Roland Barthes: Le Degré zéro de l'écriture [Writing Degree Zero]

(2480 words)
  • Graham Allen (University College Cork)

Writing Degree Zero is the first of the many books written by the French theorist Roland Barthes. Published in 1953 as Le Degré zéro de l'écriture (Paris: Le Seuil), this is a book which, as Susan Sontag states in her introduction to the English translation, can seem rather surprising to readers aware of Barthes's subsequent work (Barthes, Writing Degree Zero, translated by Annette Lavers and Colin Smith, New York: Hill and Wang, 1968: vii-viii). The book was written before Barthes's involvement with structuralism, semiology and, obviously, before post-structuralism began to radically influence his writing. In the place of these more familiar influences, readers of Writing Degree Zero encounter a text in …

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Allen, Graham. "Le Degré zéro de l'écriture". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 September 2002
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]