For Michel Foucault , the author is a function present in some discourses, he is represented by the proper name (of the author), separated from the empirical subject; and being a function of discourse, "it allows regrouping a certain number of texts, delimiting them, excluding some, opposing them to others". [ 1 ]
The notion of author has been transformed over time due to different historical practices and literary criticism and literary theory ; [ 2 ] the conception we have of it today; it has its origins in the Renaissance ; and it is related to terms of originality , authority , and property moral or intellectual and economic.
The term comes from the Latin auctor, -ōris , "augmenter, producer, creator, author, father, grandfather, ancestor, founder". [ 3 ]
Albert Lord notices the anachronistic awareness that one can have about an author of classical antiquity , especially if it is emphasized that poetry at that time was mainly transmitted through orality. Consequently, from the time Lord claims that the performance of poetry, at the time of recitation, was traditional and individual. The poet inherited the linguistic forms, themes, and techniques of tradition. And each realization was equivalent to a new composition, while it was unique. [ 4 ]
For his part, Gregory Nagy assures that each singer was, at the same time, co-author of the poem: each singer was adding something new to the composition . The poets, while moving away from the moment of creation, mythologized the "original" poets; and, in this way, the identity of the poet (inventor) was absorbed by the mythification that was made about him, and this mythification at the same time legitimized the poems and poets (singers) of a tradition. Homer would be, then, the name that the Homeridai tradition would use to authorize itself; and the name of the author would be the imitation of his figure. The result of this action was that, if the author did not exist, society invents him out of necessity to believe in a unitive origin. [ 5]
For Nagy, in pre-classical Greece, the poet or singer was synonymous with the seer. Whereas in classical Greece there is a distinctive break: the poet becomes a craftsman of words while the singer remains the divinely inspired seer. And in the post-classical stage of Greek culture the poet was thought of as someone who had access to divine inspiration, on the one hand, and as a craftsman who had power over words, history, and rhetoric, on the other. The poet, enlightened by the divine, was left out of society, was despised or misunderstood by the public. This conception of a man of letters "enlightened" and removed from the world would survive in the unconscious of Western culture, and would re-emerge in Romanticism . [ 6 ]
Plato makes considerations about the poet in the dialogues Ion, Phaedrus and Lysis . As poetry was the expression of the muses or the divine, the poet was beside himself, and did not use his reason, did not even have access to true knowledge (episteme), but could hardly have a true opinion (eudaxia). [ 7 ] [ 8 ] Then Plato , in Book X of The Republic , considers that the author, while imitating reality, departs twice the truth - and therefore poets should be expelled from his Republic. [ 9 ] AristotleIn his Poetics , he considered a work to be artistic, as it made a mimesis of reality. This means that the artistic was different from the natural and the artificial. The natural had in its essence the four causes (efficient, final, matter and formal) of its "acting" or becoming. In the artificial one of the four causes has been modified by man. And the artistic, to the extent that it was mimetic, only appeared to be, but they were not; obviously thanks to human intervention. [ 10 ]
Gérard Genette speaks of lyrical non-mimetic works, in which the author expressed himself. Compositions in verse, clearly differentiated by their form from other uses of the language, such as common speech. [ 11 ]
Saint Jerome characterized the author as a certain constant level of value, as a certain field of conceptual or theoretical coherence, as a stylistic unit, and as a definite historical moment and point of confluence of a certain number of events. [ 12 ]
The Franciscan friar Buenaventura de Fidanza listed four roles that the subject could adopt when writing a book. The scriptor was the copyist who did not add or change anything; the compilator compiled passages whose authorship did not belong to him; later, the commentator could add comments to texts that were not his own; and, finally, there was the auctor who wrote, first, his words and, second, those of others, which were useful to confirm his own. Buenaventura graduates the fact of copying, on the one hand, and writing (inventing), on the other, without establishing opposition in the actions, as we would currently conceive them. [ 13 ]
AJ Minnis considers another meaning for the medieval auctor: the author, having deeply specialized, had a privileged identity: he had authority (auctoritas) and honor, his authority could come to be considered divine. However, these dignities were not attributed to contemporaries, but to authors of classical antiquity, for being the founders of disciplines of knowledge. In this sense, author was not for whom he wrote, but for whom he should read. [ 14 ]
Vernacular writers began to want to be recognized as authors. To be so, they must have shown great eloquence, and therefore were read as inheritors of a tradition. By the 14th century, in order to have their individuality recognized, writers began to name their works, to call themselves poets, and to take responsibility for the stories they told. Andrew Bennett sees the first vestiges of the conception of authorship in Geoffrey Chaucer . [ 15 ]
Modernity: construction of the notion of author
The notion of author, as we know it today, arose in the Renaissance , where unlike the Middle Ages or antiquity, the author was first conceived as the responsible creator and origin of his work. The new conception arises with the change of the episteme (Foucauldian notion), by which human reason begins to search for the material origin of things; This change is accompanied by other transformations, such as the dignity of profane literature and the new emphasis on the individual.
I have never seen a father, however weak, hunchbacked and full of ailments his son was, who did not consent to recognize him as such; and it is not that he does not see his blemishes, unless love blinds him, but because it has given him being. Thus I see better than the others that these pages are nothing but the ramblings of a man who has only penetrated the most superficial part of the sciences and that in his childhood, not having retained from them but a little of everything, nothing in conclusion, French.
Different critics have highlighted the importance of the emergence of the printing press in shaping the modern notion of the author, the way of circulating texts changed and this influenced the literary system in general, and it was due to this new mode of circulation that copyright would arise , where the author as responsible for his work felt the need at the same time to protect it, in texts that had a completely different scope from that of medieval manuscripts. Mark Rose even ranks property as the modern author's main feature. [ 16 ]
The transformations of the Renaissance led to the advent of a new series of values and worldviews at the end of the 17th century. In the classicist panorama, with its doctrine supported by the power of human reason and where the emancipation of literature and profane flowering was increasingly stronger, the exaltation of the "man of letters" was reached, whose main function was the exercise of philosophical reason.
The notion of author in the century of lights was already constituted in a broad classification called “gens de lettres” that included philosophers, sages and writers for the general public; what the intellectual would be today . [ 17 ]
Literary writers, for their part, had to configure their works according to the taste of the aristocracy: neoclassical humanism ; since it sought to separate his tastes from the rest of the people. Aristocratic patrons could influence the compositions they sponsored to their liking. Whereas, in the Elizabethan era , theatrical authors enjoyed greater freedom because they had to respond to the demands of many directors and audiences. [ 18 ]
Gradually and thanks to the foundation of academies, the emergence of copyright and the development of the publishing field, the literary field was gaining autonomy in order to consecrate the figure of the writer as a new spiritual authority, as Jean- François de La Harpe : "is one whose main profession is to cultivate reason, to increase that of others." [ 19 ]
Another important aspect that Andrew Bennett would highlight is that the ideas of originality and of the author as responsible and guarantor of his work, are strengthened when "authorship becomes financially and legally viable." [ 20 ]
The Romanticism was a cultural movement that opposed the aesthetic canons of Enlightenment , there was a paradigm shift that focused on the subjective qualities of man as feelings and imagination; and it gave these a statute of greater importance. Through imagination, the poet accessed superior and divine truths and, at the same time, had the power to create worlds that dialogued and transformed with and the outside world. [ 21 ]
Simultaneously with the autonomization of the intellectual field, the authors sought to liberate themselves from the limitations that the public's taste could cause them in the creative process. That is to say, the object of literature, of the literary circuit, must be specialized. Some even despised popular taste. This rupture intensified in Romanticism and reached its height at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 21st, with the emergence of the avant-gardes and the ideal of art for art's sake. In such a way that the writers were assumed as independent creators and autonomous geniuses.
I have no particular wish for anyone except my acquaintances to think that the author is better than his imaginary characters.Lord Byron, The Corsair
Percy B. Shelley spoke of poets as legislators and prophets, since they revealed, through their poetry, the rules by which the world was ordered:
A poet understands and essentially unites these two characters, because he not only contemplates the present as it is, and discovers those laws in accordance with which present things must be ordered, but he contemplates in the present his future, and his thoughts are the germ. of the flower and the fruit of the last times.Percy B. Shelley , Defense of Poetry
Contemporary times: the author and the critic
The literary criticism and art criticism modern have questioned the concept of author to consider that any work collectively created, both from whom originates first as by those who interpret it , and the whole context that has made possible. Historically, the idea of author has changed in scope. In the oral tradition of antiquity , the stories were considered part of the tradition or inspired by gods, and the material authors only transmitted one version. For centuries, the authors have remained anonymous and only from the Modern Age and especially in Romanticism, claimed his role as his own personality capable of engendering a unique and original work.
In legal terms, an author is any person who creates a work capable of being protected with copyright . Generally, the term refers not only to the creators of novels , plays and treaties , but also those who develop computer programs , available data in phonebooks , elaborate choreography of dance , and also includes photographers , sculptors , painters , singer-songwriters , songwriters (distinguishing him from the creator of themusic , who is called a composer ), as well as those who record sounds and translate books from one language to another, etc.
According to the legislation in force in several countries, if there is a co-authorship, this means that there will also be a community on the copyright of the work created. The co-authors are considered as "joint holders", each conserving an independent right to license and use, as long as they are accountable to the other co-authors about any possible gain, insofar as their contribution is susceptible to separation from the work. common; otherwise, they must act in concert.
When the intellectual field becomes autonomous, your product becomes more specific and is marked by its aesthetic and economic value. Both aspects mark the place of its agents and their relationships. That is, relationships and their members are formed in relation to the inside and outside of the intellectual field (intellectuals and the public, the latter not always reflected in the market). The authors were not exempt from receiving opinions, since the opinions could guarantee the economic autonomy of the authors.
So, the artistic work has a double value (simultaneously): artistic and economic. And the evaluations that are given to the work outside the literary field depend on the evaluations that are made inside, on the competition for cultural legitimacy, which is not equivalent to success in the market. [ 22 ]
The work demands to be recognized based on the purity of artistic intentionality. The common public, therefore, will not be able to have direct access to the work, and will need the mediation of the critic. The author's name is a representation of the evaluation and judgment of an artist's work, built by the acceptance, rejection, consumption and interpretation that the public and critics have towards the work. The artist will always accept, reject or differ from such a representation, but can never ignore it. Thus, it is shown that society intervenes in the creative project, because the artist will position himself, through his work, against the judgment that has been made of him. [ 23 ]
Pierre Bourdieu assures that in the creative project it is implicit that the goal of the artist is to be recognized. And the interpretations that are made of his work, as well as its diffusion or rejection, can be assumed as successes or defeats. In this way, the artist, during the composition of a work, must dialogue, on the one hand, with an internal logic to the work and the intellectual field, and, on the other, must respond (accepting, rejecting or modifying) the demands , external, social. [ 24 ]
The authors have analyzed the reception they have had from other authors (contemporary or previous to them), and based on that they build their "originality", that is, what makes them different and innovative. To take a position (of acceptance or rejection) regarding the image that critics, editors and the public have built on them, authors can become schools or movements, in a certain sense, identify with an imposed identity, and, at the same time, they lead the public and critics to find the similarities that might exist between them. [ 25 ]
Theory about the author
Barthes and "The Death of the Author"
Roland Barthes criticizes the modern tendency to study literature always in relation to the author of different works; visible trend in literary stories, literature manuals, criticism, interviews with authors and the constant production of their biographies. The author, as a modern character, is the element that dominates the literary system, since every explanation of literature is sought in its figure, its vices, its history, etc.
For Barthes, the notion of writing in literature can no longer be conceived as a function in which language confirms “something”, in literature we are faced with a performative statement . By conceiving writing as intransitive, he places language as the protagonist of literature and no longer the author: "it is the language, and not the author, who speaks."
The origin of a work is not in the most personal dimension of its author, but in “a space of multiple dimensions in which various writings are agreed and contrasted, none of which is the original: the text is a fabric of quotations from the thousand foci of culture ”. The meaning of a work, or the meanings that writing establishes, can no longer be sought in a person, in its author, since the one who gathers the multiplicity contained in literary texts is the reader:
the birth of the reader is paid for with the death of the AuthorRoland Barthes , "The Death of the Author
Michel Foucault and the function-author
Michel Foucault makes an analysis that goes beyond The Death of the Author , declared by Roland Barthes and apparently accepted by modern critics. In What is an author? , Foucault wonders what are the implications of the verification and looks for the places where the figure remains, hence he speaks of the function-author, since as a notion separate from the empirical subject, it is still present at different levels of discourses.
In his study, he gives an account of four locations or places where the author function is exercised:
- The name of the author. It is a proper name and it is more than a simple design, an indication and a description. It has a classifying function, where a name groups together a certain number of texts, delimits them and excludes others.
- Appropriation relationship. Texts began to have authors when the speech was granted the power of transgression and it was then necessary to punish the author. The discourses that have the author-function are objects of appropriation.
- Attribution relationship. The function-author is not the same in all cultures or in all times, much less in all discourses. Today the author has been established as "the original place of writing" and it is the one that allows to explain elements of literary works, resolve contradictions or find answers to the questions that a work may refer. The attribution relationship can be seen as influenced by Christian exegesis , with the four criteria of Saint Jerome as the main example.
- Author's position. In a text there are different signs that refer to the author, such as pronouns, declensions of verbs, etc. Such indicators do not refer to the real writer but to the alter ego and it is in the split of the alter ego with the writer that the author function is found.
Unlike discourses of another nature, such as scientific ones, literary discourses are completely endowed with the author-function, on the other hand, the author-function occurs in different ways in different cultures and has been transformed over time. Michel Foucault recognizes other types of authors who are not only the creators of a text, but also the creators of a discipline, a theory or a tradition. I would call these authors "founders of discursivity." [ 26 ]
They are not only the authors of his works, of his books. They produced something else: the possibility and the rule of formation of other texts.Michel Foucault , What is an author?
Characters like Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx are founders of discursivity, from them it is possible to make analogies or mark differences but always in relation to their founding speech. Theoretical validity in a proposition, within psychoanalysis , for example, is always defined in relation to Freud's findings. This is what makes them different from scientific discourses, because “the reexamination of Galileo's text may well change the knowledge we have of the history of mechanics , it can never change mechanics itself. On the other hand, the reexamination of Freud's texts modifies psychoanalysis itself, and those of Marx, Marxism ”. [ 27]
- Foucault, Michel. What is an author? Buenos Aires: Literal Editions, 2010, p. twenty.
- From Teresa Ochoa, Adriana. "The role of the author in literary circulation", in Circulations: trajectories of the literary text , Adriana de Teresa Ochoa (coord.), Mexico: UNAM / Bonilla Artigas Editores, 2010, p. 106
- Blánquez Fraile, Agustín. Latin-Spanish, Spanish-Latin Dictionary . Barcelona: Ramón Sopena, 1988, p. 217
- Bennett, Andrew, The author, Oxford: Routledge, 2005, p. 33
- Bennett, Andrew; On. cit . p. 35
- Bennett, Andrew; On. cit ., p. 35
- Bennett, Andrew; On. cit ., p. 37
- De Teresa, Adriana, Op. cit., pp. 107-108.
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- Aristotle, Poetics , Mexico: A Mexican Roman login, 2ª ed., 2000.
- Genette, Gerard, Fiction and diction , Spain: Lumen, 1993, p. twenty-one
- Foucault, Michel Op. cit ., p. 64
- Bennett, Andrew, Op. cit ., p. 39.
- Bennett, Andrew, Op. cit ., p. 40.
- Bennett, Andrew, Op. cit ., p . 43.
- Rose, Mark. Authors and Owners. The Invention of Copyright. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1994, p.1
- Bénichou, Paul. The Coronation of the Writer 1750-1830. Essay on the advent of a secular spiritual power in modern France . Mexico: Economic Culture Fund, 1981, p. 22
- Bourdieau, Pierre. Power field, intellectual field , Montressor, 2002, p. 10.
- Bénichou, Op. cit ., p. 28.
- Bennett, Andrew. On. Cit ., P. 51.
- De Teresa, Adriana, Op.cit ., Pp. 114.
- Bourdieu, Pierre, Op. cit . p. 31
- Bordieu, Pierre, Op. cit . p. 25
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- Bordieu, Pierre, Op. cit . p. 31
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- From Teresa Ochoa, Adriana. "The role of the author in literary circulation" in Circulations: trajectories of the literary text , Adriana de Teresa Ochoa (coord.), Mexico: UNAM / Bonilla Artigas Editores, 2010.
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- Genette, Gerard, Fiction and diction . Spain: Lumen, 1993.
- Montaigne, Michel de. Selected essays . Mexico: UNAM, 1983.
- Plato, The Banquet: Phaedo and Phaedrus . Madrid: Guadarrama, 1969, [Translation and introduction by Luis Gil].
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- Rose, Mark. Authors and Owners. The Invention of Copyright. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1994.
- Shelley, Percy B. Defense of Poetry . Barcelona: Peninsula, 1986.