Free Essay

What Is an Author

In: English and Literature

Submitted By amanijayleen
Words 542
Pages 3
What is an author?
According to Webster’s dictionary, an author is broadly described as "the person who originated or gave existence to anything" and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work and can also be described as a writer.
Michael Foucault’s intense and powerful essay, “What is an author?, claims that the author is not a person at all, but a “function” or “figure” which occurred in construction with literature , only after the Renaissance. Since it is a historical construct, Foucault argues, the author can also be deconstructed. His essay calls for putting an end to this figure altogether and for establishing a new and different way of dealing with literary texts. At least some of the shocking questionability of this view is only superficial. Foucault does not argue that one day we discovered that literature is composed by individuals. Rather, he claims that only at a specific time did literary writers come to be treated as authors.
The difference is essential. All texts have writers, but only some have authors. To treat writers as authors, therefore, is to take a particular attitude toward their texts: it is to ask of them a certain type of question and to expect a certain type of answer. This attitude, Foucault claims, consists in trying to establish what the author of a text meant by it. We study literary texts in order to determine this constant and philosophical intention and subsequently to recapture the state of mind that led to their production.
“Author” is a fairly loose term used to refer to anyone who uses communication. An author could be one person or many people. An author could be someone who uses writing (like in a book), speech (like in a debate), visual elements (like in a TV commercial), audio elements (like in a radio broadcast), or even tactile elements (as is used in making Braille) to communicate. Whatever authors create, authors are human beings whose particular activities are affected by their individual backgrounds. Many factors affect authors’ backgrounds. These can include age, gender, geographic location, ethnicity, cultural experiences, religious experiences, social standing, personal wealth, sexuality, political beliefs, parents, peers, level of education, personal experience, and others. All of these are powerful influences on what authors assume about the world, who their audiences are, what and how they communicate, and the settings in which they communicate. Gender, ethnicity, cultural experiences, sexuality, and wealth factors are especially important in analyzing rhetorical situations today. Many professionals in education, business, government, and non-profit organizations are especially aware of these specific factors in people’s lives.
Like the term “author,” the term “audience” is also a fairly loose term. “Audience” refers to any recipient of communication. Audiences can read, hear, see, or feel different kinds of communication through different kinds of media. Also like authors, audiences are human beings whose particular activities are also affected by their specific backgrounds. The same sorts of factors that affect authors’ backgrounds also affect audiences’ individual backgrounds. Most importantly, these factors affect how audiences receive different pieces of communication; what they assume about the author; and the context in which they hear, read, or otherwise appreciate what the author communicates.

Similar Documents

Free Essay

In Lord of the Flies, What Do the Characters and the Author Fear?

...In Lord of the Flies, the general boys, at first, are afraid of the unknown and deaths. After Jack becomes the chief and forms his tribe, Jack and Roger’s violence becomes the general fear. The main characters also have their own fears. Ralph and Piggy are afraid of the loss of civilisation, the collapse of law and order. Piggy is also afraid of the loss of democracy and not being able to see clear. Jack is afraid of being overpowered by the power of civilisation. Simon is afraid of savagery. For Golding, he is afraid of the evil human nature and people’s misunderstanding that evil is from elsewhere instead of within ourselves. He is also afraid that savagery would defeat civilisation as well as evil defeating goodness and dictatorship defeating democracy. In general, the boys’ fears can be divided into 2 parts, one is when they first get onto the island and the other one is after Jack has formed his tribe. The boys are afraid of the unknown. The boy with a mulberry birthmark on his face claims that there is a ‘snake’, or a ‘beastie’ as he later calls it, as early as in Chapter 2. When they first arrived at the island, everything is unclear and unsafe, and even overwhelming. The unstable situation arouses fear. It is the human instinct to be afraid of something that we do not know. The boy with a birthmark gives the fear of the unknown a more concrete image as a beast. The fear of the unknown is then turned into the fear of the beast. The boys are still rational when they......

Words: 2647 - Pages: 11

Free Essay

Engineer

...analyze and evaluate the book. WHAT A BOOK CRITIQUE SHOULD INCLUDE: There are many things you should do in a good book critique. How much attention you give to these different components of the critique may vary depending on the book you are analyzing. 1. Summarize the book. Yes, despite what I said above about the difference between a book report and a critique, you nonetheless need to do some summarizing in your critique. You need to describe what the book is about in enough detail that someone who hasn’t read the book has a clear idea of the topic the author is addressing, the parameters of the book, and how the book is organized. If you don’t give your reader some idea what the book is about, then you may lose your reader when you start analyzing the book. Note that a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book is not needed. A general summary of the main points will be sufficient. 2. Identify the author’s purpose. What does your author want to accomplish with this book? What audience is the book intended for? Your author may want to fill a gap in historical literature by examining a topic that other historians have neglected, or your author may have an interpretation of the chosen subject that differs substantially from previous books on the subject - your author is trying to accomplish something with the book; you need to figure out what it is! 3. Identify the author’s theme or themes. During the course of the book, the author will probably...

Words: 1195 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Book Critique

...analyze and evaluate the book. WHAT A BOOK CRITIQUE SHOULD INCLUDE: There are many things you should do in a good book critique. How much attention you give to these different components of the critique may vary depending on the book you are analyzing. 1. Summarize the book. Yes, despite what I said above about the difference between a book report and a critique, you nonetheless need to do some summarizing in your critique. You need to describe what the book is about in enough detail that someone who hasn’t read the book has a clear idea of the topic the author is addressing, the parameters of the book, and how the book is organized. If you don’t give your reader some idea what the book is about, then you may lose your reader when you start analyzing the book. Note that a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book is not needed. A general summary of the main points will be sufficient. 2. Identify the author’s purpose. What does your author want to accomplish with this book? What audience is the book intended for? Your author may want to fill a gap in historical literature by examining a topic that other historians have neglected, or your author may have an interpretation of the chosen subject that differs substantially from previous books on the subject - your author is trying to accomplish something with the book; you need to figure out what it is! 3. Identify the author’s theme or themes. During the course of the book, the author will probably...

Words: 1195 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Essay 2, Peer Eview

...are expected to complete these steps for at least one draft posted to your group’s Wiki by Monday, April 6 by midnight for possible five points credit. Be sure to answer the “Specific Questions” below the first ten questions here depending on which essay prompt you are reading for a draft. 1. Does the author/student have all of the “front matter” needed in the draft? (i.e, Does it give an author tag with the title of the poem in quotes or name of book in italics and name of film in italics being worked with in the essay, for example and the author(s) name of text being discussed in the first one or two sentences of introduction)? If this is information is missing, let the author know here and also provide an example please of how it could be better. 2. Are the introductory sentences attention-grabbing? If they are not attention-grabbing, please point out this to the author here and provide any suggestions. What is the issue being discussed? Do you understand immediately what the issue is about to be explored? Does it get your attention in the opening lines? Could an interesting question or quote be used? If this is information is missing, let the author know here and also provide an example please...

Words: 1738 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Vark

...one may use to understand and retain what they may have learned. Visual, aural, read/write, kinesthetic and multimodal are the different learning styles people use in everyday education. Everyone has a style of learning and up to 60% of people use more than one technique. There are different tricks for each style that if you learn the tricks it can make you more successful in everyday learning. The author of this paper took the sixteen question VARK questionnaire. This questionnaire evaluates what type of learning style you have and then gives you tips and guidance in how to be successful. The learning style that the questionnaire said the author was is multimodal. Multimodal means that one person uses all the learning styles. The author uses visual, aural, read/write and kinesthetic in everyday learning activities. “So multiple preferences give you choices of two or three or four modes to use for your learning and for your interaction with others” (Fleming, 2011). The VARK questionnaire appears to be accurate in this case. The author loves all types of learning especially when an instructor uses all styles in any given class together because it makes learning that subject very easy to learn, digest and retain. “In fact, the retention of learned material is enhanced if the learner is asked to process information using more than one sense” (Military 2011). Not all teachers can or do a multimodal learning style but when they do the author exceeds in the class. Visual aids,......

Words: 834 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Comparing

...“Constructing Gender Stereotypes Through Social Roles in Prime-Time Television,” written by Martha M. Lauzen, David M. Dozier, and Nora Horan, the three authors explore male and female roles on popular television shows on major broadcasting networks for the purpose of determining statistically whether or not normal male and female stereotypes are conveyed in prime-time television. Throughout this article, the authors make an argument they think is important, but in all reality, most readers would not find this information important enough to hold their full attention due to the complicated wording, biased examples, and the very repetitive information. The authors begin the article with a brief abstract which summarizes what it is the readers can expect from their article. The article is broken down into sections which separate the different topics that the authors are discussing. On the top of page 203 in the article, the authors clearly state, “Building on this previous research, the current study examines whether female and male characters continue to inhabit traditionally sex-typed roles. Such analysis is important in light of the fact that popular press accounts regularly boast about the rapid evolution of the portrayals of gender in prime-time” (Lauzen, Dozier, Horan p.203). When constructing their research, the authors used a variety of different sources to attempt to make their point clear to the reader including past and more current studies. The sources include......

Words: 1100 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Shays Rebelion

...Shays Rebellion Historiography Paper In 1786 Daniel Shay, a farmer, and former revolutionary war officer led two thousand other farmers and angry men to attempt to shut down the courts of the tyrannical government in three western counties in Massachusetts. This event has come to be known as Shays Rebellion. In 1784 a depression has arrived and began in Massachusetts after the state lost its best market, the British West Indies. Also the state legislature had to pay off revolutionary war debts, and since Britain was low on gold and silver coins, they would not accept paper money as a worthy currency. For this cause the state demanded taxes to pay off the debts. However at the bottom of the food chain, or cycle were the poor hard working farmers. None of the farmers could afford to pay off their taxes, and like other farmers in America, Massachusetts farmers were used to paying creditors and other farmers certain items. These items would include grain, wool, or sometimes, they would offer services such as shoeing a horse, or helping to build a barn. However the government demanded that everybody, including the poor farmers to pay taxes, and since this was foreign to the farmers, not a lot of farmers paid because they could not afford to. Another factor was since agriculture was low in Massachusetts, not a lot of farmers made much money. For this, poor farmers had meetings to discuss the way of the government. With it, Daniel Shay, a farmer and former Revolutionary war officer...

Words: 1420 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Book Review

...The The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left Handed Poems Assignment Test Object Thing(ness) 1. Read this (this thing 1 cm. below) P. J. O’Rourke, the political satirist, reviews in this issue a new book about Starbucks. He told us, in an e-mail exchange, how he brews his own reviews: “I read something I’m reviewing the same way I read other things except more so. That is, I already keep a commonplace book (a file folder, really) for quotations, ideas, information, etc. If I’m going to write a review I mark the work for myself, but besides underlining what interests me I also underline what — as far as I can tell — interested the author. By the time I’m done I have an outline for the review. All I have to do is figure out a smart-aleck lead sentence and a wiseacre ending.”[1] 2. Then read the “How to write a Book Review” article on the very next page. Yes, it is a bit long but the information is really quite good. 3. Over the week go to www.salon.com or to http://www.nytimes.com/pages/books read at least five reviews and then divide them into good and bad reviews. Think about the specific qualities that define the better ones. The article from step two of this process will be helpful at this point. At the end of the day a good book review sees an interesting pattern or spins your understanding of the book in a new and delightful way…and importantly is enjoyable to read (as a writer you need to have fun savaging the book, exploring it, dwelling on it,......

Words: 2230 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Eqteqt

...ANNOTATING WORKSHEET A Write out the answers/responses to these prompts in your spiral notebook. |If reading a new piece or a first chapter, what is the genre… and who is the audience… and why do you say that? | |What is the author’s main point? | |What arguments does the author use to support his/her point? | |How does the author appeal to Logos? | |How does the author appeal to Pathos? | |How does the author appeal to Ethos? | |How does all of this relate to your life? | ANNOTATING WORKSHEET B Write out the answers/responses to these prompts in your spiral notebook. |What kinds of appeals have been made in this article? Use examples! ......

Words: 825 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Audience Analysis

...one. Characteristics of an audience goes in many forms but the important factors to consider are: 1.) Analyzing who the audiences are, 2.) Understanding the knowledge the audiences know about the subject, 3.) What are the audiences age, gender, educational background, etc?, 4.) What’s at stake for the audience you are presenting, and 5.) What are your audiences are going to be learning or getting with your presentation. Touching on each of the above factors, this author knows who the audiences are and they are the company’s stakeholders. The author now knows that he has to present the quarterly sales information, not just effectively but with precision. The author must tell the stakeholders the honest truth of the company’s quarterly number even if it’s not pleasant. This is important because what he presents to them will impact what actions or non-action the stakeholders will conduct in months after the presentation. The audience knows about the subject; therefore, the author must be careful not to use words or lead the audience to something they are not familiar with. The author must explain everything in detail. There will be a mix of educational background and age in the audience and the author must use words or verbiage that all audience will understand. What managers and salespeople understand may not be true with the customers. The stakeholders are coming to hear the author’s presentation because everyone has a stake in...

Words: 1029 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Synthesis Essay

...sufficient. The process of this analysis may be difficult depending on what type of piece is being analyzed, e.g. visual or written. Many little details should be paid attention to when writing an analysis; it can be easy getting involved in the piece and not paying attention to the important aspects. Even though there are plenty parts to take into consideration, the three main parts that play a huge role in determining the adequacy of a piece are the author, audience, and purpose. The author is one of the main parts in understanding a piece of work. There are always two types of authors, the “actual author” and the “implied author.” Both are important; however, do not focus too much on the actual author, focus on the way the author presents themselves throughout their work. As described in Source C, Miller states that the implied author, the author the reader imagines, and actual author, the person(s) who wrote the text, are two different things. She even suggests that it would be much easier to make assertions about the implied author because to make assertions about the actual author, you need historical information on them. This is significant because gathering information on the actual author just wastes time when all the sufficient information you need on the author is in already there for you. This information shows the author’s implied self and everything they want to portray to their audience. An author also has many limitations, as said in Source D,......

Words: 880 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Titus Letter Analysis

...assumption that the author is a Christian who is not Paul and is writing about 75 years after Paul’s death. Throughout this letter analysis, I am going to cover four broad categories; who the intended audience for this letter was, who the author actually was, why the author chose to write this letter pseudepigraphically, and how the community might have responded to this letter. The text is addressed to Titus, but if this letter was written 75 years after Paul’s death, it can be deduced that this letter was written after Titus’ death as well. The community that received this letter was probably the same people of which the author was a part of, giving the author reason to write it. It is hard to say how the community discovered this letter because there are a variety of ways it could have happened. I feel the two most likely options were either that the author claimed he found a lost Pauline letter and presented it to the community or that the letter was mistakenly found by a member of the community. No matter how the letter was discovered, it is clear that the intended audience was facing many issues, including the qualifications to be an elder. The author writes on this issue in 1:6-9, providing the qualifications that one must have in order to be appointed an elder. The list includes living a blameless life, being a faithful husband, not being a heavy drinker, and many more. It also seems that this community is divided on the issue of circumcision. The author......

Words: 1741 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Healthcare Reform

...be declining the standard of living for Americans by | | |source. |increasing the cost of health insurance, increasing the amount of money | | | |middle class citizens pay to taxes, and diminishing the acceptance of | | | |Medicare and Medicaid, leaving elderly citizens with no health care. | | | | | |2 |Identify any examples of bias presented by the |I do not think I could pinpoint one exact example. I believe the whole | | |author. If none exist, explain how you...

Words: 1719 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Unit

...Unit 1 Discussion 2 1. What main argument (or claim) does the author make? What contradictions (if any) does the author make in her argument (or claim)? What competing claims (points of view other than the main one the author defends) appear in the essay? The main point the author makes is to not just pass students through school, make them earn it. The contradiction to her argument is that people blame outside influences, such as drugs and divorce for those in high school not academics seriously. I notice a theme of needed to hold people accountable. 2. What viewpoints may audience members have that oppose the author's main argument? What evidence is there that the author anticipates these opposing viewpoints that her audience members might hold? How does the author defend her argument against those opposing viewpoints? Young adults going through school should not have it held against them for outside influences that affect their academics. The author does anticipate these viewpoints and addresses them. She defends it by showing that after high school, the world is waiting for you, and that it does not cut you any slack because you run into issues that could affect your performance. 3. What assumptions does the writer's title carry? They are a teacher and should be well versed in the challenges facing students. Being a night school teacher also gives the assumption that they are very familiar with the aftermath for the student that is just passed along in......

Words: 523 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

American Freedoms for the Muslim World

...American Freedoms for the Muslim World As an American we are guaranteed certain rights, one of these rights is the freedom of speech, granted to us by our founding fathers, it is the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, it has since been used as a founding point for the Right to Freedom of Expression which is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in International Human Rights Law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).1 But is there a line that must be drawn? Are we truly ‘All entitled to our own opinion’ or is it true that ‘We are all entitled to our own opinion, the problem is when you share it with everyone else’? Social Media has always been a great opportunity to express one’s self, from the basics of printing your thoughts on paper for others to read, or to broadcast your voice over the air waves for people to hear, and with the invention of Television you can even share your facial expressions, gestures, and movements. However there has always been a limit to just how much you could express. There have always been ‘rules’ to follow, things that you just don’t put on the television, or the radio, things that you cannot print in the paper. But with the birth of the internet a brand new freedom immerged, suddenly and with great explosion anyone could express themselves in any manner they desired, and there are few ‘rules’ to regulate just how ‘free’ you can be. We see......

Words: 6644 - Pages: 27