The Death of the Author
As everybody knows, Nietzsche announced long ago that “God is dead.” Or more accurately, he wrote the parable of the madman, who was the first to realize that God was dead. As Nietzsche’s madman tried to spread his message, he was thrown out of countless churches and each time he responded stubbornly, “What are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchres of God?”
Nearly a century later, Roland Barthes declared the death of the author. The connection to Nietzsche was clear implicitly, but it was also made explicit when Barthes spoke of the Author-God: the intelligent designer of the text who imbues it with order and meaning, and to whom all criticism and interpretation must ultimately be addressed. The Author-God is dead, and he’s been replaced:
We know now that a text is not a line of words releasing a single ‘theological’ meaning (the ‘message’ of the Author-God) but a...
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