Barthes Death of the Author is a highly influential work and to this still persists with the ideas that are proposed within this work are still debated and circulated to this day. It champions the notion of subjectivity and open interpretation within a work and challenges the assumption that the author is the be all end all of the work’s meaning. While this idea has been debated and challenged all over the place and indeed within my previous writings I’d like to think about how this fits in when the author plays with perspective and goes in within the intent to deceive?
By this I mean works that are not so linear in their narrative and the characters themselves are unreliable. Like in such works as Rashomon, Fight Club, Citizen Kane, and tons of other works with multiple perspective or that are told unconventionally such as in media res? These works almost by nature invite open interpretation are the author’s word is usually left ambigious. Should we search for authorial intention in this case or should we carve our own meaning from these texts? Should we examine the characters themselves as if they were real or should we take a more allegorical approach and try interpret the message the author is trying to communicate?
There is also the assertion going around that Literature is performative. If we go by this interpretation that Literature is performative then it could be said that the characters are actors or that the author himself is playing every role since every character in a sense speaks with his voice since he must come up with the dialogue himself. But within every other performative art the individual actor colors the role in his own interpretation and performance such as Sean Connery, Patrick Stewart and Sir Laurence Olivier bring their own unique energy and spin to Shakespeare. Wherein does the intepretaive unique art of performance come into Literature if not in the audience? When a reader reads Frankenstein, within his imagination Dr. Frankenstein probably has a different voice, different mannerisms and different subtlties to his performance than the author and other readers. Does that not make the reader as much an actor and give him a bit part in directing if the performance of literature takes place commences solely within the reader’s mind?