Saturday, 29 October 2011

Reborn!



The death of the author...?

Rebirth of the Author
Sunday 30 October, 12.30pm until 1.30pm, Henry Moore Gallery Lunchtime Debates, Royal College of Art

Tomorrow I am one of the panellists on this at the Battle of Ideas. There is the new idea of Intentism as expounded by artist Vittorio Pelosi among others, but there is also John Sutherland and Dolan Cummings, with Angus Kennedy in the chair. All this to be discussed at lightning speed.

I see I am leading off...



7 comments:

Mr. Philoctetes Digressius said...

Michel Foucault's "What Is An Author?" was one of the seminal pieces of literary criticism that formed many of my thoughts in my mid-20s; I was still referring to it while taking PhD. courses. (I was as strongly influenced by "The Father's No," "Nietzsche, Genealogy, History," and "Theatrum Philosophicum.") It would be quite an accomplishment if this idea of Intentism can be as powerful as Foucault's inspiring demolition of all we thought we knew and could, thereby, trust.

Gwil W said...

Ceci n'est pas une pipe

I don't think you can pin an author down to meaning. Reading the first 50 pages of Thomas Bernhard's novel Frost for example will mean something different to every reader. In fact I believe there are as many meanings and opinions as there are readers and therefore writers who take old works down new avenues and alleyways.

Good luck. Sure to be enjoyable.

looby said...

Foucault's undoubtedly massive contribution to the theory of knowledge is slightly undermined for me by the fact that I never want to live through the relativistic age he spawned where people became fearful of ever making a positive statement.

John Sutherland? Don't ask him out for a drink afterwards. That's not meant to be mean - I was rivetted by his series in the Guardian a while ago about trying to hold his lecturing job together whilst drinking 5% of the French wine output every year.

looby said...

Live again, sorry.

Anonymous said...

he's not dead; he's just shagged out after a long squawk...

George S said...

The Intentist piece at the intended centre of the debate is linked to in the blog. Worth reading. I don't think it will supplant Foucault for now, but I do quite see Looby's dissatisfaction with relativity, well, relatively speaking anyway. The discussion didn't lead to any firm conclusion and the audience's interventions led into many different directions as they were probably bound to. The total effect is less Berlin Philharmonic, more Cornelius Cardew (not politically, musically).

The trouble - not just with the discussion but to some degree with the Intentism paper - is that there isn't a fine enough distinction between terms like intention / decision / responsibility / authority, or indeed between the various possible kinds of intention. In the end (I think) there is a danger of saying that anything you care to name can count as intention.

The paper does try but I suspect it shows too much faith in our capacity to understand each other and that it doesn't take quite enough account of the active part medium (which does not belong to the author) plays in not only modifying intention but in positively surprising the author. So while it wants to restore authority to the writer rather sign over the work entirely to the reader, it finds it quite difficult to pin down the author. Which, in my judgment, is no bad thing, because once the author does pin down the author it really is the death of the author.

But that is essentially an academic argument affecting chiefly students and potential future writers. For the common reader of the common novel trusting to the common review in the common journal, the author continues to be central, Look at that pretty face on the book jacket. See! That author is not only alive but hot!

Gwil W said...

Good morning George. Thanks yet again for being my muse. Small piece on my blog today about fresh bread. Haiku and intentism!