Steve Blackwell: As a minor follow-up to the detailed post by Jim Twiggs this morning..., I'd like to draw attention to a still earlier incarnation of the "Death of the Author" phenomenon.  The 19th-Century French psychologist/philosopher/critic Hippolyte Taine produced what I believe was the primordial version of the author's death...
JM: What led me at first onto the dead author theme were a couple of "marginal finds"*,  in particular the first chapter of Michael Wood's "The Magician's Doubts." His sentence  about Nabokov, itself ("He became a memory; disappeared into his name, rhyming with `cough' "), is reminscent of Barthes 1968 essay. When I made a comparison between a book as a life,  and Nabokov's vision of  "cradle above an abyss," I must have remembered something in a similar spirit extracted from Barthes's essay which I'd read a long time ago and had it superseded by a different proposition, from "Le Plaisir du Texte." when, if not authors, at least "editors" (!) were important to keep reader-response sharp and to the point ( I'm stretching the idea, of course). 
I couldn't access any confirmation about another predecessor of Barthes', at the time he wrote his essay, but it seems that in 1932 an American writer named Joseph Warren Beach first mentioned "exit the author," in one of his articles. I suppose that what he intended to demonstrate was unlike what Barthes set down. Do you know about what he intended to demonstrate, Steve? 
* Cf. Nab-L posting n.43, nov.2010
Search the archive Contact the Editors Visit "Nabokov Online Journal"
Visit Zembla View Nabokv-L Policies Manage subscription options

All private editorial communications, without exception, are read by both co-editors.