In his essay "The Death of the Author" Roland Barthes proclaims his view that due to the large number of textual (and otherwise) forces which influence a text, an individual identity or originality of thought cannot exist. Barthes' describes the process by which identity disappears in the hands of literature:

"We shall never know, for the good reason that writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin. Writing is that neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body writing."

Here Barthes oversimplifies the problem when he notes that writing is separate from the author and separate even from the contexts from which it emerges. He assumes that those gulfs cannot be bridged. In fact, it is up to an active reader--the very type prescribed by hypertext--to reconstruct the author by noting the links between text and author--just as a deconstructionist notes the context, language, history, or otherwise, from which particular words or phrases emerge.

"In complete contrast, the modern scriptor is born simultaneously with the text, is in no way equipped with a being preceding or exceeding the writing, is not the subject with the book as predicated; there is no other time than that of the enunciation and every text is eternally written here and now."
"we know that to give writing its future, it is necessary to overthrow the myth: the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author."

These two passages, both seemingly pointing to the replacement of the reader in the position of power formerly occupied by the author, possess a subtle contradiction by which Barthes' argument begins to break down. If "each and every text is written here and now", how can a reader, who may change her mind, learn new techniques or contexts with regard to a given text, or admit to contradictory readings, exist any more permanently than an author? Might not writer and reader continually recreate, rewrite each other?

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