Mourning Diary

Roland Barthes; Translated from the French and with an afterword by Richard Howard

Hill and Wang

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“In the sentence ‘She’s no longer suffering,’ to what, to whom does ‘she’ refer? What does that present tense mean?” —Roland Barthes, from his diary

The day after his mother’s death in October 1977, Roland Barthes began a diary of mourning. For nearly two years, the legendary French theorist wrote about a solitude new to him; about the ebb and flow of sadness; about the slow pace of mourning, and life reclaimed through writing. Named a Top 10 Book of 2010 by The New York Times and one of the Best Books of 2010 by Slate and The Times Literary Supplement, Mourning Diary is a major discovery in Roland Barthes’s work: a skeleton key to the themes he tackled throughout his life, as well as a unique study of grief—intimate, deeply moving, and universal.


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Book Excerpts

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MOURNING DIARY
October 26, 1977–June 21, 1978
  October 26, 1977
First wedding night.But first mourning night?  October 27
—You have never known a Woman’s body!—I have known the body of my mother, sick and then dying.  October 27
Every morning, around 6:30, in the darkness outside, the metallic racket of the garbage cans.She would say with relief: the night is finally over (she suffered during the night, alone, a cruel business).  As soon as someone dies, frenzied construction of the future (shifting furniture, etc.

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Reviews

Praise for Mourning Diary

“A revelation to readers of the great Barthes.” —Judith Thurman, The New Yorker podcast

“This book’s unvarnished quality is the source of its wrecking cumulative power. Barthes’s ironic intellect is here wrapped around his nakedly beating heart.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Precise and touching memories intersect with spare and at times desperate notes on time, death and grief, written despite ‘the fear of making literature out of it.’” —Julian Barnes, The Times Literary Supplement

“A collection of aphorisms, sadnesses, self-analysis: a journal of savage intimacy.” —Adam Thirlwell, The New Republic

“A beautiful, lapidary portrait of mourning.” —Meghan O’Rourke, Slate


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About the Author

Roland Barthes; Translated from the French and with an afterword by Richard Howard

Roland Barthes was born in 1915. A French literary theorist, philosopher, and critic, he influenced the development of various schools of theory, including structuralism, semiotics, existentialism, social theory, Marxism, and post-structuralism. He died in 1980.

Roland Barthes

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Available Formats and Book Details

Mourning Diary
Roland Barthes; Translated from the French and with an afterword by Richard Howard

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hill and Wang
March 2012
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374533113
ISBN10: 0374533113
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 272 pages, 8 Pages of Black-and-White Illustrations
$15.00

Hardcover

Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hill and Wang
October 2010
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780809062331
ISBN10: 080906233X
5 x 7 1/2 inches, 272 pages, 8 Pages of Black-and-White Illustrations
$25.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hill and Wang
October 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429977074
ISBN10: 1429977078
272 pages
$9.99
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Hill and Wang

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