The Birth and Death of the Author : A Multi-Authored History of Authorship in Print book cover
1st Edition

The Birth and Death of the Author
A Multi-Authored History of Authorship in Print

Edited By

Andrew J. Power

ISBN 9780367539832
Published April 29, 2022 by Routledge
202 Pages

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Book Description

The Birth and Death of the Author is a work about the changing nature of authorship as a concept. In eight specialist interventions by a diverse group of the finest international scholars it tells a history of print authorship in a set of author case studies from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century. The introduction surveys the prehistory of print authorship and sets the historical and theoretical framework that opens the discussion for the seven succeeding chapters. Engaging particularly with the history of the materials and technology of authorship it places this in conversation with the critical history of the author up to and beyond the crisis of Barthes' 'Death of the Author'.

As a multi-authored history of authorship itself, each subsequent chapter takes a single author or work from every century since the advent of print and focuses in on the relationship between the author and the reader. Thus they explore the complexities of the concept of authorship in the works of Thomas Hoccleve and John Lydgate (Andrew Galloway, Cornell University), William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe (Rory Loughnane, University of Kent), John Taylor, "the Water Poet" (Edel Semple, University College Cork), Samuel Richardson (Natasha Simonova, University of Oxford), Herman Melville (and his reluctant scrivener ‘Bartleby’) (William E. Engel, Sewanee, The University of the South), James Joyce (Brad Tuggle, University of Alabama), and Grant Morrison (Darragh Greene, University College Dublin).

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Begetting and Forgetting of the Author

Andrew J. Power (University of Sharjah, UAE)

Chapter 1, C15th: Fathering Chaucer: Thoreau, Hoccleve, Lydgate, and the Invention of the First English Author

Andrew Galloway (Cornell University)

Chapter 2, C16th: Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Traces of Authorship

Rory Loughnane (University of Kent)

Chapter 3, C17th: Authorial Identity and Print in John Taylor’s Common Whore and Arrant Thiefe Pamphlets

Edel Semple (University College Cork)

Chapter 4, C18th: Samuel Richardson’s "Murdering Pen" and the End of the Novel

Natasha Simonova (University of Oxford)

Chapter 5, C19th: Melville’s ‘Bartleby’ and the Prefiguration of the Author’s Own Preference Not to Write

William E. Engel (Sewanee, University of the South)

Chapter 6, C20th: La Mort de l’Auteur: James Joyce and the Birth of Writing

Brad Tuggle (University of Alabama)

Chapter 7, C21st: Who is that Knocking on your Door?: Authorship, Print, and the Multimodal Comics of Grant Morrison in a Digital Age

Darragh Greene (University College Dublin)


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Andrew J. Power is Assistant Professor of English in the Department of English Language and Literature, University of Sharjah, UAE. He took his BA (hons) and PhD in English at Trinity College Dublin (1999; 2006) and has since held posts at the University of Cyprus and Saint Louis University – Madrid Campus. He is the editor of Late Shakespeare, 1608-1613 (2012), of Early Shakespeare, 1588-1594 (2020), and of a Yearbook of English Studies special issue on Caroline Literature (2014). His forthcoming monograph is entitled Stages of Madness: Sin, Sickness, and Seneca in Shakespearean Tragedy.