September 5, 2012

Death of the Author/Writer?

The discussion of Barthes' "Death of the Author" on friday was centered around what this metaphoric death symbolizes. The working definition I understood was that death, in an writing context, embodies the loss of authorial identity, a removal from one's work and original intent once text is codified. Barthes presentes the idea that once ideas are written, the author no longer maintains control of their intent; ultimately, once writing occurs, the reader is now in control of the message received. This conception of writing brought about a discussion concerning co-meaning, the idea that both writer and reader create a collective meaning of a text, rather than writing being purely a means of communication/transmission. Who agrees with this concept? Personally I feel that writing, if done correctly, does not "kill the author." Rather, writing creates a separate identity, one which a reader can confirm, deny, or contemplate. Is the reader really creating a new, collective meaning, or just reacting to the identity a writer creates?


KatieA said...

I mostly disagree with the concept Barthes includes in his essay. I think that the author plays an important role in the interpretation of a text by the reader. I think that the balance of the author's influence and the reader's interpretation are important roles in what makes a text original and unique.

Adam Schwartz said...

I think that Barthes is saying that the author is dead and the reader is born because there is no original thought being proclaimed anymore. He feels that everything we write has already been read, which makes every writer a reader. I do not agree with his statements to a certain extent. I mean sure most of the books or theories being written are not that original, but you can not say that a whole novel is not original if it uses a theme that has already been done. I mean look at movies for example. Quentin Tarantino's whole catalog can be considered unoriginal if you go scene by scene and see that he has watched countless amounts of movies that influenced his own. I personally have never seen a film like Pulp Fiction before he made it, but if Roland Barthes saw it he would say that the movie is not the work of the author, Quentin, and more the work of the reader, Quentin, since he used a gangster/ blackploitation films as his jumping off point.

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