The Phantom Walking the Text: The Death of the Author Reconsidered.

Sten Moslund


The author was killed by Roland Barthes in 1968 in the essay "The Death of the Author". This was an act of euthanasia, forming part of a larger poststructuralist project of putting down obdurate rhetorical practices in literature, where the endorsement of myths like authenticity, the representational value of language, the idea of the final analysis, according to Barthes, had unreasonably governed the ways in which literature was written, read and understood. The author figured as a mark of power, as the authority of a closed sign-system, dictating, or centralising, the ways in which a text must be read. With the author over and done with and the general rhetorical ploys of narration demasked, stripping language to represent nothing but itself, the stage was set for a new understanding (and practice) of literature as a particularly decentred and liberating zone that would seize on any form of power discourse - history, anthropology, politics, religion, etc - still abusing the powers of deception in language in the interest of the speaker. 

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ISSN 1749-9771

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