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Barthes and Antonioni in China: the Muffling of Criticism

O'Meara, Lucy (2016) Barthes and Antonioni in China: the Muffling of Criticism. Textual Practice, 30 (2). pp. 267-286. ISSN 0950-236X. (doi:10.1080/0950236X.2016.1129729) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://doi.org/10.1080/0950236X.2016.1129729

Abstract

This article examines Michelangelo Antonioni’s documentary film Chung Kuo – Cina (1972) alongside the texts written by Roland Barthes during and after his trip to China with the Tel Quel group in 1974. Antonioni and the Tel Quel travellers had very similar experiences in China: their itinerary was tightly controlled and they were supervised at all times by Communist party officials while visiting officially sanctioned sights. The article will argue that Barthes’s China writings are strongly influenced by Antonioni’s film, and mount a very similar form of oblique critique of the Maoist state. However, it will be seen that there is a disjuncture between Barthes’s published text on the China trip (‘Alors, la Chine?’, published in Le Monde after his return from China) and the recent, posthumously published notebooks and teaching notes on China (Carnets du voyage en Chine [Travels in China] and the 1974 ‘Account of the trip to China’). The posthumous texts articulate a strong ideological critique of the Maoist state which Barthes does not allow to filter through to ‘Alors, la Chine?’ This muffling of criticism is in part due to the self-censorship implied by Barthes’s enmeshing of his public persona, as well as his private friendships, with the Tel Quel project.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/0950236X.2016.1129729
Uncontrolled keywords: Roland Barthes, Michelagelo Antonioni, China, Western attitudes to Maoism in 1970s
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > French
Depositing User: Jacqui Martlew
Date Deposited: 18 May 2016 13:51 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:21 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/55451 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
O'Meara, Lucy: https://orcid.org/orcid.org/0000-0001-8719-4888
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