Who Says This? The Authority of the Author, the Discourse, and the Reader

Synopsis

"Who or what gives the text its authority?" Everman offers three main sources of authority: the author, the discourse, and the reader.

His first section examines the authority of the author by studying the works of contemporary American writers. An essay on "docufiction" focuses on the paradox of using the techniques of fiction to discover reality. The probability of writers revealing truths about themselves is exemplified by Raymond Federman's quasi-autobiographical novels.

The second part discusses the authority of discourse, challenging writers with the possibility that literary form, not the author, is the major force in creating works. The final section explores the authority of the reader.

Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler makes the reader the main character of the novel and implicates him in its creation.