barthesThe starting point of these reflections was usually a feeling of impatience with the

"naturalness" which common sense, the press, and the arts continually invoke to

dress up a reality which, though the one we live in, is nonetheless quite historical:

in a word, I resented seeing Nature and History repeatedly confused in the

description of our reality, and I wanted to expose in the decorative display of

what-goes-without-saying the ideological abuse I believed was hidden there.

                        --Barthes, Mythologies, Preface to 1957 Edition



This book has two determinants: on the one hand, an ideological critique of the

language of so-called mass culture; on the other, an initial semiological

dismantling of that language: I had just read Saussure and emerged with the

conviction that by treating "collective representations" as sign systems one

might hope to transcend pious denunciation and instead account in detail for

the mystification which transforms petit bourgeois culture into a universal nature.

                        --Barthes, Mythologies, Preface to 1970 Edition