Julian Barnes’s Flaubert’s Parrot and the Writerly Text

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Language and Literature, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran.

2 PhD candidate of English Literature, Tehran, North Branch, Islamic Azad university, Tehran, Iran.


This paper examines Julian Barnes’s Flaubert’s Parrot by the five semiotic codes of the French literary critic Roland Barthes introduced in his renowned work S/Z, to show that the novel is a ‘writerly’ rather than a ‘readerly’ text. The paper defines what Barthes means by the text of the writerly and then attempts to see if the selected novel yields to this sort of interpretation. Since the novel has been categorized as both modernist and postmodernist by prominent literary critics, it can be a proper case to be examined as a writerly text. The paper shows that the codes of semantic, symbolic and cultural which produce the writerly text are at work in this novel whereas the codes of the hermeneutic and proairetic which are concerned with the conventional realist novels are marginalized or even absent. The article examines the writerly text makers of the author role, the theme of biography, the notion of literary criticism and the narration of the novel, referring to the codes creating the writerly text. The paper finally concludes that the semiotic sophistication and innovations in the narrative act of the novel stem from the categories discussed in the essay, ending in the construction of a highly sophisticated writerly text.


Main Subjects

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