To make these parts a bit easier, consider the interesting ideas with particular reference to photography. This is not easy material; be thankful that we can, in fact, skim it. There are useful ideas, though.
Immediately, we are introduced to the Roland Barthes of the biography: “he.” Consider his thoughts on the adjective in relation to photography. For Barthes, an image names him (let us assume, perhaps wrongly, that he is speaking of a photographic image here), and it stands for domination and death (ideas that seem to foreshadow Camera Lucida).
He calls photography an “analogical” art in a rather difficult section. The analogy is in the realm of the imaginary; he likens these things to a mirror (again and again, the truth of the “image” is contested). (44)
He links back to the photos from the start of the book, as he mentions his work spaces: “it is the structure of the space which constitutes its identity.” (46)
An aside: he speaks of God who reverses victories. (47)
An important notion of the doxa: “Public Opinion, the mind of the majority.” (47)
What a great quote: “he imagines, each time he writes something, that he will hurt one of his friends-never the same one: it changes.” (49)
More referring to photographs:“the art of living has no history: it does not evolve: the pleasure which vanishes vanishes for good, there is no substitute for it.” (50)
In his section on Chaplin (on p.54), he mentions the “third term,” something I've written about in the past (in relation to Feist and others).
On pp.55-56, he speaks of recording himself playing the piano, and then listening to it. He then discovers that the past of playing coincides with his present of listening, which results in "commentary [being] abolished." (56) Can the same be said about photography? It seems that he might be suggesting that, just as writing about oneself (committing an "image” to paper) is "suicide," so photography is death.
Another aside: Barthes composed music and suffered from migraines.
His discussions of the degrees of language (first – writing, second – writing about writing) as well as his ruminations concerning his own voice, are particularly worthwhile, though certainly far from the present discussions of photography.
He ends this present section being rather hard on himself, suggesting that he never defines the terms important to him, and that his writing on the "large objects of knowledge" are important to no one. (73-74)
Do not be too concerned if much of this writing is enigmatic. It is difficult writing, and it works really well to read through it a few times, and get what you can from it. Barthes’ writing seems to encourage fragmental understanding (as it is written in fragments anyway). So, be encouraged and continue on. Dialogue is welcome!