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Foucault on the ‘question of the author’: a critical exegesis \ud

By A. Wilson

Abstract

This analysis of Foucault's ‘What is an Author?’ produces three main findings. First, Foucault was arguing—subtly yet powerfully—against Barthes's ‘The Death of the Author’. Second, ‘What is an author?’ systematically mystified the figure of the text, even as it clarified the figure of the author by revealing that figure to be an interpretative construct. Third, Foucault's achievement was vitiated by the terms in which it was cast, for his concept of the ‘author-function’ obliterated the personal quality of the author-figure. It is suggested in conclusion that all such interpretative figures—‘text’ as well as ‘author’, and many others besides—merit critical analysis, since these embody the fore-having which precedes interpretation

Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:4458

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