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Roland Barthes’s Comrades and Rivals

Your favorite critic has plenty of frenemies.


A.J. Greimas

He's not just a colleague, he's also my B(d)FF (Book Discussion Friend Forever).

Roman Jakobson 

His theories on metonymy and metaphor just might have changed my life.

Claude Levi-Strauss

We're both all about structure. He goes the cultural anthropology route, and I take the literary theory path.

Ferdinand de Saussure 

Saussure kicked things off when he started studying how language works; i.e., words are part of a whole system of signs and the things they stand for. I just took it all a step forward. Okay, that's my false modesty speaking—more like many steps forward.

Gérard Genette

He took my interest in textual structure and ran with it—all the way to studying the nitty gritty ingredients that make up narratives.

Julia Kristeva

Not only did she introduce me to Mikhail Bakhtin, but she also took my side in that whole Picard affair (filed under: when Theorists Attack).

Tzvetan Todorov

Not to brag, but I influenced Todorov's work on structures and genres. 


Raymond Picard

Things went sour when he wrote that takedown piece on me, "New Criticism or New Fraud?"

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