The Scriptor on Holiday:
‘The Death of the Author’ and Contemporary American Poetry Cover Image
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The Scriptor on Holiday: ‘The Death of the Author’ and Contemporary American Poetry
The Scriptor on Holiday: ‘The Death of the Author’ and Contemporary American Poetry

Author(s): Gardner Calum
Subject(s): Philosophy, Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Universitatea Petrol-Gaze din Ploieşti
Keywords: Barthes; ‘The Death of the Author’; Silliman;Dodie Bellamy; Harryette Mullen;language poetry; New Narrative; experimental poetry;

Summary/Abstract: The influence of Barthes’s ‘The Death of the Author’ is generally supposed to be supreme – it is quoted, in abbreviated and sometimes distorted forms, at every level of literary studies, in the prosecution of all kinds of argument from the general to the particular and from theory to practice, and its reputation and importance has arguably been greater in the Anglophone world. This essay looks at the importance of ‘The Death of the Author’ for English-language avant-garde poetics, considering how successful poets have been at functioning as ‘modern scriptors’ rather than authors and how far they accept this position. The article takes a range of examples: Ron Silliman, and his practice within the context of Language poetry; prose poet Dodie Bellamy, and with her the ‘New Narrative’ writers, often considered as standing opposed to Language poetry; and Harryette Mullen, whose work in Sleeping with the Dictionary (2002) and Recyclopedia (2006) seems to enact Barthes’s description of an ‘immense dictionary […] a tissue of signs, endless imitation, infinitely postponed’. Synthesizing these disparate approaches, the article will offer an account of the state of post-Barthes poetics and consider if – and if so, in what ways – the contemporary poet is still an author.

  • Issue Year: VII/2017
  • Issue No: 01
  • Page Range: 103-115
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: English