Author Roland Barthes Essay

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Like Foucault’s work, Barthes’s essay aims to remove the author from his privileged position with respect to the interpretation of texts; instead, Barthes places full responsibility and interpretive authority on the shoulders of the reader.

Barthes’s work shares much in common with the ideas of the “Yale school” of deconstructionist critics, which numbered among its proponents Paul de Man, Harold Bloom, and Geoffrey Hartman in the 1970s.

He is opposing a view of texts as expressing a distinct personality of the author.

Barthes vehemently opposes the view that authors consciously create masterpieces.

Alternative readings of Barthes’s essay – such as the idea that the essay is really a satire upon the very notions he “advocates” in the text (i.e., that “Death of the Author” actually defends traditional notions of authorship) – remain in the critical minority.

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Nevertheless, the crucial New Critical precept of the “Intentional Fallacy” declares that a poem does not belong to its author; rather, “it is detached from the author at birth and goes about the world beyond his power to intend about it or control it.

The poem belongs to the public.” William Wimsatt and Monroe C. Revised and republished in The Verbal Icon: Studies in the Meaning of Poetry, U of Kentucky P, 1954: 3-18.) From the perspective of authorship, Barthes’s “Death of the Author” concept breaks little new ground in denying the possibility of any stable, collectively agreed-upon readings.

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Death of the Author Many of Barthes’s works focus on literature.

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