Death of an Author

Death of an Author

  • Submitted By: tglynn
  • Date Submitted: 03/20/2009 8:06 AM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1818
  • Page: 8
  • Views: 1364

Q. “To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text . . . to close the writing” (Roland Barthes, ‘The Death of the Author). Write an essay either agreeing or disagreeing with Roland Barthes’ argument in his essay ‘The death of the Author’. Support your answer with reference to any poem not on the Leaving Cert or First Year English course.

‘The removal of the Author is not merely an historical fact or an act of writing; it utterly transforms the modern text’ Roland Barthes (The Death of the Author).

Roland Barthes’ essay ‘The Death of the Author’, is an extremely thought provoking text. In his essay, Barthes criticizes the reader’s tendency to consider aspects of the author’s identity ' his personal views, historical context, religion ethnicity, psychology, or other biographical or personal attributes ' to distil meaning from his work. ‘To give a text an Author’ and to assign a single, corresponding interpretation of it, ‘is to impose a limit on that text’, Barthes’ theory was that in order to liberate a text and allow it be subject to an array of contexts and meanings then it must first be separated from its author, ‘Text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture’, rather than from one, individual experience. The essential meanings of a work depends on the ‘passions’, or ‘tastes’, of the writer, ‘a text’s unity lies not in its origins’, or its creator, ‘but in its destination or its audience.

I agree with some aspects of Barthes’ theory, but I do disagree in some ways, as I believe a text originates from its author, in a way it is part of them, their creation. It’s a personal script crafted from their emotions and past experiences. Barthes states, ‘the modern scripter is born simultaneously with the text, is in no way equipped with a being preceding or exceeding the writing, is not subject with the book as predicate; there is no other time than that of the enunciation and every text is eternally...

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