Quick Reference

1. The title given to the creator of a text in any medium—although traditionally associated with the writer of a literary work.

2. The romantic notion of an individual artistic voice that brings unity to a work either explicitly or implicitly. In the former sense the authorial voice is a typical feature of 19th-century literature (e.g. Charles Dickens). The validity of this definition has been called into question, notably by Barthes (who proclaimed ‘the death of the author’).

3. A culturally-privileged term for a writer of conventionally-published books—sometimes reserved for literary work and ‘high culture’ rather than popular published writing.

4. Legally, the creator of any copyright work.

5. (implied author) The authorial persona inferred from a text by its readers, as distinct from the actual author or the narrator. The term ‘implied author’ was coined by Booth.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »