Barthes in China

Adrian Versteegh

“It will be necessary to start off with the major fact,” writes Roland Barthes in Travels in China, “the absolute uniformity of clothes.” That this should count as a “major fact”—partway through a journal that opens with a gripe about freshly stained trousers—ought to provide some sense of what the French semiotician is up to as, over the span of three weeks in the spring of 1974, he tries, and fails, to decipher the late stages of the Cultural Revolution for a European intelligentsia busily bickering over its fractured Marxist patrimony. … Read More>>

Travels in China
by Roland Barthes
(trans. Andrew Brown,
ed. Anne Herschberg Pierrot)
Polity, 2012, 240 pp.

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