On the ways the corpse of the author is being bent out of shape
I'm sure the answer to this is "it depends"... But do you think this discourse is still happening with the same degree of vigor offline? I asked this because in my last few semesters of teaching undergrads at SLC, I've been surprised how open to transgressive and morally un-edifying work the students have been, both in their own fiction and in their reactions to published work and the writing of their classmates. One of them even said something about a this-teaches-the-wrong-message critique of Twilight being "so 2007" in a recent conversation (which, although I am not a fan of the Twilight books, filled me with something resembling hope). Obviously my sample size here is vanishingly small but I feel like a lot of the young people who are serious about writing are not participating in Twitter or Twitter clone discourse around literature that was so dominant a decade or less ago... Or if they are participating in it, they consider it a bit of a joke.
I feel posting this here is obligatory.
The Barthes essay is always so interesting to re-read, thank you for providing the link. The part I had forgotten was how he linked the author's death with the end of thinking of a book as something that comes "after" a life - but that way of thinking is still present everywhere when people talk about books. (One look at BookTok is enough - if there's a counterforce to the death of the author, it seems like it's "telling my story".) It's weird that of all Barthes' different futuristic promises - all texts will be writerly texts, everything will just become a flow of signs - this is the one that's caught on.
Also: both here and in S/Z, Barthes uses a trans woman as his key metaphor for textual coding and decoding. I don't know what to make of that, but it is interesting.
I'll be perfectly frank. Roland Barthes' Death of the Author has no intellectual value. It is deceptively written. I see no reason to replace the word "author" with the word "scriptor".
The Art of Death, and NO punches pulled
Thank you for sharing this. It's incredibly interesting. I particularly love your take on the "Undeath of the Author." It reminds me of Margaret Atwood's answers to anyone asking if the Handmaid's Tale is a feminist novel.
Having to guard our work from bad interpretations terrifies me though.
PS, I absolutely loved Tiny Nightmares. It's constantly on my nightstand.
"If you’re always guarding against your worst reader, you’ll never create work that appeals to your best reader."
Unless your best readers already know your worst readers.
Also, it’s a funny thing about Barthes — he IS dead.
I had this in mind as a point of my novella "Bomb Cyclone and its Effects on Harvard" on the point of "narration."