Roland Barthes is best known as a semiologist, a student of the science of signs. This sees human beings primarily as communicating animals. It looks at the way they use language, clothes, gestures, hair styles, visual images, shapes and colour to convey to one another their tastes, their emotions, their ideal self-image and the values of their society. Philip Thody and Ann Course elucidate Barthes' application of these ideas to literature, popular culture, clothes and fashion. They further clarify why his thinking in this area made him a key figure in the structuralist movement of the 1960s. Introducing Barthes describes how Barthes' insistence on pleasure, the delights of sexual non-conformity and the freedom of the reader to make use of existentialist, Marxist, Freudian and structuralist interpretations of literary texts continue to make him one of the most challenging of modern writers.