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Week 7 - Post-Structuralism and Authorship

Alessandra Aloisi

Before the seminar please read the following core texts:

- R. Barthes, ‘La mort de l’auteur’ (1968), in Le bruissement de la langue (Paris: Seuil, 1984), pp. 61-67.

[eng.: 'The Death of the Author', in Image Music Text, essays selected and translated by S. Heath (London: Fontana Press, 1977), pp. 142-48]

- M. Foucault, ‘Qu'est-ce qu'un auteur?’ (1969), in Dits et écrits (Paris: Gallimard, 1994), pp. 789-821.

[eng.: ‘What is an author?’, in Language, Counter-memory, Practice, selected essays and interviews (New York: Cornell University Press, 1977), pp. 113-138]

- G. Agamben, ‘L’autore come gesto’, in Profanazioni (Roma: Nottetempo, 2005), pp. 67-82.

[eng.: ‘The author as gesture’, in Profanations, trans. by J. Fort (New York: Zone books, 2007), pp. 61-72]

While reading, please bear in mind the following questions, which will be discussed during the seminar:

1. What are the main questions raised by the texts?

2. How can we define 'authorship'?

3. Can you identify any tension between the different texts as well as any point of mutual reinforcement?

5. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the position(s) or argument(s), in your view?

6. What questions do the texts raise but leave unresolved?