Roland Barthes’s 1967 essay, "The Death of the Author," argues against the traditional practice of incorporating the intentions and biographical context of an author into textual interpretation because of the resultant limitations imposed on a text. Hailing "the birth of the reader," Barthes posits a new abstract notion of the reader as the conceptual space containing all the text’s possible meanings. The essay has become one of the most cited works in literary criticism and is a key text for any reader approaching reader response theory.
Table of Contents
Ways in to the Text
Who was Roland Barthes?
What does The Death of the Author Say?
Why does The Death of the Author Matter?
Section 1: Influences
Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context
Module 2: Academic Context
Module 3: The Problem
Module 4: The Author's Contribution
Section 2: Ideas
Module 5: Main Ideas
Module 6: Secondary Ideas
Module 7: Achievement
Module 8: Place in the Author's Work
Section 3: Impact
Module 9: The First Responses
Module 10: The Evolving Debate
Module 11: Impact and Influence Today
Module 12: Where Next?
Glossary of Terms
People Mentioned in the Text
Laura Seymour has a BA in English Literature, an M.Phil in Renaissance Literature, and a PhD in Shakespeare Studies. She has published various book chapters on cognition and early modern literature. She is not affiliated with any institution.