The Death of the Auteur Essay

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“The Death of the Auteur”
The concept of ‘author’ is originally derived from the Latin word for authority. From the theoretician’s standpoint, the author carries power over the text only to the extent that the ideas and scenarios within it are originally those of the author. French literary theorist Roland Barthes argues that the function of an author is to provide the semblance of originality and meaning in The Death of the
“Writing is the destruction of every voice, of every origin. Writing is the neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body writing.” (Barthes 1466)
The basis for Barthes’ argument is the writing
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(Saussure 972-977)
“Everything that has been said up to this point boils down to this: in language there are only differences. Even more important, a difference generally implies positive terms between which the difference is set up; but in language there are only differences without positive terms. Whether we take the signified or the signifier, language has neither ideas nor sounds that existed before the linguistic system, but only conceptual and phonic differences that have issued from the system.” (Saussure 972)
The application of this idea to Barthes’ work is in the very essence of the idea of the death of the author: the rejection of the assumption that the ideas we commit to a certain name are the product of solely their own conjecture and its manifestations.
“As soon as a fact is narrated no longer with a view to acting directly on reality but intransitively, that is to say, finally outside of any function other than that of the very practice of the symbol itself, this disconnection occurs, the voice loses its origin, the author enters into his own death, writing begins.” (Barthes 1466)
Saussurean logic continues on this theme to the extent that the arbitrary nature of the sign is indicative of the situation of an individual that operates within the linguistic system, and their helplessness and passivity in relation to the signs that compose their