Roland Barthes and "The Death of the Author": Background information when reading Some Trick

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Some Trick

Thirteen Stories

by Helen DeWitt

Some Trick by Helen DeWitt X
Some Trick by Helen DeWitt
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  • Published:
    May 2018, 224 pages

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Lisa Butts
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Roland Barthes and "The Death of the Author"

This article relates to Some Trick

In DeWitt's story "Famous Last Words," two characters argue over the interpretation of an essay by Roland Barthes called "The Death of the Author," and whether its message is still relevant for writers.

Roland Barthes was a French philosopher and literary critic. He was born in 1915 in Cherbourg, France and attended the Sorbonne where he studied literature, linguistics, and Greek tragedy. He went on to become a respected professor, teaching at the French Institute in Bucharest, the University of Alexandria in Egypt, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, among others. He was also a celebrated author, penning texts on topics ranging from love to art to semiotics (the study of signs and meaning).

Some of Barthes' most influential texts include A Lover's Discourse, Mythologies, and the essay "The Death of the Author."

"The Death of the Author" was first published in 1967 in American and French literary journals, and gained widespread popularity among students participating in...

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