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What are your thoughts on Death of the Author?
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A narrator should not supply interpretations of his work; otherwise he would not have written a novel, which is a machine for generating interpretations.

Umberto Eco, postscript to "The Name of the Rose"

What is Death of the Author?

Roland Barthes's famous essay "The Death of the Author" (1967) is a meditation on the rules of author and reader as mediated by the text. Barthes's essential argument is that the author has no sovereignty over his own words (or images, sounds, etc.) that belong to the reader who interprets them. When we encounter a literary text, says Barthes, we need not ask ourselves what the author intended in his words but what the words themselves actually say. Text employ symbols which are deciphered by readers, and since function of the text is to be read, the author and process of writing is irrelevant.

"The death of the author" notion means that meaning is not something retrieved or discovered, having been there all the while, but rather something spontaneously generated in the process of reading a text, which is an active rather than passive action. Barthes does not intend to suggest that the death of the author lets any reader read any text any way he or she like (though others aside from Barthes perused this line of thought). What Barthes is suggesting is that reading always involves at least a little bit of writing or rewriting of the text's meaning.

Barthes's "The Death of the Author" is an attack on traditional literary criticism that focused too much on trying  to retrace the author's intentions and original meaning in mind. Instead Barthes asks us to adopt a more text oriented approach that focuses on the interaction of the reader, not the writer, with it. This means that the text is much more open to interpretation, much more fluid in its meaning than previously thought. (Fisher, 2017)

Recently, the term had shifted more in the modern era, whereas it taken a stronger stance in a sense: "Death of the Author is a concept from mid-20th Century literary criticism; it holds that an author's intentions and biographical facts (the author's politics, religion, etc) should hold no special weight in determining an interpretation of their writing." (TVtropes, 2010)

Some people argue that the author’s words are a Word of God and should be taken to absolute truth. I.e some fans created “headcanons” on existing series that goes against the original canon, and Death of the Author holds no merits on basic facts such as characters’ themselves and the world they inhabitant in.



Topic Discussion: 

Should author have the final say of their works, even after it is completed, or should the fans just go how they feel, regardless of the author's feeling or thoughts on the manner? Even if their statements contradicted their actual works? In other words, should the reader's interpretations holds equal, valid consideration just as the author? Or there’s somewhere in between?

An example is this:

JK Rowling declared that Dumbledore was gay and always been that way in the Harry Potter books. However, fans argued otherwise that such notion was never hinted nor expanded upon in the books. Should Rowling's words be considered be all, end all, or should fans simply choose to ignored her statements if they feel the opposite, regardless of Rowling's intentions?
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