Word on the author

Word on the author


While at this point in time, this web deals primarily with the development of the concept of the hypertextual reader, here are a few quotes that pertain to the author which may help conceptualize reader and hopefully will be developed into a coherent argument at a later time:

from Authors and Writers
The author performs a function, the writer an activity÷every author is eventually digested by the literary institution, unless he scuttles himself, i.e., unless he ceases to identify his being with that of language: this is why so few authors renounce writing, for that is literally to kill themselves, to die to the being they have chosen; and if there are such authors, their silence echoes like an inexplicable conversion -- (Barthes, 186-89)

from What is an author?
It is obviously insufficient to repeat empty slogans: the author has disappeared; God and man died a common death. Rather, we should reexamine the empty space left by the author's disappearance; we should attentively observe, along its gaps and fault lines, its new demarcations, and the reapportionment of this void; we should await the fluid functions released by this disappearance. - - (Foucault, 121)

from The Death of the Author
The author is a modern character, no doubt produced by our society as it emerged from the Middle Ages, inflected by English empiricism, French rationalism, and the personal faith of the Reformation, thereby discovering the prestige of the individual, or, as we say more nobly, of the "human person." Hence, it is logical that in literary matters it should be positivism, crown and conclusion of capitalist ideology, which has granted the greatest importance to the author's "person." The author still reigns in manuals of literary history, in biographies of writers, magazine interviews, and in the very consciousness of litterateurs eager to unite, by means of private journals, their person and their work; the image of literature to be found in contemporary culture is tyrannically centered on the author, his person, his history, his tastes, his passions; criticism still largely consists of saying that Baudelaire's ouevre is the failure of the man Baudelaire, VanGogh's is his madness, Tchaikovsky's his vice: explanation of the work is still sought in the person of its producer, as if, through the more or less transparent allegory of fiction, it was always, ultimately, the voice of one and the same person, the author, which was transmitting his "confidences." -- (Barthes, 55)