ROLAND BARTHES was a French literary theorist, essayist, philosopher, critic, and semiotician born on this date (d: 1980); Barthes’ ideas explored a diverse range of fields and he influenced the development of many schools of theory, including structuralism, semiotics, social theory, design theory, anthropology and post-structuralism. He was particularly known for developing and extending the field of semiotics through the analysis of a variety of sign systems, mainly derived from Western popular culture.
During his academic career he was primarily associated with the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the Collège de France.
Barthes identified as a gay man, but – despite writing an autobiography – left little detail about his personal life or his encounters with men.
On February 25, 1980, Roland Barthes was knocked down by a laundry van while walking home through the streets of Paris. One month later, on 26 March, he died from the chest injuries he sustained in the accident.