What is an Author ?

hello everyone welcome to today's session of the NPTEL course post-modernism and little child a last couple of sessions we had been looking at VSA the death of the author and we saw how this essay is seen as one of the seminal essays which inaugurated them the idea of challenging the author and also how it becomes important in our understanding of post-structuralist as well as post modernist frameworks of understanding literature culture and also on the reading of text in general in Bart's essay the death of the author we also saw how by reallocating the author to the background by completely removing the order by pronouncing the death of the author the interpretation there Tex ownership was given to the reader Tex became merely interpretations in the hands of readers totally devoid of any authorial intervention totally devoid of any single meaning given to the text by the author and we also realized towards the entity I say that the essay depth the author can not be read in isolation but it needs to be understood in connection with an essay that followed the one by Michel Foucault and title of what is an author and this essay what is an order by Michel Foucault it also equals a number of thoughts already articulated by Bart's adults also a continuation of a certain intellectual tradition which has been challenging the authority of the author and this essay was originally delivered as a lecture on 22nd February 1969 and now a number of translations and a number of interpretations of the text is available now Foucault himself had also published a revised version of the lecture in French and the Machine Foucault was a theorist who left from 1926 to 1984 in you know and Watts of promotin I or one of the commentary ins of literary criticism he acknowledged that acknowledges that Foucault was the person who in case with the rise of the forms of knowledge the classification mechanisms of knowledge and the rules by which knowledge connected our kite and disseminator here we can see that the pookas primary concern was with the aspects of knowledge and this he achieves by engaging with some with something that he identifies as discourses and discursive practices and without going into the details of this which we shall do in one of the later sessions it's also important to remember that Foucault like Bart's was not a literary theorist in fact he could be considered as a theorist of history and also as a post structuralist thinker and when we are trying to talk about who quotes again difficult to delimit him to a particular school of thought because Foucault himself became the inaugural figure of a school of thought or by himself and nevertheless it's important to note that he draws on a number of ideas assumptions and methods from a range of thinkers in the range of schools of thought say from Freud to Marxism structuralism phenomenology philosophy sociology literature history so it is very difficult to very difficult to only identify a Foucault as a post structuralist thinker but we would also eventually highlight that the ideas of Foucault the ways in which he revolutionized systems of knowledge and our system so far thought it also became an underlying principle and understanding post-modernism itself in the last few sessions we had been focusing on the post structuralism moment and also been trying to also been trying to highlight the connection between post structuralism and the fundamental ideals of post modernist here it's also very important to keep in mind the fact that much of post modernism can be understood only if we begin with the post structuralist moment only if we try to map how post-structuralism had been are shaping up after structuralism and also how a read third is a range of our research is associated with post structuralism also had become quite seminal in laying the foundations of post mortem thinking so many of the many of the thinkers many of the theorists who featuring post-structuralism app also become quite a significant to us of the postmodern also have become significant furious of the post-modernism so without going into the details of any particular figure now let me try and give you a brief sense of what it entails to move away from structuralism towards full structure listen which in turn had also become seminal in our understanding of post-modernism so structuralism is inherently a search for the underlying scientific objective structure of a phenomenal for example ladies choice in anthropology and so sure and linguistics have tried to locate these structures which are important in the understanding are the features of language the connection between the signifier and the signified so all of those things and the departure from those fundamental structures had led to the emergence of post-structuralist thinking and post structuralism on the other hand has no fixed structures behind cultural phenomena and this is exemplified in the works of Foucault Toulouse and there you'da yes we would see and this also could be considered as a major theoretical School in the postmodern age though technically we can say the post structuralism is in stock conflict with Marxism feminism and post colonialism it would also be difficult to understand post structuralism totally nice relation these leading phenomena because they also the understanding of post structuralism is also combined with these aspects with which it in some ways is in conflict with as well and the range of influence of post structuralism could be from anything from arts and politics to the popular culture that we see in and around is in the contemporary and when we try to understand structuralism and post-structuralism within the sphere of a text within the sphere of literary criticism it's also important to see what the structuralist and post-structuralist seek to locate in a text so to provide a very minimal understanding of the differences between a structuralist mudafucka critical approach and post – let's move critical approach let's quickly take a look at some of the things that structural is look for in some of the things that post octal is in the contrary look for structural is basically argue for a kind of textual annuity so ignore most of it approaches we can find a method or a methodology which eventually leads to the location of textual unity and values this includes a range of things such as balance and echoes or balances in a text the location of reflections and repetitions and the and the identification of symmetry of contrast patterns basically they look for structures which will help them descent the text understand the text in particular ways all the other hand post structuralism celebrates textual disunity so in that process they will be looking for contradictions and paradoxes which rather than becoming inconveniences become a starting point for undertaking a post populist approach they also look for ships and breaks in tone viewpoint tense time person and attitude they are they are also seeking conflicts absences and omissions / linguistic quirks for a period in order to find the sense of meaning more importantly the post-structuralist approaches more cults specific and they also give a greater attention to contextualization and there's also a very telling deliberate highlighting of the rule of language in texture ality so in order to be able to understand how practically this is done how post-structuralist how post-structuralist are unable to identify these particular inconveniences within the space of protects it's also important to take a look at now that term deconstruction and this was a term put forward by now Jacques Derrida and his theory concerned structures but nevertheless it was an anti structure ELISA gesture so there's an inherent paradox in the waste a deconstruction is a defined neverthless it's also important to remember that post structuralism and deconstruction are perhaps interchangeable terms when we say this I also mean that there is a perhaps when we tried to approach a text through the post structuralist method when we try to analyze a text through the post structuralist methodology we are eventually trying to do a deconstruction of the text and this term our deconstruction came into being after Delia started using it for a specific kind of approach towards particular texts because he was also unhappy in being labeled as a post structuralist because he also believed that he engaged primarily with structures though his argument was it structures where to be under decomposed and D sedimented so here we also find certain sorts of ideas which are which also are part of the post modernist er tendencies where the structures are not something to be believed in but the structures are something to be something to be used in order to move away from them in order to move towards a more inconvenient reading which would also open up the text for alternate possibilities for alternate meaning making processes so how do the post structuralist employ the methods of deconstruction while the access at text so total answer this question how this entire process is being done within the space of a text we would begin by looking at a ton of phrase used by ten eagleton where he says it's important to read the text against the text itself Eagleton's a phrase also became immensely popular in talking about the constructive methods and he also argued that the idea of the construction or the idea of the post structuralist approach is to expose the textual subconscious in in other words this is this becomes important because the text cannot know itself so we make an attempt to know the text by rereading or unpacking the subconscious or what is not presented in an overt form and secondly there is a there is an attempt being made to fix upon the surface features of the words and to bring them to the foreground of focusing on language by focusing on structure by by but by reading against them so this is also a kind of practice which are has now come to be known as a breeding against the green and this process also expressed the text disunity which eventually becomes all the more useful all the more are fruitful in applying the D constructor for methods and our European the practically the electric critics would be concentrating on a single passage intense ability intensively to create an unequivocal meaning and they also look for fault lines ships and Greeks in their text and also for a number of evidences for the covert in the text so basically this also leads to a kind of close reading so for structuralism deconstruction when it is employed within the space of electric text it also employs the techniques of close reading which we shall be taking a closer look at in one of the later sessions when we when we closely engage her with particularly free text as part for discussions on postmortem esse this under styling of the shift from structuralism towards a post structuralist map by methods and also towards the deconstruct of methods of understanding the text also becomes important in locating our understanding of post-modernism in literature coming back to the discussion of a focus what is in order it's important to remember that the a/b Budhia says by Bart and Foucault that if the author and what is in order both are concerned with authorship and this harmony debate about the primary theme of both of these essays but but they also are different in particular ways when Bob pronounces actively pronounces the author dead Foucault questions the role of the order and our questions why we are the speaker is required within the space of a text and eventually proves it read it so both of them eventually arguing pretty much the same thing we are the death of the author or as Foucault uses the disappearance of the order from literature from the space of the text but the method through which they do this is systematic in two different ways they both arrive at the same end through different routes to different kinds of arguments and compared to a civet is very short our focus is a fairly long essay and there are a number of translations available as well so for this course we shall be looking at a 1998 translation by Robert Hurley and others there are number of translations that are made available of fuko's texts from French to English and this one is a particularly readable and particularly given in a very simple language so for this of course our references will be mostly from this particular edition of translation in PSA what is in order focus concern is not with others and their works but he is more interested in the concept of work in the functional role of an author which he designates as the older function that also forms a crux of this essay and we also let like bath focuses on the shift in the traditional notion of individualization of author it also becomes a basic premise for the understanding of both of these essays and Foucault is I say examines the concept of the author of inside out he does you may say an unpacking of the idea of the order the function of the order and this this this unpacking is done against structuralism against the traditional formal reading of military won and he is totally opposed to the concept of expression which was dominant in the Romantic it was dominant during the Romantic period he also uses an oft-quoted expression from Samuel Beckett a modernist a playwright what matter who is speaking and then uses this is an entry point to talk about the various aspects of further the author's function when the essay begins Foucault gives us a very brief overview of the coming into being of the notion of the author but also tells us that his intention is not to offer a social historical analysis of the author's persona and I think he moves on to high of moves on to state the primary objective of his work that he wants to deal solely with the relationship between text and order so this is what this essay entirely talks about the relationship between the text and the order what happens to be author in the contemporary when the idea dicks and the ideas of order had been undergoing a radical change and this he proposes to do in a particular way but in his own words with the manner in which the text points to this figure that at least in appearance is outside it and antis it's it so here he is drawing our attention to some of the traditional conceptions about the order and the traditional ways in which the author is located outside the text and also in and dissidence to it but however eventually we would also see that focus si moves away from this traditional assumption and to lead challenges be our frameworks within with the traditional assumptions happen are built with it and he also a very effectively uses Beckett's a question right at the outset what does it matter who is speaking someone said what does it matter who is speaking and he says that it is in this indifference about the author authorial voice that our understanding of the fundamental principles of writing lies and here he also begins to locate two major themes of contemporary writing firstly he says that in the contemporary writing has freed itself from the necessity of expression so here there is a very success by which he removes the text from the author by removing the element of expression from the idea of writing itself and secondly he engages with the ante that made the relationship between writing and death he also discusses this are quite at length giving it a historical perspective he talks about how in the Western cultural history writing had always been associated with immortality he gives the examples of the GAR I ancient Greek masters he also then compares the traditional Western notion of the of the act of writing being associated with immortality and then he also goes on to contrast the idea of water writing with that of the traditional Western culture of history where the idea of writing was always associated with immortality he says that in modern writing perhaps the intention is to kill the order because the process of writing is also linked to sacrifice of life and he gives examples of a flow by Proust in Kafka of who according to him had successfully effaced the writing subjects individual characteristics and it's very useful to remember that these same examples and these same images were used by Bart so this connection also provides as a useful entry point to talk about the various ways in which the author had been relegated into the background if we take a look at fuko's essay give you one so you realize that Foucault is in some way or the other trying to draw attention to the existing or writing the existing theories about the death of the author or the disappearance of the author and trying to tell us how his estate departs from this how his SF takes off from where perhaps Barth had left it for example to in his own words he talks about none this is a reset criticism and philosophy took note of the disappearance or death of the order some time ago but the consequences of the discovery of it have not been sufficiently examined so this is the starting point this is the entry point towards cuckoos discussions about the author here he is drawing attention to the fact that we are already familiar with the depth of the disappearance of the author but what happens after this this seems to be primary concern of hookahs essay it is in this context that Foucault seeks to examine two major notions which we shall be taking a look at shortly so in order to engage with the consequences and implications of the death of the disappearance of the order Foucault draws our attention to two main solutions the first one being the idea of work which he designates as Oubre it could also mean the the the entire body of work that a writer has a produced and he engages secondly with the notion of writing which for which he uses this French term a creature interestingly Foucault does not use it under creature which is more feminine in nature and within these two works within these two notions he tries to sit the significance of many of the things that he proposes to discuss in connection with the author when he talks about the notion of work he begins by problematizing the idea of work and he also tells us that it's just like the the idea of the author has been problematized its import it's really important to problematize the idea of what itself when he seeks to problematize the idea of what he gives us a particular examples and in his own words even when an individual has been accepted as an author we must still ask whether everything that he wrote said or left behind is part of his work here is he's asking a seemingly simple question what is work what constitutes work her rather and he says this is both theoretical and technical problem and he goes on to give an example of Nietzsche's works and and leaves us with a series of questions about what exactly could be designated what exactly can qualify as Nietzsche's who works proper and are he asked these questions is it everything that nature Himself published and what about the rough drafts for his works the plans for his act for essence the deleted passages and notes at the bottom of the page if we answer an affirmative or to all of these questions now Foucault has another set of questions to ask us in connection with whether those sort of things would be considered as part of Nietzsche's work for example whatever within a workbook filled with therefore essence one finds our reference the notation of a meeting or of an address or a laundry list is it a work or not why not so by problematizing this he is also giving us a way that technique in order to engage with the familiar things by asking such inconvenient questions which would also help us to look for the possible answers in perhaps unlikely places so here we can even say that Foucault is beginning to deconstruct the idea of what in order to be able to engage with the author in a much different way than common husband then then common sense had created the author to be and and he says these sort of works these sort of questions could perhaps go on and sums of that passage by saying it is not enough to declare that we should do without the writer or the author and study the work itself the word work and the unity that it designates are probably as problematic as the status of the author's individuality so fuming we can even say that Foucault is taking a few steps more from but our text from baths a work the death of the order by problematizing not just the rit of the author but also engaging with what exactly the work is how what what constitutes work what kind of work is really qualified it what kind of writing what kind of product gets qualified as a work secondly he deals with the notion of writing and when he talks about the notion of writing he also tells us that it grants a risk of maintaining the author's privileges under the protection of the a priori he also taught it tells us about a dividing line that exes with me those who believe that they can still look like this continuity's in the historical transcendental tradition of the 19th century and also tried to free themselves once and for all from that tradition to X's so it is within certain herring contradictions within these inherent our ships and understandings within these paradoxes about the understanding of text and writing that Foucault tries to engage with the question of the author and all of these elements according to him is rather quiet interconnected and it is also instrumental in providing a more fruitful analysis of all of these concrete stuff and now the more we move on to the major part of the essay the crux of the asset what is in order here Foucault is drawing their attention to what happens after the death of the author we did look at some of the implications of the death of the author when we have been we were discussing what se but here Foucault is drawing Foucault is drawing a more focused at from our part to look at what exactly happens right after the death of the author in his own words he says it is not enough however to repeat the empty affirmation that the author has disappeared for the same reason it is not enough to keep repeating that God and man have died a common death instead we must locate the space left empty by the author's disappearance follow the distribution of gaps and breaches and watch for the openings this disappearance uncovers SoDo even though the starting point of focus is a support the disappearance or the death of the author he's more concerned not with this act of disappearance nor with this act of death but with the space or with the openings in the gaps which are left open after the disappearance of the author and this is here who is also drawing her attention to the fact that there are certain other things to be uncovered after the death of the order or after the disappearance of the author as he puts it so Fuuka Fuuka wants us to do a series of things after having pronounced a death the order yeah firstly we must locate the space left empty by the author's disappearance this is also with with the convey with the conviction that there is a particular space that the author had been occupied and perhaps there are many things there are many subtext there are many subconscious elements which are which which have been lying underneath secondly to watch for the openings that this disappearance uncovers and then we move on to discuss something very important about the protis about the problems arising from using the author's name and he tells us about the author's name and how it functions in this connection he also tells us that his intention is not to offer solutions but discuss the difficulties so we do have a rather challenging task ahead considering that because the attempt is not o-fucose intention is not to give us solutions to this question what is in order rather he tries to problematize it he also tries to engage with this question from multiple angles and also discuss them various difficulties which are inherent in this idea of the order and in the discussions about what happens after the death of the order and in this connection the first and foremost thing that he highlights is the presence of an author's name as a property because first and foremost the author's name is also I almost always a proper name for example onion alight and startled which has more functions other than merely indicator functions it's also equivalent of a description in in focus on words when once there is a startled one employs over that is equivalent of one or a series of definite descriptions which is the author of the analytics the founder of ontology and so forth one cannot stop there however because a proper name does not have just one signification and it goes on to say the proper name and the author's name are situated between the two poles of description and designation they must have a certain link with what they mean but one that is neither entirety in the mode of designation nor in that description it must be a specific link cure it is also useful for us to locate the ways in which Foucault is building up his argument the way he pays attention to details and and also how he constructs those details how he reads the text against itself and challenges the common-sense understandings to lead us to a totally different idea a totally different opposing rather a contrasting idea which would challenge not just the existing idea but also the existing paradigms the existing schools of thought the existing practices of leuctra criticism itself having said that he also draws their attention to talk about the various complexities involved even within the idea of the author's name is just a proper name are too deep because own words if I discover that Shakespeare was not born in the house we visit today this is a modification that obviously will not alter the functioning of the author's name but if we prove that Shakespeare did not write those sonnets which pass for his that would constitute a significant change and affect the manner in which the author's name forces if we prove that Shakespeare wrote Bacon's argument by showing that the same author wrote both the works of bacon and does of Shakespeare that would be a third type of change that would entirely modify the functioning of the author's name the author's name is not therefore just a properly like the best so here as a first step Fuko is differentiate differentiating between the author's name from the other proper names with the author's name is not like any other proper name and here he is also in his own words talking about the paradoxical singularity the author's name and then highlights the fact that the author's name unlike any other the proper name it performs a certain role with regard to narrative discourse assuring a classification a function so what makes an author's name to Flint from any other proper name is that there are particular functions assigned to it there are particular rules that this author's name performs the sort of roles that we do not expect any other proper name to perform and here in continuation with the way in which he problematized the idea of what he further complicates and problematizes the idea of the author the idea of the author's name and goes on to argue and quite categorically state that in a civilization like our own there are a number of discourses endowed with the author function while others are deprived of it so here we enter a critical a point in this essay where he begins to talk about the functions of the order or the older function and here he also gives simple examples to show how the author function defer the function could be differentiated from the other proper names are for example a private letter may well have a signer it does not have an author a contract may well have a it does not have an author an anonymous text posted on a wall probably has an editor but not an author the author function is therefore characteristic of the mode of existence circulation and functioning of certain discourses within a society here we notice is how Foucault begins to unpack the idea of the order and locates particular functions with regard to the role he performs in a different kind actual different societies how that serve related to circulation how that's related to mode of existence its materiality and how it's a very strong counter to culture so as they begin to my in-depth ESA for today it's also important to draw attention to the ways in which Foucault takes off robots si takes off from the tensional assumptions of the order and moves away from the things that traditionally have been associated with the order or in fact the common sense associated with the order to talk about particular functions related to the author associated with the author so in the next section we shall be continuing to take a look at this essay taking a look at how the author function is getting employed and how Foucault uses this to post structuralist as well as post modernist ends which would also become handy in art in an understanding of post-modernism in exchange and I also encourage you to take a look at the original version of primacy and also use this lecture as a corollary to your original understanding thank you for listening and I look forward to seeing you in the next session

7 thoughts on “What is an Author ?

  1. Mam you speak really fast and it's difficult to follow. Kindly slow down a bit.

  2. Where is next part mam …..please upload next session video.

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