Authorship's Wake: Writing After the Death of the Author (Hardcover)
Authorship's Wake examines the aftermath of the 1960s critique of the author, epitomized by Roland Barthes's essay, "The Death of the Author." In assessing a range of responses to this critique - responses that rebuff it, that accept it, and that take it in altogether different directions - Sayers demonstrates that the death of the author has led to a convergence between contemporary literature and critical theory: it has given rise to a body of writing that confounds generic distinctions separating the literary and the theoretical.
The book examines the enduring legacy of the critique of the author as an all-controlling figure determining the meaning of literary texts - a critique that, in turn, participates in the broader poststructuralist interrogation of the rational, autonomous, self-transparent Enlightenment subject. Its archive consists of texts by writers who either directly participated in this critique, as Barthes did, or whose intellectual formation took place in its immediate aftermath. These writers include some who are known primarily as theorists (Judith Butler), others known primarily as novelists (Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace), and yet others whose texts are difficult to categorize (the autofiction of Chris Kraus, Sheila Heti, and Ben Lerner; the autotheory of Maggie Nelson). These writers share not only a central motivating question - how to move beyond the critique of the author-subject - but also a way of answering it: by writing texts that merge theoretical concerns with literary discourse. Authorship's Wake traces the responses their work offers in relation to four themes: communication, intention, agency, and labor.
About the Author
Philip Sayers is an editor, writer, and teacher based in Toronto, Canada. philipsayers.com