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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

From Work to Text and Death of the Author

Annie Isabel Jaison
13/12/2013, Friday
From Work to Text and Death of the Author

·         From Work to Text and Death of the Author are two of Roland Barthes' most important works. A text is an 'object of study' according to Barthes.
·          A text is called so because it is woven from the material available, i.e. words. In a text, the words are being stitched and unstitched constantly.  In the essay 'From Work to Text', Barthes juxtaposes the making of a text to the making of a work. Work has an author and text has a scribe. (The word 'scribe' emerged from 'script' which emerged from 'scripture'. 'Scribe' means 'one who writes).
·         Barthes is of the opinion that an author's words are never his own. His work is inspired by a muse.
·         He gives us an idea of the movement of a text to a work - there is no place for the author, in his place the reader is born. We never know what the author meant while creating his 'work', we only know what various readers have interpreted.
·         Here, Barthes is not denying the existence of the author. He is saying that it is not just the author that is creating a work- the language is not his, the ideas are not his- he is just stitching the ideas and words together.
·          In a way he is just a mediator who merges ideas and language together presents it before the readers. This is where the concept of 'Death of the Author' emerges.
·          As text started travelling out of the culture it was written for, it was interpreted even more vividly by a vast number if readers, thus backing the idea of 'Death of the Author'.
1.      Roland Barthes, Death of the Author (1968)
2.      Roland Barthes, From Work to Text (1971)


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