Roland Barthes's incisive criticism stands as a major contribution to literary theory, to the semiotics of culture, and to contemporary conceptions of the image – still and moving. His work spans a wide variety of topics (including literature, photography, film, mythology, fashion, advertising, conversation, sport, love, and himself), propelling semiotics, anthropology, psychoanalysis, and post-structuralism towards an incisive and eloquent reflection. Although Barthes did not develop an explicit theory of the imaginary, the relationship of texts and images, the symbolic and the imaginary, are among his constant concerns. Are images 'just another type of text', or is there an independent sphere of the imaginary which escapes structural, or even cultural analysis? This question will be among the guiding themes of the seminar. All principal readings are in English.