Skip to main content

Distributed for Seagull Books

"The ’Scandal’ of Marxism" and Other Writings on Politics

Essays and Interviews, Volume 2

Roland Barthes, whose centenary falls in 2015, was a restless, protean thinker. A constant innovator, often as a daring smuggler of ideas from one discipline to another, he first gained an audience with his pithy essays on mass culture and then went on to produce some of the most suggestive and stimulating cultural criticism of the late twentieth century, including Empire of Signs, The Pleasure of the Text, and Camera Lucida. In 1976, this one time structuralist outsider was elected to a chair at France’s preeminent Collège de France, where he chose to style himself as professor of literary semiology until his death in 1980.

The greater part of Barthes’s published writings have been available to a French audience since 2002, but here, translator Chris Turner presents a collection of essays, interviews, prefaces, book reviews, and other journalistic material for the first time in English. Divided into five themed volumes, readers are presented in volume two, ‘The “Scandal” of Marxism’ and Other Writings on Politics, with a wide range of Barthes’s more overtly political writings, with an emphasis on his early work and the serious national turbulence in the French 1950s.

112 pages | 5 x 8 1/2 | © 2015

The French List

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

Seagull Books image

View all books from Seagull Books


“The most striking quality in this volume of newly translated essays by Barthes, written between 1950 and 1977, is their freshness. . . . A humane and consistent vision threads through them: Barthes asserts firmly that literature matters, those in power lie, and killing for the sake of a doctrine is wrong. He writes with a clarity and brevity that strike to the heart of issues still relevant decades after his death: race, propaganda, abuse of power. . . . This collection is strongly recommended: it more than repays the reader’s time and effort.”

Publishers Weekly

Table of Contents

Do Revolutions Follow Laws?
The ‘Scandal’ of Marxism
Humanism without Words
Phenomenology and Dialectical Materialism
On a Metaphor. (Is Marxism a Church?)
Left-Wing Writers or Left-Wing Literature?
Yes, There Definitely is a Left-Wing Literature
The Masters and the Slaves
Am I a Marxist?
Is Anti-Semitism Right- or Left-Wing?
Home Knitting
The Choice of a Career
On a Use of the Verb “To Be”
On the De Gaulle Regime
On the Left-Wing Criticism
A Case of Cultural Criticism
So, How Was China?
Letter to Bernard-Henri Lévy
The Minorities of the Minorities
Remarks on Violence
Reply to a Question on Artists and Politics

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press