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Speaking With the DeadExplorations in Literature and History$
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Jurgen Pieters

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748615889

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615889.001.0001

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The Sounds of Silence: Roland Barthes

The Sounds of Silence: Roland Barthes

(p.121) Chapter 5 The Sounds of Silence: Roland Barthes
Speaking With the Dead

Jürgen Pieters

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses the work by Roland Barthes. The question that Barthes puts in the opening pages of La chambre claire (Camera Lucida) offers an apt illustration of the paradox which underlies the conversation with the dead. His famous essay, ‘The Death of the Author’, is reported. Barthes' subject in this text is not so much the author as a living person, the concept that is invoked by literary critics in order to solve a number of problems surrounding the interpretation of texts. The act of writing as a metempsychosis without a soul is evaluated. It was only in Michelet's texts that the dead were given the voice they lacked during so much of their lives. Barthes would have appreciated the irony of Jorge Luis Borges' words and would have rewritten them in tribute to the master.

Keywords:   Roland Barthes, Death of Author, metempsychosis, soul, Michelet, Jorge Luis Borges, dead, voice

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