Like fashion, of which it is certainly an example, semiology, too, might be characterized as a novel in which nothing happens. It also resembles a kind of machine for maintaining meaning without ever fixing it. Like the subject of this book, Mr. Barthes is so rapt in his analysis, that we can hardly recognize him. It is as if “The Fashion System” was an immense and melancholy pun on his situation as a writer at that time.

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