Foucault 's The Death Of The Author Essay

Foucault 's The Death Of The Author Essay

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Foucault 's essay “What is an author” explores the relationship between author, text, and reader. Foucaults essay seems to be an implicit response to Barthes 's famous essay "The Death of the Author." as Foucault argues that the issue of the disappearance or death of the author has not been developed sufficiently, and needs further consideration, beginning with the clarification of what constitutes a “work.” Foucault wants to discuss the relationship between an author and a text, and the manner in which the text points to the author as a figure who is outside the text, and who precedes it. Foucault draws upon the function of the author to provide a discourse of the difference between an author and a writer, and whether or not such a characterisation matters.

Main point 1: “First, we need to clarify briefly the problems arising from the use of the author 's name. What is an author 's name? How does it function? Far from offering a solution, I shall only indicate some of the difficulties that it presents. The proper name and the author 's name are situated between the two poles of description and designation: they must have a certain link with what they name, but one that is neither entirely in the mode of designation nor in that of description; it must be a specific link. However and it is here that the particular difficulties of the author 's name arise - the links between the proper name and the individual named and between the author 's name and what it names are not isomorphic and do not function in the same way.”

To understand the work: “analyze the work through its structure, its architecture, its intrinsic form, and the play of its internal relationships”. “Even when an individual has been accepted as an author, we must ...


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... Traditionally, death was a guarantee to immortality (e.g. the Greek narratives where by death, the hero gains immortality. Contemporarily, this notion has been altered, and writing is now linked to sacrifice. The narrator is used to forestall death. Where work had the duty of creating immortality, it now had the right to kill its author. After writing, the author is dead, but through the text, the author lives. The author becomes a victim of his own writing, and through his absence, his presence is guaranteed.

Furthermore, Foucault raises an important issue regarding the authenticity and role of that individual. More than that, he introduces a theoretical and technical problem concerning the constitution of a work itself. “even when an individual is accepted as an author, we must still ask whether everything that he wrote, said, or left behind is part of his work”

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