Writing Together, Writing Apart: Collaboration in Western American Literature

By Linda K. Karell | Go to book overview

NOTES

INTRODUCTION
1.
Other scholars might refer to the text as "multivoiced” or "com- posite” to capture the ways in which the text embodies various counter- perspectives and ideological assumptions as they arise from a creative process involving (at least) two distinct authors. However, using the terms multivoiced and composite to describe texts (as opposed to us- ing them to describe writers, for instance) tends to keep questions of authorial individuality and uniqueness at bay, essentially preserving the illusion that there are (at least) two distinct authors, while the term col- laborative emphasizes the ongoing interaction between two or more au- thorial subjects—an interaction, I hope to show, that itself undermines the coherence and unity of those very authorial subjects.
2.
Throughout this study, I make use of what I consider to be an im- portant distinction between the author and the writer. My focus in these pages is to challenge the construct of the author, with all of the cultural muck of originality, authority, and "truth” that clings to him. Writer is a term I use to argue, sometimes implicitly, for a real, biological, historical individual who creates, however deeply embedded in contexts and col- laborations that individual may be.
3.
For other overviews and discussions of the developing (and cur- rently chic) topic of collaboration, see the "Theories and Methodolo- gies” sections of the March 2001 and May 2001 issues of PMLA. In partic- ular, see the essays by Holly Laird (March 2001) and Heather Hirschfeld (May 2001).
4.
One of the most recent literary battles took place between Sun- trust Bank, on behalf of the Margaret Mitchell Estate, and Houghton Mifflin regarding The Wind Done Gone, Alice Randall's "parody” of Mitchell's Gone With the Wind. The Wind Done Gone collaborates with Gone With the Wind in a number of ways. Its (modified) title, characters, events, and setting all invoke and subsequently resituate and revise ele- ments of the classic from a mixed-race perspective. Although Suntrust Bank initially won an injunction against the book's publication, a higher

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