.

Massimo Pitis

The section “Myth Today” was one of my favorite readings when I was in my twenties. During my school days at the University of Bologna I came across this book by chance in a little remainders store. It was real discovery for me to learn to see another side of “reality,” from a different and critical perspective and under a strong cultural microscope.

Alice Rawsthorn
Still a darling of critical theorists, the French academic Roland Barthes was the subject of glowing essays in recent issues of both Artforum and Frieze. He was one of the most elegant and perceptive writers on late 20th-century product design or, more precisely, on the way in which we endlessly reinterpret the perceived meaning of objects. Mythologies is a collection of Barthes’s essays published first in 1957, and again in a new edition in 1970. . . . View the complete text
Jorge Silvetti

The best, sharpest, and most profound articulation of how societies create myths and live with and by them, and how to dismantle them.

Calvin Tsao

Barthes examines the inherent dangers to society of contemporary mythologizing wherein the values of a dominant majority are (invisibly) foisted on the rest. His later book The Fashion System further examines this silent tyranny.

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