This book is the trace of work done during a two-year seminar (1968-1969) at the Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes.
I hope that the students, auditors, and friends who took part in this seminar will accept this dedication of a text which was written according to their attention to it.
On dit qu'à force d'ascèse certains bouddhistes parviennent à voir tout un paysage dans une fève.
À quoi penser-vous? a-t-on envie de demander, sur son invite discrète, au texte classique; mais plus retors que tous ceux qui croient s'en tirer en répondant: à rien, le texte ne répond pas, donnant au sens sa dernière clôture: la suspension.
S/Z is the linguistic distillation of Barthes's system of semiology, a science of signs and symbols, in which a Balzac nevella, Sarrasine, is dissected semantically in order to uncover layers of unsuspected meanings and connotations. In the process, Barthes reveals the immeasurably fecund nature of language. His interpretation of language and meaning within the structuralist mode is a classic work of semiotic theory, profoundly influential on a generation of Anglo-American theorists.… (more)