Death of the Author

From wikipedia: “The Death of the Author (French: La mort de l’auteur) is a 1967 essay by the French literary critic and theorist Roland Barthes. Barthes’s essay argues against traditional literary criticism’s practice of incorporating the intentions and biographical context of an author in an interpretation of a text, and instead argues that writing and creator are unrelated. ”

From the text: “Once the Author is gone, the claim to “decipher” a text becomes quite useless. To give an Author to a text is to impose upon that text a stop clause, to furnish it with a final signification, to close the writing. This conception perfectly suits criticism, which can then take as its major task the discovery of the Author (or his hypostases: society, history, the psyche, freedom) beneath the work: once the Author is discovered, the text is “explained:’”

“Ender’s Game” Author Really, Really Hates Gay People. Studio Really, Really Doesn’t Want You To Care.

Should an artist’s personal views affect how you interact with his artwork? What if those views you object to are not present in the work itself? In this particular case, Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game (a personal favorite), had his book turned into a movie and many people who object to his political views are suggesting you boycott the movie to protest the author’s political views. Three articles linked below about the issue.

Report: Unpublished J.D. Salinger stories leak online

“Literary circles were abuzz after three previously unpublished short stories by American author J.D. Salinger showed up on the Internet this week.

“Salinger was known to fiercely guard his writings and only allowed a relatively small number to be published before his death in 2010 at age 91.”

Is it unethical to release these stories? Does the author’s intent matter after he’s died? What if they’re great pieces of art? Once leaked, is it unethical to read them if the author never intended them to be read?

Alan Moore on ‘Watchmen’ movie: ‘I will be spitting venom all over it’

How effectively can you adapt a book into a movie? What about a comic book? What happens when the creator of the book hates the idea of a movie adaptation? Should his opinion count for anything? Does he have a monopoly on how his art is viewed or interpreted?

Radiolab Podcast: Speedy Beets

“There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit.”

What is the relationship between an artist and the art he creates? Does the artist have a monopoly on how the art is performed or interpreted? Are we doing something wrong if we perform and listen to Beethoven’s music far slower than he intended it?

Here is a shortened version of the podcast I made: