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What Is an Author?

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Title: What Is an Author?  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault, Dispositif, Genealogy (philosophy), Foucauldian discourse analysis
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

What Is an Author?

What is an Author? is an influential lecture given by French philosopher, sociologist and historian Michel Foucault on literary theory[1]

The work considers the relationship between author, text, and reader; concluding that:

“The Author is a certain functional principle by which, in our culture, one limits, excludes and chooses: (…) The author is therefore the ideological figure by which one marks the manner in which we fear the proliferation of meaning.”

For many, Foucault's lecture responds to Roland Barthes' essay Death of the Author.

External links

  • (French) Michel Foucault et la fonction-auteur dans "Qu'est-ce qu'un auteur?"
  • Translation of Foucault's "What is an Author?"


  1. ^ Michel Foucault: "What is an Author?" by Professor Mary Klages, English Dept., University of Colorado.
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