Re: RARA-AVIS: is this a cigar ? (No, it's just a word that siginfies ...etc)

From: Rene Ribic (
Date: 16 Apr 2002

Miker said:

> i read it. i liked it. i have always thought that
> a literary work should stand by itself, and i've always
> thought it insulting to the work and the author when a
> critic psychoanalyzes the author to conveniently cat-
> egorize the work.
> i wonder when he wrote this. it must have created
> quite a stink. i've heard exactly the opposite stated
> more than once: that an author's works separated from
> from the author becomes meaningless because of the loss
> of reference.
I don't know that it had such a big impact on the literary world but Barthes & several French intellectuals who followed in his footsteps seemed to have a major influence on the way art was taught in Australian art schools at least. IIRC, Australian art schools in the 1980's were completely dominated by semiotics & the related schools of thought that followed (becoming more & more impenetrable to the point of where not only most people could not understand what they were talking about but in at least a couple of instances I can recall, the academics/students themselves had no idea what they were yabbering about. If it wasn't so off-topic I could relay an anecdote about the time I interviewed author Angela Carter & the interview was hijacked by my editor, who was the top student in his class at the Hobart art school at the time. I'll just say that nobody, including Carter & the editor himself, knew what the editor was talking about. I wish I still had the tape - it was something straight out of Monty Python.) I'm not dissing Barthes here (I admit I'm not overly familiar with his stuff) - I'm having a go at some of the schools of academic writing following that became so impenetrable that a fellow who didn't even have a good handle on English as she is spoke could write essays, etc in this impenetrable gobbledygook and come out top of his class, with a distinction yet.


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