Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

Do You Believe in Me?

Via Acephalous: my author function has been analysed! Critical Theory and the Academy, a course blog that provides the nucleus for several student blogs that explore major themes in critical theory, has assigned the following task this week:

First, you will discuss a specific point in Barthes’s “The Death of the Author” or Foucault’s “What is an Author?”. Second, you will venture out into blogworld, find a post on an academic/theory blog that discusses authorship (the author function in literature, blog authorship, pseudonymity, etc.) in some way, link to the post in your post, and offer commentary on the linked-to post. You may handle this in one long post or in two separate posts.

Ozzman5150 finds inspiration for this assignment at Rough Theory. After an extended discussion of the concept of the “author function”, Ozzman suggests:

The second part of the assignment for this week was to find a blog from the internet on the idea of what an author is or what makes an author. I did some research and I think that I found one right from the main page of Dr. Mcguire’s blog. The blog is titled Rough Theory and I think that it provides some good insight on the idea of what an author is. I think that this blog makes some assumptions as to the ideas of what an author is and how it helps to shape our understanding of the “author function” and texts. This blog seems to hint through various posts that the author is more a work of fiction rather than acting as a function from which we can better understand the texts that we come across.

Over at Acephalous, Scott Eric Kaufman concurs:

One student insists N. Pepperell’s fictional, and I’m inclined to agree. No actual person could write that much that quickly and remain sane.

So, now I really must know: how many of my readers truly believe that “N. Pepperell” is, as Ryan/Aless might put it, “a real (material, historical) person”?

[Note: in case this needs to be stated – Ozzman’s post was most likely commenting on one of my various comments here about how I interpret other authors. I do, though, rather like Scott’s interpretation… :-)]

7 responses to “Do You Believe in Me?

  1. Ryan/Aless October 26, 2007 at 4:14 am

    Ha! I couldn’t stop laughing out loud when I read you put the question in terms of how I’ve described my own “author function.” I guess the similarity (of what I imply, in “constructing” Ryan/Aless) and you posing the question of the “reality (materiality, historicity)” of “N. Pepperell” point to the fact (the referent? i.e. that it “actually” “exists”) of this somewhat “fictional” authorial function. But then that’s relying on a certain theory of signification . . .

    Another blog that’s worth the look into this whole matter is, I think, Fractal Ontology. Just like you, of late they have been putting out unbelievably massive output (from guys who claim to be undergrads). I don’t get. How do you guys/girls do it?

    ‘Loving the posts on Capital, by the way . . .

  2. N Pepperell October 26, 2007 at 6:18 am

    Thanks for the comments on the Capital posts – I was telling someone the other day that I’m always vaguely terrified when I post one of those – something about thinking on the fly, about something I really need to understand well… 😉

    I’ve been watching the Fractal Ontology folks – fantastic stuff, and very nice project concept.

    Your Ryan/Aless description has always stuck in my memory – this seemed like as good an excuse as I would ever get to mention it… 😉

  3. rob October 26, 2007 at 9:26 am

    One student insists N. Pepperell’s fictional, and I’m inclined to agree. No actual person could write that much that quickly and remain sane.

    I’ve always been particularly amused by the way you regularly preface a comment or post with something along the lines of “I unfortunately don’t have time today to go into detail” or “My head’s a mess today and so what I’m going to say will probably be incomprehensible”, before going on to write 2-3000 words of lucid, insightful prose.

  4. N Pepperell October 26, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    lol – yeah, see, but the problem is that I often write when I have so little time, that the text just kind of flows out the fingers without, if this makes sense, my “hearing” what I’m saying. Then I have to choose between holding back on the post until I have time to proof it properly (which, with my schedule this year, could be never…), or just letting it out into the world, and hoping for the best… For the moment, the second option seems to be winning out – but not without a certain measure of terror… 😉

  5. Nate October 26, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    I’m under the impression we have an implied contract for mutual belief, which obligates me to affirm the proposition “N. Pepperell is a real person” and to not have truck with any speculation to the contrary.

    And I really like the thinking on the fly quality, it’s like an invitation “think through this with me, if you like.”

  6. Pingback: » Habermas and Brandom, Facts and Norms

  7. Pingback: » Great(er) Scott!

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