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death of the author


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A slogan coined in 1968 by the French critic R. Barthes in an iconoclastic essay that also called for the ‘birth of the reader’, into whose hands the determination of literary meanings should pass. The principle of authorial control over literary (or other) texts had been challenged before (see intentional fallacy), but Barthes invoked larger Structuralist principles to argue that it is in the nature of writing to erase its supposed human originators, who are in any case really the scribes of self‐generating linguistic codes and systems.

Subjects: Literature.


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