Re: RARA-AVIS: Death of the author

Date: 06 Jan 2007

miker wrote:

"I am one hundred percent behind this, but there are more than a few readers who think the writer's intentions matter and that they can be derived not just from the text, but also from the writer's life. I say leave the writer's life out of it. The text and only the text. The author is dead, and all that good stuff."

While I may find some authors' intentions, and/or how their lives relate to their work (and vice versa), it is only after the words they put on the page impressed me enough to want to know more about them and how they came to be put there. I usually have to have read and been impressed by several works by an author, and seen certain repeated motifs or themes (for instance, in Goodis's work), before I will even be curious about where they came from. Without having been touched by what was on the page, I would never care about, much less read, an author's biography (well, unless they were as notorious for their lives as much as their work like, say, William S. Burroughs or Phillip K. Dick, not saying I hadn't already read them both, but their notoriety increased my extra-literary interest).

And miker, you kind of back this up with your next post, about the Black Dahlia -- you were curious what Ellroy looked and sounded like, but you never would have cared if you hadn't first liked his books (and heard the stories about his life, which he has used to great effect to intermingle with and promote his work).


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