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Bring out the main ideas in Roland Barthes's essay "The Death of the Author."

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raziawani | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 11, 2011 at 12:26 AM via web

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Bring out the main ideas in Roland Barthes's essay "The Death of the Author."

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lprono | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted January 11, 2011 at 3:53 AM (Answer #1)

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In his influential essay "The Death of the Author", Barthes challenges criticism that aims to reconstruct the author's intentions when writing literature. In this way, Barthes claims, we pursue the voice of a single person, while literary texts are always and unavoidably plural. They are made of a myriad of voices which cannot be reduced to a single point of view. Thus, reading should not try and reconstruct the orignal meaning of a text, but discover its multiple codes and meanings. Barthes shifts the center of the critical act from the author to the reader. He writes that "[t]he reader is the space on which all the quotations that make up a text are inscribed without any of them being lost; a text's unity lies not in its origin but in its destination". There is no fixed meaning established by the author of the text; the meanings of a text are negotiated by readers and by the different contexts of their readings.

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