The author is dead?
|• Who determines the meaning of a text: the author or the reader? |
|• What is the traditional view of the author, meaning and the text? |
|• What are the problems with this view? |
|• How else can we determine the meaning of the text? |
|• So why has the author always seemed so important? |
|• What are the ramifications of all of this? |
Having looked at how we read and what we read, I shall now move on to other debates in English that centre on questions of literature, meaning and how we see the world. Chapter 7 concerns itself with the relationship between texts and meaning, authors and readers.
How important is the author in deciding what a work of literature means?
At first this might look like a silly question: after all, the writer wrote the text and must have meant something by it. However, for literary critics this very question has been the focus of one of the most heated debates of the last fifty years. Roughly, the debate has two sides: those who believe that authorial intention—or what the author ‘meant’ —is central to working out the meaning of a text and those who believe