A month or so ago I received an email from a poet/printer that I admire, and in that email he wrote:

[...] I want to say however how much I admire and value your enterprise - for me, the book has to stay alive, and while I appreciate the argument (I have other reasons for being forever grateful for some writings of Roland Barthes), the author has to stay alive also - for who benefits by the death of the author, of individuality, of specific agency - well, it's money, power, and monopolistic enterprise of every sort [...]

And I realized that he had a good point—the "death of the author" is a dangerous idea. I realized that in my, shall we say, postmodern zeal I had dismissed the author entirely, had not looked at the concept critically, and had not, very importantly, examined how that concept is playing out today in the cultural field. A regular reader of this blog (if such an angel exists) would know that the work of NewLights is deeply concerned with the problem(s) of making. In fact, it is that activity of making, that problem, the risk and danger of it, the absurdity of it, the absolute necessity of it, that drives the whole enterprise. So there is something worth recovering in the idea of authorship, at least of authorship in the sense of “one who makes things.” But there are aspects of authorship worth shedding as well—that are necessary to shed—namely its links to authority and the power that denies the very act of authorship.

And of course where there is danger, there is something at stake, and that is where the interesting discussions are.

Mr. Beckett, via Mr. Foucault, provides our title for this series. The full quote:
What matter who’s speaking, someone said, what matter who’s speaking.

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