17 Vol. 17, ottobre 2016
Cento e uno anni di Barthes (1915-2016) | One hundred and one years of Barthes (1915-2016)
METADATI: apri il frontespizio (pdf), DOI: 10.12977/ocula51
In the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Roland Barthes (1915-1980), Ocula’s editorial board has decided to dedicate a special issue to the scholar who is recognized as the founder of a semiotic approach to popular and mass culture. We pay this homage by publishing five essays written by Marcel Danesi, Isabella Pezzini, Gianfranco Marrone, Emanuele Fadda and Stefano Traini, to whom we have asked an intellectual testimony on Barthes as a semiotician.
Hanno collaborato a questo numero: Cinzia Bianchi, Marcel Danesi, Emanuele Fadda, Gianfranco Marrone, Isabella Pezzini, Ruggero Ragonese, Stefano Traini.
|Introduzione. Tutti i nostri Barthes | Introduction: All our Bartheses||di Cinzia Bianchi, Ruggero Ragonese|
Our Introduction is rather particular. As particular and special as this monographic issue which we present here. It is composed of only five essays – and each has been written in response to an invitation. Also of particular note is the date: we are running a year late (1915-2015) as the centenary has just passed and we have overrun our deadline, as often happens in academic circles, but in this case it was done deliberately, pour cause.
|Biografia e autobiografia in Barthes (1915-1980) e Lotman (1922-1993): un confronto di prospettive | Biography and autobiography in Barthes (1915-1980) and Lotman (1922-1993): A Comparison of perspectives||di Isabella Pezzini|
This essay deals with the theme of autobiography (or, better still, of personal biography) through the comparison of two ‘autobiographies’, those of Roland Barthes and Jurij M. Lotman. The books reveal the different intellectual attitudes of these two twentieth century masters of semiotics. Barthes, after having given much attention to the theme of biography in relation to others (with the essays on Michelet, and later on Sade, Fourier and Loyola), made of his own biography a crucial moment in his own intellectual development, a project which began with the text, Barthes par Roland Barthes (1975). Unlike Barthes, Lotman dictated his own memoir, Ne-memuary [Non-Memoir] (Moscow 1994), only under external pressure towards the end of his life, and clearly without the intention of creating a “work”, but rather as a means of leaving an account of his experiences as a man, and as an internationally recognized scholar – in other words, a man ‘with a biography’. The comparison of Barthes and Lotman invites reflection on the value of writing and of testimony, as well as on the fact that “they both reflected from different perspectives on the deep semiotic dimension of life, considered the origin and at the same time result in a fundamental circuit with text”.
|Verso un lessico barthesiano: prime voci | Towards a barthesian lexicon: first entries||di Gianfranco Marrone|
In the following essay Gianfranco Marrone presents two entries from a more comprehensive work on Barthes’ lexicon: Work/Text and Obvious/Obtuse. In the first entry Marrone follows the intellectual process that led to a conceptual revolution in semiotic and literary research when Barthes moved from the traditional definition of the ‘work’ to that of the ‘text’. According to Barthes, the ‘text’ is a regulative hypothesis and a strategic category; it helps to overcome the separation between disciplines; and presupposes a practice of writing in which theory and subject tend to coincide. Is this distinction a well-established definitive result of semiotic research which began with Barthes? Or has this trend been inverted with a return to a focus on the ‘work’ rather than the ‘text’? Further issues are investigated under the entry Obvious/Obtuse, a Barthesian opposition firmly established within semiotic and film studies. The question of whether this distinction was an ad hoc theory applied solely to the few frames of Ejzenštejn’s films, or whether it can be extended to other texts and phenomena of sense, is still entirely open to discussion.
|Dal mito classico al mito riciclato: La cultura di massa secondo Roland Barthes | From classical myth to recycled myth: pop culture according to Roland Barthes||di Marcel Danesi|
This essay makes critical reference to Barthes’ Mythologies (1956), the text which has been recognised as fundamental to the semiological study of mass and popular culture. However, the essay also goes beyond paying due homage to this seminal work by moving beyond it to provide the context of North American and British studies of mass culture, based on recent theories of mass media and new media, in which Barthes is completely absent. A final comparison concerns the cognitive sciences as “rival sciences” to the semiotic study of pop culture.
|Vedere il linguaggio. Sul saussurismo di Barthes | Seeing Language: On Barthes’ Saussurianism||di Emanuele Fadda|
This essay analyzes briefly the relationship between Saussure and Barthes. Its first focus is on the more properly scientific points of contact, such as the relationship between language and semiotics, and those between language, institutions and sociability. This is followed by a discussion of aspects seemingly unrelated to science and more concerned with the self-consciousness of the scholar as a general speaker and member of society, forming part of the common social fabric, and finally as a speaker within a scholarly environment pervaded by a shared consciousness. What emerges is a similarity between Saussure and Barthes of a shared socio-linguistic hypersensitivity – the “seeing” of language which takes on a form of “minor scietific drama” (that, at least, is the way in which the semiologist expresses it in relation to the linguist). This Barthesian empathy for Saussure is the basis of the relationship between these two fathers of semiology explored in this essay.
|Il volto nascosto di Dio. Dall'analisi di Barthes della lotta di Giacobbe (Genesi 32,23-33) al libro di Ester | The hidden face of God. From Barthes' analysis of Jacob's struggle (Genesis 32,23-33) to the book of Esther||di Stefano Traini|
In 1972 Roland Barthes published a brief analysis of the text of Genesis 32, traditionally called Jacob Wrestles with the Angel. In that period, the first structural analysis tools were being tested and among them Barthes used also Greimas’ actantial model. The episode of Jacob’s struggle is interesting because the patriarch fights against a God who conceals his identity, hiding himself under the guise of a man, or an angel. Starting from this point, in the article I have tried to ideally continue Barthes’ analysis, examining the Book of Esther, all built around the idea of the concealment of identity: God never appears, but he governs the plots of the world; with wise foresight, Esther hides, as well as her guardian Mordekhŕi, and together they defeat their opponents, who would like to eliminate the Jews living in the kingdom of Ahashverňsh. The hidden identity, later revealed with strategic wisdom, seems - in the biblical texts - a prerogative of the winners.