This is a comparative study of Benjamin's and Barthes' writings on photography in the context of twentieth-century critical theory. "Benjamin, Barthes and the Singularity of Photography" presents two of the most important literary and cultural critics of the twentieth century from a new comparative perspective. Pursuing unexplored aspects of Benjamin's and Barthes' engagement with photography, it sheds new light on familiar texts and analyzes works which have only recently become available. It argues that despite the different historical, philosophical, and cultural contexts of their work, Benjamin and Barthes engage with similar questions and problems that photography uniquely poses: including the complex interrelationship between the photograph and its beholder as a confrontation between self and other, and the relation between time, subjectivity and memory. Benjamin and Barthes each emphasize the singular event of the photograph's creation and apprehension as key to understanding the power and poignancy of photographic images. Mapping the complex conceptual and historical relationship between the photographic image and writing about it, this book will be of considerable interest not only to historians and theorists of photography but also to scholars working in literary and cultural studies.