What is an Author
Author is an organising device to group certain texts together. We ascribe a certain unity to all the works written by the same author. We assume that the author is the source of the text and search for him when we want to interpret it. The name of the author must remain at the contour of the text. Foucault claims that each individual has the capacities that literary criticism attributes to the authors. The author is only one of the possible specifications of the subject. Prior to 1500 anonymous texts were the norm and they could be interpreted. The name of the author is a variable that is present only in certain texts (a letter, a novel, but a contract). In the Middle Ages the name of the author was written in scientific texts, not in literary ones. Now it’s the opposite. The author is a mark of prestige: copyright. It is not simply a reference, o a certain extent it is the equivalent of a description. The function of an author is to characterize the existence and operation of certain discourses within a society. There are two kinds of authors: those who are initiators of discursive practices (Freud, Marx) who are not in relation to a science, but science relates to them, and those founders of scientific endeavours (Saussure). The author explains the presence of certain events within a text and their transformation.
· The author function is linked to the legal systems that determine the realm of discourse.
· It does not operate in the same way in all discourses, at all times or cultures.
· It is not defined by the spontaneous attribution of a text to its creator.
· It does not refer to an individual as it gives rise to a range of egos and subjective positions that individuals of any class can occupy.


Vigilar y castigar (1975)
La arqueología del saber (1968)
What is an author (1969)