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Roland Barthes was one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century, but why should the reader of today, or tomorrow, be concerned with him? Martin McQuillan provides a fresh perspective on Barthes, addressing his political and institutional inheritance and considering his work as the origins of a critical cultural studies. This stimulating study: * provides a biographical consideration of Barthes' writing * offers an extended reading of his 1957 text Mythologies as a text for our own time, drawing Barthes' work into a historical relation to the present * examines his connection to what we call cultural studies * features an annotated bibliography of Barthes' published work. Thought-provoking and insightful, Roland Barthes is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the writings of this key theorist and his continuing relevance in our post-9/11 world.