The Author Function


1.Authors have a duty over their property much like an dog-owner is responsible for his dog. Thus if the dog bites, the dog owner will be blamed. Similarly, authors are objects of appropriation so that the authorities have someone to point a finger to when things said or written has detrimental effects. Their intellectual property also gives rise to issues of copyrights and plagarism.


2. The author function has changed with regard to the content of the work. There was a time when literary work was accepted and read for what it is, without need of a knowledge of who the author was. Then there was another time when the value of a scientific work was based on the value of the author. The author function was ìan index of truthfulnessî Today, ìliterary works are totally dominated by the sovereignty of the authorî So basically what youíre reading has no value because I am not an author. Is it?


3. This author function is also our construction of who the author is based on what works of the author we have read.  If we found a poem on the wonderful nature of a government at that time penned by Shelley, we will immediately reject that poem as not being Shelleyís. Thus we have our own projections on the author.

  Yet, at the same time, the author determines the value of his work. For example, in olden day, the value of a religious text was based on the holiness of the author. If this author was gay, itís almost certain the text will never be accepted into religious circles no matter how good it was.


 4. An author can refer to more than one individual. This is known as the plurality of egos. For example, I in Foucaultís works can be Foucault the homosexual, Foucault the Frenchman, Foucault the philosopher or whatever else he came to represent.

The author function "does not refer purely and simply to a real individual, since it can give rise simultaneously to several different selves, to several subjects--positions that can be occupied by different classes of individuals."