I didn’t know this was an actual theory…

Death of the Author is a concept from the field of literary criticism which holds that an author’s intentions and biographical facts (the author’s politics, religion, etc) should hold no weight when coming to an interpretation of his or her writing; that is, that a writer’s interpretation of his own work is no more valid than the interpretations of any of the readers. The logic is fairly simple: Books are meant to be read, not written, and so the ways readers interpret them are more important and “real” than the ways writers write them. There are also the more practical facts that a lot of authors are not available or not willing to comment on their intentions, and even when they are, artists don’t always make choices for reasons that make sense or are easily explained to others—or, in some cases, even to themselves.”

– TV Tropes; read the rest here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeathOfTheAuthor

Beware when clicking the above link, you may find a huge chunk of time lost visiting this site.

  1. Nice! I subscribe to the idea that the “first read” of a book should be done this way. The work should stand on its own. However, if one is so inclined to break the book down via further academic study, I think the author’s life is a valid source.

    PS — I love TV Tropes! They distill storytelling in rather insightful ways.

    • Very true. Personally, I’m torn on my opinion of this concept. Readers’ interpretations of my own work have definitely given me new insights into the story and characters, and made me look at them in totally different ways. However, I know that most authors don’t put everything into a story that they envision in their head. It does help to know more about the author’s life to get a better perspective on the story. No matter how we try as writers, we can never be entirely unbiased in our writing, a bit of us will always make it in.

      Thank you for the comment! I love TV Tropes for that exact reason too.

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