For the late twentieth century, the death of the author assumed a significance analogous to the death of God one hundred years previously. In this now classic study, Sean Burke both provides the first detailed explanation of anti-authorialism and shows how, even taken on its own terms, the attempt to abolish the author is philosophically untenable. Rather than developing a traditionally humanist defence, Burke effectively out-theorises theory through rigorous readings which demonstrate that the concept of the author remained profoundly active even and especially as its disappearance was being articulated. The question of the author, he argues, is not a question within theory but the question of theory. Building on a substantially revised second edition, Burke further explores the challenges faced by an authorial theory that is 'still to come'. Prompted by the responses to the passing of Jacques Derrida in 2004, he revisits the enigmatic borderlines between life and work, life and (authorial) death.
Features of the third edition: *A 5,000-word Preface which considers Derrida's legacy and the future of authorial theory *Two new chapters which submit the biographical and autobiographical to independent theoretical scrutiny *A fully updated bibliography
Sean Burke worked in the Department of English Studies at the University of Durham for thirteen years, and has now retired. His academic publications include The Death and Return of the Author: Criticism and Subjectivity in Barthes, Foucault and Derrida (3rd edn, 2008), Authorship: From Plato to the Postmodern: A Reader (1995) and The Ethics of Writing: Authorship and Legacy in Plato and Nietzsche (2008). His first novel, Deadwater (2002) has been published in France as Au bout des docks (2007). He is currently researching a study of discursive ethics in Plato, Levinas and Derrida.
Preface to Third Edition: The 'Life Death' of the Author; Preface to the Second Edition; Prologue: The Deaths of Paul de Man; Introduction: A Prehistory of the Death of the Author; 1. The Birth of the Reader: Authorship and Apotheosis; From Work to Life; The 'Founders of Languages'; Mimesis and the Author; Autobiographies; 2. The Author and the Death of Man: Cogito and the Birth of Man; The Founder of Futurity; What (and Who) is an Author?; Allegories of Misreading; Transcendental Lures: LAcan and the Mastery of Language; Subjectivities; 3. Misread Intentions: Authors of Absence; Hors-Texte; A History of Silence; Doubling the Text: Intention and its Other; The Myth of Writing; Reading and (Self-) Writing; Conclusion: Critic and Author: Critic and Author?; Misreceptions: Phenomenology into Deconstruction; The Ghost in the Machine: Authorial Inscription and the Limits of Theory; Epilogue: Technology and the Politics of Reading; 'Half Dust, Half Deity': The Middle Way of Situated Authorship; Appendix 1: The Biographical Imperative; Appendix 2: The Author as Reader; Notes; Bibliography; Index.