Michel Foucault 1926-1984


In "What is an Author?" Foucault separates the ontologies of man and author via the category of the 'author-function'. He interprets the expanded sense of authorship from the late eighteenth century onwards in terms of discursive ownership. In analysing authorship as a discursive function, Foucault reduces the ontological significance of authorship while enlarging it textual remit. The separation of author and biographical subject thereby identifies a space of authorship which exceeds the empirical presence or history of its signatory.
"Íthe name of the author remains at the contours of texts-separating one from another, defining their form, and characterizing their mode of existence. It points to the existence of certain groups of discourse and refers to the status of this discourse within a society and culture. The author's name is not a function of a man's civil status, nor is it fictional; it is situated in the breach, among the discontinuities, which give rise to new groups of discourse and their singular mode of existence."

—from "What is an Author"