Shunning the Human Person: A Response to Roland Barthes's The Death of the Author

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Martin Klekner

English and American Studies

Course: English Skills and Cultural Communication

Time: Wednesday, 19.10 – 20.40, P001

Lecturer: Stephan Delbos

Shunning the “Human Person”:  A Response to Roland Barthes's “The Death of the Author”

        There is a difference between offering a valuable opinion and imposing a new “universal truth”. If Roland Barthes in his essay “The Death of the Author” did the former, his text would  probably have more meaning than in its current form. He asks a question “Who is speaking [in a literary work]?” and answers it: “We shall never know, for the good reason that writing is the

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destruction of every voice, of every point of origin.“ The implications are obvious and maybe even shocking. Barthes basically declares that the literary author is not important, that the text is the only thing that matters - and he expects the world to tremble. He presents his opinion as a single valid answer and completely ignores the real world reality.

        The essay reminds us that the “author” is an invention of modern times, of the focus on the “human person” and it goes on about this as if it were a bad thing. This is the problem. This topic is ...

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