Roland Barthes, ‘The Death of the Author’, in Image Text Music, trans. Stephen Heath, Fontana Press, 1977


Linguistically, the author is never more that the instance saying I: language knows a ‘subject’, not a ‘person’, and this subject, empty outside of the very enunciation which defines it, suffices to make language ‘hold together’, suffices, that is to day, to exhaust it.

The removal of the Author (one could talk here with Brecht of a veritable ‘distancing’, the Author diminishing like a figurine at the far end of the literary stage) is not merely an historical fact or an act of writing; it utterly transforms the modern text (or — which is the same thing — the text is henceforth made and read in such a way that at all levels the author is absent). The temporality is different.