Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Death of the Author, Roland Barthes 1977

This paragraph may be a bit short, as was the essay. It was an interesting essay, but not one that kept you on the edge of your seat. I will also admit I am writing this review about a month after I read it. Within his essay the author speaks about the weight the authors voice carries within his own work, and quote: "Writing cannot begin until his voice loses its origin." I enjoy this idea, and the realization that when I am reading an article I always try and take into consideration who the person is. In a few of these essays I have read I have also gone back and done research into the author and it immediately curves my opinion, but back to the essay. The author is a rather modern figure showing up in the middles ages, before that many of the authors were anonymous. It is now a challenge to allow the work to speak for itself. This idea is mirrored in the surrealist idea of automatic writing. You have no real control of where your mind is going your just writing. My apologies for skipping around on ideas, but Barthes also mentioned that critics love a solid author. If you know someone and what they believe you can pin them down, the writing has a solid end point. If on the other hand there is no author you have the ability to interpret the piece any way you want depending on the reader because there is no solid truth. I love this idea, that a piece of literature will never lose meaning because for its life it will be continually reinterpreted. Fabulous period. This is an idea that more authors should strive for in their work, the inability to be pinned down. Pick a really ambiguous pen name.

1. Does a work of literature lose its meaning if the author is removed?

2. Are our minds challenged enough without an author because it is open to our own interpretation?

3. Should all authors be required to use a pen name in the observation of equality?

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