Roland Barthes

The Renaissance of Roland Barthes

An Interdisciplinary Conference on Critical Theory

CUNY Graduate Center

Comparative Literature and English Departments

April 25th-26th, 2013

In response to Roland Barthes’ tragic death in 1980, Michel Foucault observed that Barthes, in his lecture courses only a week before the accident, seemed “completely developed;” Foucault recalled thinking at the time: ‘He’ll live to be ninety years old; he is one of those men whose most important work will be written between the ages of sixty and ninety.’ Barthes’ final lecture course, Preparation of the Novel, staged the search for a Vita Nuova and a “third form” between or beyond the Essay and the Novel that would, in the manner of “the Neutral,” baffle or outplay the paradigms of theory and literature. Even if we can only hypothesize what hybrid work of critique and narrative Barthes would have gone on to create, the brilliance, theoretical significance, and formal innovation of his late work, especially his lectures, has yet to receive the international attention it deserves. In light of the publication of the final installment of his lecture courses, How to Live Together, our conference will feature presentations from all fields exploring  Roland Barthes’ oeuvre: the tightrope his writing walks between the forms of the novel and the essay, the evolution of his writing and thinking throughout his life, the engagement of his work with literary or cultural texts, and the relationship of his work to critical theory, as well as to any and all other disciplines. 

Conference Organizers

Claire Sommers 

Alex Wermer-Colan 



Writers’ Institute

Office of the Provost

Doctoral Students’ Council

Center for Humanities

Columbia University Press

English Students’ Association

Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies

**This conference is free and open to the public–no registration required**

For more information, please contact:

Website: Avra Spector

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