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Barthes and the Lessons of Ancient Philosophy

O'Meara, Lucy (2020) Barthes and the Lessons of Ancient Philosophy. In: Knight, Diana, ed. Interdisciplinary Barthes. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 135-151. ISBN 978-0-19-726667-0. (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) (KAR id:83164)

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)
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Abstract

Roland Barthes was a classicist by training; his work frequently alludes to the classical literary canon and the ancient art of rhetoric. This chapter argues that ancient Greco-Roman philosophy permits insights into Barthes’s very late work, particularly when we understand ancient philosophy not as an academic discipline, but as a mode of thought which prioritises an art of living. This chapter will focus on Barthes’s posthumously published Collège de France lecture notes (1977–80) and on other posthumous diary material, arguing that this work can be seen as part of a tradition of thought which has its roots in the ethics and care of the self proposed by ancient Greco-Roman philosophical thought. The chapter uses the work of the historian of ancient philosophy, Pierre Hadot, to set Barthes’s teaching in dialogue with Stoic and Epicurean thought, and subsequently refers to Stanley Cavell’s work on ‘moral perfectionism’ to demonstrate how Barthes’s final lecture courses, and the associated Vita Nova project, can be seen as efforts by Barthes to transform his ‘intelligibility’. Barthes’s late moral perfectionism, and the individualism of his teaching, corresponds to the ancient philosophical ethical imperative to think one’s way of life differently and thereby to transform one’s self.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Lucy O'Meara
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2020 14:24 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2020 08:45 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/83164 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
O'Meara, Lucy: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8719-4888
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