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-Model was Ferdinans De Saussurean's Linguistics which enters not on individual utterances, but on the underlying rules and conventions that enable language to operate. an analysis of the social and collective dimensions of language, resembling Marxist.
-Barthe and his "Introduction to the structural analysis of narrative: By breaking down the work into such fundamental distinctions (breaking down sentences into "functions" and "actions" (characters)) Barthes was able to judge the degree of realism given functions have in forming their actions and consequently with what authenticity a narrative can be said to reflect on reality. Thus, his structuralist theorizing became another exercise in his ongoing attempts to dissect and expose the misleading mechanisms of bourgeois culture.
-barthe was considered one of the leading figures of french structuralism


The novel he references in the opening

references Sarrasine: moment when describing the castarto disguised as a woman. who is speaking? author? narrator? ultimately we will never know as writing is the "deconstruction of every voice". It is an "oblique space" where "all identity is lost"


As a Manifesto, and also in promoting scientific rather than theological approach

-refusing a fixed meaning on a text will be "revolutionary" to the reader. it is thus to "Refuse god"(author). "reason, science, law".
-text is not a line of words "releasing a single 'theological' meaning (the message of the author-god). Scientific approach.
-his idea "liberates" the anti-theological activity (refusing fixed meaning).


The death of author and critic

"to give the text an author is to impose a limit on the text"
The critic uses the authors biography to "explain" the text, which also imposes a limit. the death of the author therefore must also be the end of of the "reign" of the critic.


Allergy of Greek tragedy

-uses greek tragedy as a monotony for writing in general
-ambitious nature of greek tragedies as being "woven" with words with double meanings which individual characters misinterpret (being 'tragic'). only person who understands the duplicity of each word is the listener; the reader. we "hear the deafness of the characters speaking". as such, the piece of writing is layered with meaning and drawn from many cultures, and the only place this "multiplicity is forced" is the reader, not the author


Names cited in the essay

-Stephane Mallarme: she saw the necessity of substituting language. "it is language which speaks, not the author"
-Brecht: german poet whose "epic theatre" was intended to distance and alienate the audience from traditional theatrical illusion. Comments on it being similar to his "distancing", as the author is diminished "to the far end of the literary stage".
-recognises the surrealist movement for employing the practice of 'automatic writing' to express 'what the head is not aware of'.



-written at the height of the antiestablishment uprisings of May 1968, it assails academic criticism's typical focus on "the man and his work". however it was received badly by students of the time of uprising who attained slogan "structures don't take to the streets!".