Foucault & 'works'

I am in a study group leading a discussion on cultural criticism. We will be
incorporating Foucault's article "What is an Author" into the presentation.
I think I've read the section explaining the significance of an
'author's works' so many times that I'm now missing Foucault's central
intention or aspiration which is:

"a form of culture in which fiction would not be limited by the figure of the
author. It would be pure romanticism, however, to imagine a culture in which
the fictive would operate in an absolutely free state, in which fiction would
be put at the disposal of everyone and would develop without passing through
something like a necessary or constraining figure."

Foucault asserts the 'privileged' status we have given the author prevents
an absolute freedom of the text. Because of this privileged status (authors are
constantly thrown into the limelight of society and are seen as ideological
figures 'proliferating meaning') authors leave traces of their existence which
inevitably scream for our attention.

Does Foucault urge us to incorporate these traces, such as interviews, notes,
rough drafts, personal relationships into our analyzation of a work so long as
they exist and the 'author' is still privileged? Is he implying that we would
be deluding ourselves if we wouldn't apply these traces into
our understanding of a
work? Does he consider our 'attraction' to these traces as obstructions in our
understanding of the text? (Is this the reason he asked that his drafts, notes,
be burned immediately after his death?)

I think Foucault is saying we must consider everything that makes up an
author's work so long as the author has a privileged status. Ideally, the
author would become anonymous like scientists have become anonymous, so we
(readers) will be able to co-own the knowledge surrendered as a result of the
author's death and look at texts as they stand.

I think Foucault's wishes are doomed.
So long as profits are based on marketing a name, authors will remain
privileged and will call attention to the extra baggage existing outside of the
bound text we hold in our hands.

By the nature of this group, it's obvious Foucault's name and his elusive
personality has superceded his actual works. What would he think of a Listserv
named 'Foucault?'

I thank you for your patience. I am a Foucault rookie who needs clarification.
Hopefully, somebody can clean up my questions and provide me with some answers.
If Foucault makes a distinction between 'author' and 'author function', I'd
appreciate anyone's thoughts.

Jason Becker
Univ. Wisconsin at Eau Claire

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