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Little Narrative and Criticism

In Roland Barthes' influential S/Z, where he develops a way of critical commentary toward a classical literary text. There he introduces a distinction between what he calls 'readerly' and 'writerly' texts. A main idea is that the opposition between the 'plurality' of the writerly texts and the 'singularity' of the readerly. In other words, S/Z provides some new rules for 'doing criticism.' Insofar as Barthes recommends different mode of criticism, the literary 'text' turns into 'lexia' or 'units of reading.' This practice in different modes of criticism in S/Z may be seen as an analogue of Lyotard's ideas concerning the privileged status of little narratives and phrases. Barthes' recognition of the internally status of the sign (which is located in a representational framework) in Balzac's story allows him to display the semiotic instability. Also, Barthes realized that the internal status of sign also functions as the story itself -- "The more plural the text," Barthes claims in , "the less it is written before I read it."

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