What is an Author? An Essay Exploring The Definition Of The Role Of The Author In Postmodern Culture

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Roland Barthes: The Death of the Author
Michel Foucault: What is an Author?
Comparative Analysis
Challenge for the Role of the Author in Postmodernism
This paper discusses the challenges to the role of the author in postmodernism through a comparative analysis of Roland Barthes’ essay The Death of the Author and Michel Foucault’s essay What is an Author? Both critics, Barthes and Foucault, have examined the role and relevance of authorship to the meaning or interpretation of a text.
Roland Barthes (1915 – 1980) was one of the earliest French structuralist or poststructuralist theorists of culture. This paper will explore Barthes philosophy about the death of the author and his opinion that writing destroys every voice and point of origin.
Michel Foucault (1926–1984) was a French historian and philosopher, associated with the structuralist and post-structuralist movements. Michel Foucault’s What is an Author? examines the notion of the “author” in literature, investigating the relationship between the author and the text as both a response to Barthes and a rejection of his thesis of the death of the author.
The paper is divided into 4 parts.

  • Section 1 begins by analyzing Roland Barthes’ essay The Death of the Author.
  • Section 2 then moves on to analyze Michael Foucault´s essay What is an Author?
  • Section 3 provides a comparative analysis of both essays. My frame of reference will focus on Barthes’ and Foucault’s reaction of the critique of the traditional science in France during the 1960s.
  • Finally Section 4 goes on to discuss the challenges to the role of the author in postmodernism through Foucault’s visions and development from 1969….

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