'The death of Henriette Binger (b. 1893) happened back in 1977. She was no writer but the mother of one, Roland Barthes, whose Mourning Diary has now emerged into print. 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
Roland Barthes was born in Cherbourg in 1915, and studied French Literature and Classics at the University of Paris. After teaching French at universities in Romania and Egypt, he joined the CNRS in Paris, where he devoted himself to research in sociology and lexicology. His essays and lectures influenced a variety of disciplines, but their brilliance 'has a wave-length all of its own' (John Updike). He was a professor at the College de France until his death in 1980. He is the author of Camera Lucida, Mythologies and A Lover's Discourse.