Roland Barthes: “The Death of the Author”
The discussion that follows will be based on Stephen Heath’s French-to-English translation of Barthes work from the compilation of essays, ‘Image – Music – Text’, translated and compiled in 1977 (three years before Roland Barthes’ death).
The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes - Goodreads
French literary theorist Roland Barthes argues that the function of an author is to provide the semblance of originality and meaning in The Death of the Author.
They read "The Death of the Author" as a work that obliterates not only stable critical interpretation but also stable personal identity. Michel Foucault also addressed the question of the author in critical interpretation. In his 1. 96. 9 essay "What is an Author?", he developed the idea of "author function" to explain the author as a classifying principle within a particular discursive formation. Foucault did not mention Barthes in his essay but its analysis has been seen as a challenge to Barthes' depiction of a historical progression that will liberate the reader from domination by the author. Some scholars have rejected Barthes's argument in toto. Camille Paglia, for example, wrote: "Most pernicious of French imports [into American academia] is the notion that there is no person behind a text. Is there anything more affected, aggressive, and relentlessly concrete than a Parisian intellectual behind his/her turgid text?