Re: if - author

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Can you please say more about this? its very interesting.

My (tentative) understanding is that it is to do with what someone has called 'the death of the author' - which is (I think) the idea that a text,
once written, goes into the world and 'takes on a life of its own', so to speak. That the author can't control how it is read, how the reader
positions themselves, or positions the text or the author in relation to themselves. Different people will make different readings, from different
positions. Those different readings may include readings of the person of the author as a text, as someone has suggested.

In this case, the issue of personal identity of the author becomes, not so much irrelevant, but a kind of distraction which keeps us from looking at
the discourses which are launched or engaged in, in and through that text (whether written or bodily) - especially if the identity presumed is a kind
of 'essentialist' one, thereby deemed to be outside of discourse.

In 'What is an author?' (1969) Foucault said this (as you partly cite) -
'?it does not seem necessary that the author function remain constant in form, complexity, and even in existence. I think that, as our society
changes, at the very moment when it is in the process of changing, the author function will disappear ?
?We would no longer hear the questions that have been rehashed for so long: Who really spoke? Is it really he and not someone else? With what
authenticity or originality? And what part of his deepest self did he express in his discourse? Instead, there would be other questions, like these:
What are the modes of existence of this discourse? Where has it been used, how can it circulate, and who can appropriate it for himself? What are the
places in it where there is room for possible subjects? Who can assume these various subject functions? And behind all these questions, we would hear
hardly anything but the stirring of an indifference: What difference does it make who is speaking?'

This makes me think that in his later years, when writing his genealogies, that the questions might become something like 'What are the conditions of
possibility for a discourse about identity politics?' or sexual politics?, or whatever. This you seem to refer to when you say:

'In order to 'rediscover' an author in a work, modern criticism uses methods
similar to those that Christian exegesis employed when trying to prove the
value of a text by its author's saintliness.'

Are you saying that the conditions of possibility for this discourse (and hence this discussion) are to do with the Christian practice (which i am
unfamiliar with) of exegesis of a text in relation to the author's 'essential' qualities?

Sorry if this question seems naive or too simplistic, but this stuff is tough for one (i.e. me) to get one's (i.e. my) head around.

Arianna wrote:

> The work now possesses the right to kill, to be its author's murderer. The
> writer must assume the role of the dead man in the game of writing.
> The aspects of an individual which we designate as making him an author are
> only A PROJECTION, in more or less PSYCHOLOGIZING terms, of the operations
> we force texts to undergo.
> In order to 'rediscover' an author in a work, modern criticism uses methods
> similar to those that Christian exegesis employed when trying to prove the
> value of a text by its author's saintliness.
> What difference does it make who is speaking?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:owner-foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Nathan
> Goralnik
> Sent: 04 July 2001 05:06
> To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: if -- And
> Patrick
> Back off. If you're so sure that there's no connection to the author and
> the text, then stop implying that Glen is stupid. Do you ever seriously
> philosophize? If you do, where does it come from? Do you really expect me to
> believe that Judith Butler's texts could have been written just as easily by
> a Protestant wealthy white heterosexual male? Do you really expect me to
> believe that Julia Kristeva has never been depressed? Blindly getting rid of
> the author sounds *hauntingly* like the benign discourse of "objective"
> inquiry. You seem to be too ready to efface the question of standpoint and
> thus seriously complicate critique.
> Nate
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Patrick Crosby
> To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 9:39 AM
> Subject: Re: if -- And
> Glen,
> Come on dude, this is all a bunch of bullcrap and you know it. Plato's
> texts, like all texts, stand on their own. Your claim "to have known Plato
> the person" is laughable. I've been subscribed to a number of lists, but
> I've never seen such psyco-babble in all my life. Some of you are even worse
> than the Ayn Rand followers, and they're some of the dumbest people on the
> planet. The reason why you and a large number of other people are doing what
> you do is obvious: it's all you can do. And the reason it's all you can do
> is because you haven't yet educated yourselves to the point that you can
> read and understand the texts involved, and comment upon them intelligently.
> In essence, what a number of you are saying is this: "Well, maybe I can't
> understand the text, but I can understand that the author liked to have sex
> just like I do! And that the author pissed and crapped just like I do! I can
> talk about all of that with authority! Nobody can put out crap any better
> than I can!"
> Well, it was fun making light of you pseudo-intellectual morons for a while,
> but the novelty of it has worn off. In fact, I now find it disturbing to see
> that ability of so many people to think in this "post modern" era has eroded
> to such an extent. Go buy yourselves some Foucault love-dolls and have your
> fun. I want nothing further to do with this silliness.
> Glen Fuller wrote:
> Hi,I agree with Charmaine. My logic is as follows:If we are to say that
> sexual preference (or any facet of a theorist'sbackground) does not matter,
> then what we are saying is that what thattheorist is 'communicating' (and
> how we 'listening') is unaffected by theaforementioned sexual preference
> (or, again, any facet of a theorist'sbackground)? Yes?I can imagine some of
> you are about ready to crucify me with my implicitsuggestion that it is
> important we know what the sexual preference is of atheorist so as to fully
> understand his/her work...No, that is not what I am saying, not really...If
> we discard the sexual preference (or any other facet of a
> theorist'sbackground) then we are assuming that what is being communicated
> (and how weare listening) is above (unaffected) by sexual preference, as it
> probablyis... but how do we know?We have made a critical assumption
> regarding the nature of the relative (tothe listeners - us) speaking
> position of the theorist, maybe? Perhaps?And if we are suggesting that what
> a theorist is suggesting is unaffected byhis/her sexual preference (or any
> other, etc) then what is the implicitsuggestion there? Like, what, when it
> is communicated, is unaffected by therelative speaking position of the
> 'speaker'? Well, nothing. Nothing withinthe social that is...Therefore the
> implicit assumption being made when any element of atheorist's personal
> background is trivialised as unimportant, is that whatis being communicated
> is outside of the social, and that is impossible.Sexuality isn't necessarily
> one of the foundations on which I base muchtheoretical currency, unless of
> course what is being theorised ISsexuality... And I am not suggesting we
> have a mini autobiography with everyword uttered...What I am suggesting is
> that awareness of such personal details of theoristsmay affect and eff!
> ec!
> t their theories may lead to a greater understanding ofthe what they are
> trying to communicate.E.g. if someone is university educated, or if they
> stopped their schoolingin the third grade.And THAT is the essential point I
> am trying to make, we should judge thetheorist's work, not the theorist, but
> to judge his/her work requiresknowledge of the social trajectory of the
> speaker as well.yep,Glen Fuller.----- Original Message -----From: "charmaine
> driscoll" <missplateau@xxxxxxxxxxx>To:
> <foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>Cc:
> <deleuze-guattari@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001
> 11:02 AMSubject: Re: if -- And
> Now we are getting somewhere. As a matter of fact Foucault initiated
> thisproject. With his life and ideas; for instance;The Lives of Infamous
> Men;his writing about the hermaphodite,the one about Pierre Riviere,
> andnaturally his own scandalous behaviour. And whether Plato was
> homosexualmakes all the difference in how we, and how I, and how he wrote.
> From: Patrick Crosby <pcrosby@xxxxxxxx>
> Alright, let me see if I have this correct now. To understand thedifferences
> in the political philosophies of Plato and Aristotle,one needs to understand
> that Plato was gay and Aristotle was straight. Andwhether Foucault was a
> top, a bottom, or liked tobe in the middle position of a 3-way just
> naturally makes all the
> difference
> in the world when you want to understand "TheOrder of Things." Of course!
> Why didn't I think of
> that?Regards,C.Driscoll_____________________________________________________
> ____________Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at

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