English 100

Junior Seminar: The Author in the Text

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
13 Fall 2004 Picciotto, Joanna M
Picciotto, Joanna
TTh 3:30-5 221 Wheeler
Other Readings and Media

Richard Sylvester (ed.), Anchor Anthology of Sixteenth-Century Verse; John Milton, Samson Agonistes; John Bunyan, Grace Abounding; Erin Mackie (ed.), The Commerce of Everyday Life: Selections from the Tatler and the Spectator; Frances Burney, Evelina; Jane Austen, Persuasion; John Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror; Roland Barthes, A Lover's Discourse; Kazuo Ishiguro, The Unconsoled; a course reader with additional poetry and theoretical essays.


"Reading across a wide historical and generic range, we will explore how literary works conceive of their creators. Whether presented as a literal ""expression""-a symptom of melancholia, lovesickness, or religious ecstasy-as an extension of the author's senses, or as an entire world pervaded by authorial omnipresence, every text has an implied author, with which the actual author may identify but to which he is not identical. This author in the text, however, inevitably shapes our impression of the author of the text. We will try to sharpen our sense of the relationship between ideal authors and their real-world counterparts by tracking the comings and goings of the author's body and the scene of literary composition, from the Renaissance lyric ""I,"" through personae like Mr. Spectator and the Female Spectator, to their disappearance and redistribution in epistolary narration and free indirect discourse, i.e., the novel. We'll end by considering a few recent texts in which the author appears in a self-portrait as variously populated as the world. Throughout the course we will reflect on the role of the author in our own work as well, paying close attention to how our choice of terms (work versus text, intention versus strategy) modifies the kinds of assertions we make as critics."

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