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Return of the Author

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Kristina Busse

on 16 September 2016

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Transcript of Return of the Author

"My subconscious is furious, medusa-like in her anger, hair flying, her hands clenched around her face like Edvard Munch’s Scream. I ignore her, but she won’t climb back into her box" -E.L. James
"[Originality is] enmeshed in historical injustices, in the predominance of bourgeois commodities that must touch up the ever-same as the ever-new in order to win customers."
- Theodor W. Adorno, Aesthetic Theory
"As [moments of inspiration] are increasingly credited to the writer’s own genius, they transform the writer into a unique individual uniquely responsible for a unique product. That is, from a (mere) vehicle of preordained truths - truths as ordained either by universal human agreement or by some higher agency - the writer becomes an author."
- Martha Woodmansee, The Author, Art, and the Market
"Genius is the introduction of a new element into the intellectual universe: or, if that be not allowed, it is the application of powers to objects on which they had not before been exercised, or the employment of them in such a manner as to produce effects hitherto unknown."
- William Wordsworth, 1815 Supplement to Preface of Lyrical Ballads
The existing [aesthetic] order is complete before the new work arrives; for order to persist after the supervention of novelty, the whole existing order must be, if ever so slightly, altered; and so the relations, proportions, values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted; and this is conformity between the old and the new.
- T.S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent” 1920
The principal object, then, proposed in these Poems was to choose incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible in a selection of language really used by men, and, at the same time, to throw over them a certain colouring of imagination. - William Wordsworth, “Preface” 1789
Difference and Repetition
"Romances may not deviate too significantly if regular readers are to be pleased. They expect and, indeed, rely upon certain events, characters, and progressions to provide the desired experience."
- Janice Radway, Reading the Romance 63
Linguistic repetition is an inherent aspect of comprehensible communication in general.
Thematic repetition can be part of the reader-writer contract and thus a necessary aspect of particular types of works.
Finally, repetition of characters, settings, and plot can be used in specific ways as intertextual engagement.
But since a mirror...can only reflect what is presented from a single direction, Hazlitt complicates this analogy by combining the mirror with a lamp, in order to demonstrate that a poet reflects a world already bathed in an emotional light he has himself projected. - M.H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp, 1953
"I don’t think late eighties, early nineties audience research that posits resistance as the dominant way of understanding how audiences relate to texts makes any sense at the current moment of media production and consumption. In fact those categories, the moral labels that are attached to the language of resistance, break down in a fundamental way as you get the ability of audiences not simply to appropriate texts in some marginalised space, but through a technology that allows you to post a website that  comes up alongside the commercial site, or to talk back in a day-to-day dialogue with the media producer, or indeed to be recruited regularly into the ranks of the commercial."
- Henry Jenkins, Interview 2001
"[T]he genial was bound up with the concept of originality: thus the concept
. As is well known, prior to the age of genius the idea of originality bore no authority."
- Theodor W Adorno, Aesthetic Theory 172
Myth of the Author
Eighteenth Century
Repetition in Fandom
Re-watching for Comfort
Re-visiting for Analysis
Re-forming Text Creatively
Re-reading Stories
The Resurrection of the Author:
Ethos and Identity Politics

Kristina Busse SCMS 2013
Any sufficiently advanced
parody is indistinguishable
from a genuine kook.
(Usenet 2001)
What does the author mean?
Who is this author?
Aesthetic of Originality
Legal, Socio-economic, & Cultural
“To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing.”
- Roland Barthes, "The Death of the Author" (1968)
"In dealing with the 'author' as a function of discourse, we must consider the characteristics of a discourse that support this use and determine its differences from other discourses."
- Michel Foucault, "What is an Author?" (1969)
“the design or intention of the author is neither available nor desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of literary art.”
- William K. Wimsatt & Monroe Bearsdley, “The Intentional Fallacy” (1954)
“[T]he postmodernist decision that the Author is dead, and subjective agency along with him, does not necessarily work for women and prematurely forecloses the question of identity for them.”
-Nancy K. Miller, Subject to Change (1988)
for VividCon “Self Portrait Challenge” 2010
by Sisabet and Sweetestdrain
Song: BLOW UP ft. Lydia Lunch
Full transcript