For Foucault, as for Roland Barthesthe notion of the author must come into question. The system that produced the author function is a system of ownership and, by the end of the 18th century, the author was placed at the center of a system of property. Like Barthes, Foucault was acting against Structuralism or a formal reading of a literary work and was opposed to the concept of expression, a holdover of Romantic thinking. Writing was identified with its own unfolded exteriorly—an interplay of signs arranged to the nature of signifiers.
Foucault is not interested in the author as a person. Most readers today, despite Foucault, continue to Most readers today, despite Foucault, continue to view the author as in this pre-critical humanist way. They care about the life of the author, for example, and believe that the author is the ultimate authority when it comes to determining meaning in a given literary work.
Instead of seeing the author simply as a person who writes, Foucault sees authorship as a function of the writing itself. Foucault identifies multiple functions of the author: Author as a legal construction, connected to questions of heresy, slander, and libel.
Today, we might focus on the importance of the author to copyright laws and charges of plagiarism.
Author as a literary construction, connected to questions of literary merit. Author as a unifying construction, allowing seemingly very different texts to be unified under a single concept and allowing new texts to be evaluated against old texts for consistency of quality. Naming Homer as the author of both the Iliad and the Odyssey, for example, allows us to overlook the obvious differences between those two works and to read them as closely related texts that express deeply held values of the ancient Greeks.
Simply put, this function shows our belief that authors are internally consistent:) is a lecture on literary theory given at the Collège de France on 22 February by French philosopher, sociologist and historian Michel Foucault.
 The work considers the relationship between author, text, and reader; concluding that. Subject: Image Created Date: 5/17/ PM. Jul 01, · Michel Foucault once asked the question: "What is an author?" In seeking to answer this question, Foucault said: "I want to deal solely with the relationship between text and author and with the manner in which the text points to this figure that, at least in appearance, is outside it and antecedes it.".
What Is an Author?
Michel Foucault, The coming into being of the notion of "author" constitutes the privileged moment of individualization in the history . In his text What is an Author, Foucault makes several arguments as to what characteristics are needed to establish an individual as an author.
An ordinary “discourse” given from one individual to another does not constitute authorship. The main point reiterated throughout the text is the idea of. Foucault pointed to exceptions to his assertion that the author is an ideological construct and made note of transdiscursive writers, such as Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud and Ann Radcliffe, all of whom established paradigms or what Foucault called “discursive instaurations.”.