‘Death of the Author’ Analysis
Roland Barthes is a French literary philosopher born in 1915. In one of his theories ‘Death of the author’ he argues that by “giving a text an author is to impose a limit on that text”. He claims that having knowledge of the author’s background and purpose for the text restricts the readers imaginative license to build their own interpretations, and that the author and text are completely unrelated. Barthes declares, "The death of the author is the birth of the reader." Instead, he calls the author a ‘scriptor’, to draw away from the thinking that the author and his/her single experience is in control over the text. In this way, he makes a point that no writing is original, and is created based on the multiple cultures, societies, environments at that time. A scriptor would only put together past texts and experiences in a different way. But in saying this, Barthes discredits the author’s uniqueness and imagination in his own literature. I believe that to ‘give a text an author’ can affect or change the whole meaning behind the story; character, setting, theme etc for the better. Also, by introducing the author, the reader can begin to combine ideas about culture and place associated with the author’s background. This in turn extends the limitations to a text, and allows for more freedom, contrary to Barthes’s claim. However, the theory is both true and false at different levels of author exposure. Having just enough knowledge about the author will help readers in their understanding of the text and even reveal new ideas, while having too much author purpose forced onto a text causes readers to all share one interpretation. The theory is also dependant on who the author is and what the text is about. So in short; it is subjective. Barthes statement comes under subjection to the different categories of a text: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, history etc each can be argued for or against Barthes theory. Even the genres of a...
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