Michel Foucault. "What Is an Author?"
In What is an Author, Michel Foucault talks about the relationship between author and text. He focuses on the manner in which the text points to the author. He tries to identify the author in terms of how an author exists. The attention is not on historically or socially based definition. Foucault accepts that the author is dead and the text begins to appear more as a "game" of language. Foucault goes to questions like: “What constitutes an author's work?”, “What should be excluded or included” and “at what point does a person begin to function as an author?”
Foucault introduces two rules. First: that the writing has freed itself from the breadth of expression because it only refers to itself. He uses the game‐metaphor to explain this idea: ”Writing unfolds in the same manner, in which a game unfolds, by braking through its own set of rules by disappearing while creating space through writing.”
The second rule is a relationship between the writer and death. he says the idea of perpetuating or postponing death in the case of the Greek epic and the Arabian tales were metaphosed by the Western society. That the writer sacrifices his existence.
Foucault questions: “What is the idea of work, or what elements a work is composed of are key questions that are difficult to determine” n he tries to establish a rule that would meet the requirements of a work. Taking into consideration all written forms, then, it is difficult to determine whether writings such as drafts, addresses, etc. are works.
Then Foucault points out that the author’s proper name equals a description. He says that potential readers of a text find themselves biased towards a literary work when reading the author’s name on the cover.
Roland Barthes, “The death of the author”
In “The Death of the Author” Barthes talks about the power the writer has on the process of reading. How reader can be affected by the writer and analyzes the text. He thinks the text’s background should be ignored and the attention should be on the text itself. He thinks: “The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.” Which to some extant I agree. The reader should keep a distance from writer to read and understand the text independently and without any bias.
He then argues that the text is derivate from other works due to the “innumerable centers of culture”. He thinks the author is merely a way through which a story is told. They don’t create a story but they just simply retell stories that have been told before. We can say there are no original thought. They are all a combination of old thoughts.
Then Barthes argues that if everyone read the text and understand it through the lenses of the writer, then they would gain no benefit from the text. Reading the text associated with the writer, makes the process of reading limited. It means instead of finding the meaning of the text according to their own lives, experiences and feelings, they would try to understand what the writer meant.
Barthes claims that it is the status of the reader that should be elevated, not the status of the Author. If the reader gains something from the text it’s not that the writer is intelligent, but it’s the insightful interpretation of the reader. He says since people have unique and different experiences, so there are so many ways of interpreting a single text.
For the independent thinking of readers and the growth of their skills of interpretation the death of the Author is necessary, in most cases but not all. in some cases the presence of the Author is needed for the reader to achieve a greater understanding of what is being read.
When Barthes says “the birth of the reader must come at the cost of the death of the Author,” it seems that he is not that realistic that he should be. If the only important thing is the interpretation of the reader, then he is right. Writer has no power then. But really is it possible to say that the author should completely be death?
اسکندر به ایران حمله کرد
نادر فاتح هند شد
عربها دمار از روزگار ما درآوردند
کورش بابِل را گرفت
من فقط تو را دارم
تمام شهرهای دنیا را
یکی پس از دیگری
در آغوش تو فتح کنم
بی جنگ و خونریزی
صبحش در کافه
یک لقمه نان
یک جرعه چای
با نگاهم مزه مزهات کنم باز
دستم را بگیر
فاتحانه شهر را از پا درآوریم
به نگاه شهروندان سر تکان دهیم
و با آنها عکس یادگاری بگیریم.