Description Degree Zero and the Un-Reality Effect: Roland Barthes on Description

Z. Varga, Zoltán (2019) Description Degree Zero and the Un-Reality Effect: Roland Barthes on Description. PRIMERJALNA KNJIZEVNOST, 42 (2). pp. 91-104. ISSN 0351-1189


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In his work, Roland Barthes raises the issue of description several times in a context that appears to be connected to the equally recurrent theme of the resistance to meaning. Barthes explored the function of description in two major fields of study: the field of fictional narratives and the field of visual signs. My paper focuses on the former in order to trace Barthes's theoretically divergent accounts regarding description's function and the presence of insignificant detail in narrative texts. Firstly, I analyze how Barthes attributed an ideology-critical function to description and the superfluous detail in critical debates that took place in the 1950s in connection to the French Nouveau Roman. Following this, my study focuses on the new position occupied by description in Barthes's structural narrative theory. In the last section of the paper, the notion of reality effect, more precisely the way in which Barthes transforms and redefines the function of seemingly insignificant details in a narrative as operators for the autonomy of textual signifiers is examined.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Description; narratology; narrative structure; insignificant details; ideological criticism; reality effect; cultural semiotics;
Subjects: P Language and Literature / nyelvészet és irodalom > P0 Philology. Linguistics / filológia, nyelvészet
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2019 14:02
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2019 14:02

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