What Is an Author?
In p'rnposiog this i1ighdy odd 'que:stiO:lll, I OUliOOnsclous of the nood. filf an exp]3fiatio:lll. TOo this day. tlle "author" remains lli,n open. question both,'Vi;th respect to its genffi1li], function. within ms'OotU'se and .in my own wl'1ting~;that :~s} ·aus question permits m~ ~o re:tlIiro. to. certain ,asp0Ct5 my own WOIk whidh :now ap'p08l' ill·,adlrisedand D'i:Meading. In this I';ega:rd! I wisb to propOS0 It


neeess:aty ,c:riti.clm! WJicll reev,alu~. FOor wS'tance, my ,obj'~ve in, The 0.1"001' of Thing~'.hadb~tlJll to. l'Iualyse ve:rbal cll!.!!sWliS as dhcunivCl layers which fan outside IDe, familiar categmies: .xII. book, a work, Of tm,authol. But: whit: I consider-eel "natural histQll'Y," the ";analysis of wealth,."and "pcditioal economy" m genera~ hnllls. 1 neg:]ooted ,iii. s:inu1ar 1m8l1y,sb: o.f Q~ author and his \¥otb;,itws: p~'l:haps due to ·this .omission that I &aployedthe' ~ilrn:es o£ luthoirsthoou,gffilout this hook • B
md.ve llIl.d

crude fashion, I spokie of BuHQ~ Cl1lmvier~ Wc.a:roo .•

'fhis esSlliy Q.dgfMDy ij!ppeal\ed .Withe Bi!Jk,Un do ki: S'ocMU fr-an,ti#e de Phllo$01Jhie, 63. No, 3 (1969}, '':is-l104. It W1IS delivered as Ii lecb!:1re befOR the Society art the CO~~8:e de Fr,ance OQ February 22" 1'969. wirth Jean Wahlplle!>idmg. We Bye .omitted Pw~so:r 'Wahl's inb'odu.ct:Qr)' remarks and. I'IihQ' F01Ircaw.t's respootge andlhe ,dehare' ~t followed his [eclw"e. F01!l.CaW(s hllnru .statmnent, howev,er. bas been ,wterpo1atCildin the t!kz;t p3m§aph o~ the uamlatfu:!:I. The interest of the' ,dUcUissWJ!il tha:t rn.nowed Foucault's' ps.~ .la. in its caw:t's !lUPPOOOO affimty \\lith ·tlw s:l:rnctw"alist enterprise. As in~e conclusi.oll of The hchaeology of KnDmWd~6' (esp, pp\ 200-201 h F'oncanh f~y demes thl5 cOllfiecl:!iOQ. Tbis ,es¥EI!Yis:repriidured bel\eby peernUssion of the Sooe,ty·, (All footnotes supplied.!)'y me editor.)
pwoctmrpation~sI,leciany aiSv,oiood. by Luclen 'GQldmann-withFou·

IU5 and oiliers as)well, but
t:.. •. - ... ""l·on "roved an eMbarIl.5Si!l\en~ 'Dames ~~, n~O''''l.1. "..,. t.~O'ii",."ly· This has J::"' LU _. ~1Il' me in that my (i,ve~s~glrut served to. raise two pertinent has

.._..,'.o!:>-".... .. ~ -- -

~aaooto realize

thai!: I 'bad, ~owoo. their


not avoid their


~dtogether, or, short of Uwt,.

objections. It wasar~Jed

that I had not proper~)' described m'1IlIIfouor b:s WOIk and tha~ my :bandling of M an was pitifully madequlBf,e U1 terms of the totality of his thought," A]thong:]:ltltese objections 'W,eIIE) flbrlously justiS,ed. they ignored Ull,e task I had set myself: I had DO mtentioo of describing BuJIon or Marx 01[ of reproducing ,thei;r statements or implicit DIIeaIDn,gs.; but, SHn.ply st:aI~,ed,,1 wanted ~o locate tbe rul,es that fOnD of conL ,



wby not define the manner LI1 which t'bey were uSled? These questioas appea,l' fuUy ~usil:iIled and 1 have tried to g:auge tbem implications and consequences In a.hook that will appear shmtWy.· These questtons bavfl,tlete.rm]]1oo my efIolli1:e situate oompre.helml' t


ts an-

t 'eoreti






•. ~

In addition"

it was argued t'nat I had crea,wd mcnstrous famrffiies by brin.ging together names all! ilispall"ate SISBuffoD and LinnaJells OIL placing in, CuviIer nex~ 'tOo Dar"!vin~[1! de9:8i.ElJDe of ~he mo\Sitreadily observabl~, faP!lily resemblances l<Ind,nararal ties.' Too objection abo seem.~: htappropriate since m had nev,er ki0d. to Ie---Staibnf~h ~ genealogical

tabl~ ofexceptioDa] incli.viduab" nor was I ooncemedm. formmg
all, intellectual

f. r functionalwm:.l~ed~o determin.e=--a....disom'Slv'e p-rr.\cti~ ~ary •.r ~uch .mo,~~~d~ conditions .oJ specrnc
Then why did

d,agtl'eI'Jiootype of th~ s:chobuo:. i!Diab!trn.llil~ the of se'VentJ~e-Dl:h and leighteeIlitb. century. In Iaet, I ~ no ~tfIDtinn o'lJpnning MY :family'. whether holy ,Ilr....:p,e,ryerse. Ontlh:e een...
la. '. "" "".'.

sive discursive units, such as "natural histOf')r 01: "political economy~"and toC'.st~bJJi~h the md~ods :lind i~!i~e:Il.ts f"Or d,elimiUng, analyzing. and ,descdbil:l.g these unities. Nevertheless, as a privileged moment of imliv~dllill:iza,Uon in the hJisb)'~r of ideas. knowledge; and ]iteJ'~hue, or In the hlstory of philosophy and sc:ienoe. tblll questiQT.I of th~ author demands a mote dJr.ect response, Even now, when we sb.ldy the ids;t-ory of 8. concept. BI'~ liJt)i$a:ry genre" or 3 bqlD~ pl.aqsopbi' . these ,COncems OIS'.mm.e a r~9iti:vely weak 3?d seg-9Ddary PQlsitjQ~n Fe~a:tion to the solid in and fu.I!dameD'~al l,e pf <I]U!%lUoqr .and his W9]'k~. m purpos(lsof this: paper, 1 will set aside a sociorustoriCBII lIJlalysU! 'of the author as an individtud ,and! the numeJ:iOus queo;Sr Hons that deserve <ilttention in. this context: how the a'1!l!t:hot as w in~'!'iduEll:ized in II. wltul"e such as ours; the ~t.~Uuswe have ghr,en the authnr, forinstl1noe. when we heglIJ.l our research m~o



use the names o:f'authoFS

in The Otd,e,


and attributioll; tbe syst'ems of w~]orizat:ion in whicb he was: included. or ,the moment when the storles of he.r(lesg~ve way to ::Itn,~uth(jif'S biogrnphy.the conditiom that fo\S"ta'ed the fOImulaUo~ ,o.f the fundmn.emlLiil eridcal ()fitego:ry of "the m.an ud his 'work:' FoOr the tlme being,. I ,'wish tllr,eostrict myself to the ~j,. . ,I rekiJtlo[lshi ..., tha.· w.l& betwoofi _ . -

t~ manner.Jn wbi'ch IlL lie.xLa:"patent!:£_ gQlpts, to this, filpu<LWho is QU:tsjde and prooedem" BeCkett supplies a d~l:ect~on: ,:Vhat matter who's speaking. someone said, wh(i!!t:romH:e:r who' Ii! ~peaking .. In an lndiffe:rence

4. 1'1:16 Arci.",eowgy of IDlO'uil'edge, b',ans. A, M. Sbe:rida,n Smith (London: Tavistock. 1972) W'IIs published in Fran<.'e in 1'969; .for dlisw!IS'jo:n of the, author, see ~p,. pp. 92-,6,. 122. 5. Samucl. Beckett, Te;1:ts for Noth1llg, trans, Bec.kett {London: Calder 6: Boyan, 1914.). p. l6.




w,e mus-t: I\OOO,~

totlll 'V4Y1\\~
.~,t' .
..' .

Rriuci~ ,of ,oonl:lemp~ wrIting. it '!$ beeause it ~mct6riZi~ our walycf spea~g lli!tn!d ritmg. b~~ w becausei,t ~& ali _ ~m.,_anC:iIltm!le •. eJ:'i!,dl~~,y flJrlop~ed ~d. yetn.evet ,wly ,app~d. A~ a p:rmci@~e,it d_a,m:lruiill1es 'WlitiDga~ @ ongo'mlg jpmctioe gdJ sUg~ts omC1ilsm:!:!!!laryo:bl:imtio:liJi.m~e BM!i!IiLedpI'(lducit~ ,For the ,~b, o~iThmi~Og~ we need ,@Imi!!y comdertwo of itswajoi' tb~es.Flirst. the w.titi~ of om d!ayh~s f:m~~ljeIf born the neoomly 10" "'eqlmssioo", i~ oolv I\ef~rs t9 :~self. yet it: is not rWtr1c,tQ&i1od:he ,pmi:inJ3s, of in.~erio:ritr. On the
J,e(lq~ i~~ it'S WI'sw. ti<m!~O!l'iFnSi'\oVl1tmg m~oan

.,. _ '1'-'+

One 'of die ftmdJ~entaJ!.

.."l,.~ ~_1,~' D!(k :SlIIllIJILY e~~


CQm;~ept~m1! f o

C~eek n<J!~iI:'aJt;lve epic, whk-hwru: designed to Oil: btUaF;)I~tee t.hei:ffi:r.n(l{rt-.1!Mty (If a hero. Tbe hero aooepfedaD 'Il'Bldy d~l~~ bec,,-<'11J1ll.se J][!e, eeasecrated and JUlilgl]i:G.ed. by d~th~ h]s

passed Into. u'11Jlmart.'1l]iitY;!'I'od the!:l<iluaUve redeemsd his aecept,a:l1Lctl of dea,t~. il:n a w:lierc!t'il:t .\ie:rI:S:~j' Altalbic storie's, an.d T~e .Al'uhJan N~gh~s in.pi:H'UOU~al'~h<lda-llthek ~QHvati(!~., thele theme

mteq?,by I@:~ ~" Ieg~amd , . '~6Ss:by tbeOOll~ent it ~es~II1 by the very na,mre of~e s~.mer.,MoltOOve:r. ~f :fm.IJJi~s: an aclionth~t ~$ :alW8iys~e.rting l~'" ' ~IDts ,of itstre~,arity~ b'sns:gressmg .d, leve~g _ Ol'(]ler tlmt ,it: aJooeptil an:d m:anmpu~a:tes.,Writfug unfoil& illte 'Q,. gmne~t ,Devim:oly DlOVes beyond :~ts,own rulesand fii!li!ially leaves th.~ bemnd, 'D;m the essential bus ofth:is vniting is Dot theexa]!l\w emotioDs Ida/ted ~a thea-c-t ,oj! composition olthe w~ertI.oli1 of a subject iD~o, I~age. lRa'thc:r~ it is primuiy oODOe:nted wiIlffiii








op~ID~g whenllth(l:



disElp,pea;~;~ .s:-eoondtheme~s eVGDmlQ:re,f~ar:i!betweeI!l.wrIDth!g amI death" 'I'h~s r,ela,tionsmp


is ~ektru:Wpl ill.uris: the ~e-old

e, Cf. Ed~ Said_,'''''Be ::E~.c5 of Ul,IDguage." V~j 4 (]l.9'74)', 32. 7. On "ex.~l'llon" :i1IDd wrltmg M ~elf:'~~nl!iall" sw JeaD·M~e ,Denol!il~,."'I'he End of S~~... Tw~ueth C~hlf'!1 St11m:~ 3 (]19\10 ):."39'; and Roland Barthes'. C:l"~fq-fi d 1,jbit~ (Fw: Cd!IJdon 1'€!l Q1iWl. l;9fIjf]:). ,As ~0 klIlawin,g s:elllhu.!ceg_plies,the ·'men.or ·w,· wmEli~, Fe,rdinaruJl de Sia~'s: emphasis qlluilll~ of ·the sign_i:ll.er. ~ ~l phe:Jl!;Clmie!la ,~ s~eooh wJ:1[ch.n(M,m:lioless. OOSip& to i~ Q'WD w~~ and diJj~tl\al :e.rticmh,1iion. . ,8. 'OB ·'tra_n:s:~si!()l:l." S~~ above. "A 1I?re!:1I(lew'1'raM~Skll'.!jl" p., 4~~aad'" M, ESmlty.'j"p, 58. CE. B~t.l:~ lit... t~ro {Fart_s~ pl58,~ and David F. Fmtt "New<ef Crllici~II!I!aDd BevalU!li(lll,,"ll~ ~e,w. 2~ ,(!lOW:). 87-96.

and p.re;~Mt,~h[s strategy fmc defeating death. StQryte[~eTs OOD~ tiltued. their' n.arraHves mate iIlioothe night to, f·o.~e!itan death Mlid. to dera;y the inevjtoib~ernOMent wheQ. eve-zyoi!l!eNlu~t fall sme~t . Sduthe:razade's; sl:orry~sa desperate [nvel'Swn o£ mUl'de:r; HlS the effmf'! H)rQllDJgh.Q~t <lrumt~o~e nr[ghu to esclnde death fl'.om the drele of ex:isteooe.o TII.is oonoeptrQ~ of a. $V eken or \\\':u:itten naemH\i\CIl as a pif!otecU@F1 against de;;~ltihi has been ~ransMl1n~d by eur eultuee, WIlting[S now Mn~ed.to ''!!;)'crlioe and to the sac-:rilc~ o~ ]~f'e itseU;n is 3 volt1]]~<lIYobJ.lte:ration of' the self that does [lot require llepmse:rdati.o:n ]~ boob becaase it t""les: placet" ~be ,evezyday !l:Kishmce or t~~e wltl,te:r. Wbere a work ~f1dtbe duty of Cl'eiili!:ingirmnorl~U~y.itnow alil:3:instifueright. t-o ki11. tobeoame the wmr,d{lil\@T of nsatlthQ:r..Fhlii1!l!~;U~n. .rQu~t, and Kafka are ob~ f '1/l0US ,exall1!lplflS of tius .reversaru.l~ mn addjtiQ~, we find t.he link betweeu wrHin,g and death m8Jnff·esledlo iI'llJfl; ~oml eITacement of t~~ .lodiv:idlUiill ch::lJraclerlstk::s ef the w1"fte:!?; the qui1}bJing £I:11id oOidronlt\a:tioos:that a wr[b;'!lrg,en.f;li".1l:ibE:s betweenbi'mslenf ~~[[ .~i.s te1{l!t aned. oMittbe B[gOiS of hiiS1partku~ar ~l:u:livid1l]~]lty. If we c w~sh. ~o know the W!llte:r ]~ Ol)!)~ daiy. :~twill be ~~l\ou,g~tbe ~~~gulartl¥ o.f lus ahsenee .il:lJidin h[~ ~~k to death. wbMlhas


of his ow-DwrHil1lg; W~[[e an of this: is ~a:mJi]]ar in phUnsophy. as InUtefOlm:y 'C1Fj.~ld.&., I aM nQ~


a v~otUn

ceJ:t,cJJinthat ~hc oonooq[ue:rJJC!!3S d.e.r.i.ved fro.lIlI t~6'disg,ppeliLm.nce
death. of the author havo lileeTru


fully e!{p]oi!:~d or


the fm-

portanoe ,of this event

been appll'edMed. 1"0 be speciic,.it

10. The rece:n~~soori.~ Q£ 101m Bartb,. co]i~ ll1 LQst b~ a~ Funhol:!,:!\e aad ChimeJ'1i. sup,ply inte:l'estmg example:!!, of Feueeult's thes~, l'b! JaUe! wo:rk rn.clll(le.s" In ('aot" 9,oovelil;tic .l'eWoFling o.f ~bli1~ .N~gli:f8.

9, Seeib~'!le, "La}'~gI!H!.g~ [1l1iIJiHy."p, 5B" to

seems tOo methst tbeth~es destmed to l!ep:]!1!ooilie privileged posmoD acoorded the .aQitlb:or~El.veli1t1ler,ruy served ~Oan'esI: the pombility of ge:!Thuinechang.e. Of these, I will esamine two that seem particularly important. To oogin wUh, thethems oonceroing 3 work, ][tha~ been understood 'that the task of critie:ismis not to reestablish ilia ties betwecenan author and ills work 01 to rooi;ifisnmlje ~.ill!lJthar·~. thou.gbtand experienoethrougb his works, f:II:I1d, fmthe:r. that criticim.! mouMl eencern iue'lf w::ith the struetnres oia work, :its


•. his: WO'd(s:?Why not? 'The~ pmctical confibieri!.tio:n~ m.-e ,endLess. once we eonslder how a: work can be extracted from the millions of tracesIeft by anindividlual after his d,eatth.l1ainly" we Jack a: theo.ry to eDCOOllIpaSlI tile' 'questiom: generated by a
work and the empiricall 3I!;tiviity of those who. naively undertake tbe·pubUcation oIthe COmt[l~et:e works. of an nillltho.r o£len. 5~:le'rllfrom the abseaee of thIs: fr::l!mewoirk. Y,st more questions Calli. we s-.t'Iy th.ilIt Too Ambia" Nights, and S'tTomates ,of Cl<ffifi'ent o.f Ale:xarndria. or the LievB"s of DiogeHesLaertes eenstlhIteworks.?· Such questions: only begin to' suggest ~he r.ange of our difficulHes, and, .if some have f01ll!!!1d it oonViffiM0nt to byp·a~ ~'i!!i0 mdj,.1.dmility of the· writer or his status as an author to loonoenrtrnt~nn a wOirk, they have EaUedto appreciate tihe equally proii:dem:illlt!:cnawm of the w,ord "work" and t:heu~n:y it designa:h~iS. /unio.ther ~hesU has delaio,edl us from taking fun. Jntlasure of the author"s dls.appea:r-ance. It avol.. s co.nfronting the specifi,c: levent d 'th~t makes it possible and. in subtle w.aYll, continues topresenrc the eldst;enoo of th@Eluilior. Thlli is the' notioo. of e'crltur-B.u Strictly spea.king, iii' !!li(l1!l;lId. a]]o,w us not only Ito cirwmvent nR,er,enoes ~o alltlI author ,but to d~ua.te 'his: l'OOe-DJt abseaee, The c(bn~-ption Qf eorifur~. as mU'feut'~yempleyed, lis eanceraed "With :neither the ,ad; of writing liiOf the indications., as symptom.s Dr ~S! wWrin a text, of an author's meaning, rather, it stand-s £.or a wem:~.kably profound attemptto el3iborate ,theco.nditiops of any text. both the 'OODilitioIi,~ of its. sp~ti9:~dj5persj.on and its temporal de:p']o'ym.ent. It w-ppGl!IIS, however, tha~ this eoneept, as currently ,em.ptoymj,


IoJ'm.s.which are studied for their mtrin¥[c aad m-

tEl_mal relationships. n Y·et. what. of a conteXit that qu~i:!ions UI.e

concept .QJ 3. 'work? What, in short, is the str.ange, unit designated. by the ,t'mDI, work? ~Vhat b neces~' to. itsc(lmpolliti.Oil,; if a work is not som.ethtng "witten. 1b¥ a pe.l'sQn called an "alllIWthorP"
DifElcult:iies arise on all sides i£ we raise the qu.estiolll in ·tills 'way_ If an mdivi:dual :ill, :!l(It ~rul author, wh.at are """,·eto m;,lJke of those thin,gs he has written o.r ~id. left ~ong his papers or .roHlr1I!;uni:~ted to others? Is thi:s not pr(lp6_dy tl work? \Vhat, "or instance..w.ev@·Sade's piEiperS befo:r-t!· }ewas consecrated asan ~ ~uthO'r? Little' Hlore,perhaps" than roles of paper 00 whichllia.e endle.ssly umaveUed. IDS fantasies. while: inprimn .. ~ing; that W\'!' are dealing with an author. is '~very1:hIDg.he wrote .EUl-d ad, everything he left behind., tIl' be included in his '\!i'\cul? This probJem. is both theo~-etieal and practicaL Ilwi',fj"v:[sb ~o publish ~):I!e ~ampl'e'te works of Ni,etzsche fro" ex,ampl,e_ where dO' we draw the line.? Certainly. everythlng mus,tbe pu.b&hed,. but ~ we agree 011 what "eve~g" ~e;uis? We \vtll, of course, include' eVm'ytmng. ~at Ni.e!zsdle DseJ)f published. along. with the drafts ,of his wmks. his plans £Q.I' apMrisD1Is~ .his marginal notations and ·corrections. But what H. :lin a notebook 'lIiIled 'With, aphorisms,. w,e Gnd! a reFerence" a remmd.el" of an a/pPQMtmumt,. <lin address •. Oil" Oil 18undrybillID •.should this be included


U. Plainly a presctlption for crltidsm
The Wheel of Fin)' (wodoo:!!.

On &Me,

lTans. RIchard. lIlJIl'i'3Id.(New

tiS diverse as: G. Watson 19\3:0) and Robnd. :Bali1:hes'


.mn &: W~


12. We ha ve kept the Freflch. ic-r-tlur(l, 'With jib; d.J:ru.blereference to the 1I.t.1 of wri;ting and to the primordia] (3:1l!d m€ti1!rphysi.eal) nature of \witing as .1'111 entity in itself. since it is the term ,that b~t identil~ the program of Jacques, De:rrida. Lile t:he then.e· oj[ a s~f~refetential wcUmg" ~t too blttikls (In a theory ·oj[ tl1e s:ign and dienotes writing as the, interplay (if plroSe.noe and absence in dud: "signs s,epresent the present: in iU a,bsonoe" C"Di:laranoe," In Speeck. dtul rh~i~W. Itmnll. DDJvid. S. AlLison IEvanston Ill.; NOlithw,estern UWl\t. Press, J973]. p. ]l3B). See J. Denrida. t» la 8ro:rnmatf~w8ii6' (Paris; EditiOil~ de Mmuit, :1[967),.


haa JIlietely tra.D~ed ~e emp,iriciIJ chmacterlslics of 00 8/!!Iith,Qr to l!i,trlIDSce~d~Dta1anonymity. The ,e.'i:t;r,em,cly wsib]e signs of the ,author,s, 'IltmpMctll aotiviit)t are ei,aced to allow the p,la,y. .m: p<U"aiDelor opposition, of religious and, critictd modes of ehar8:C'I;erization. In granting a p~dtal st,atus to writing. do we :nQt. in, elect. s.ilnpIy reinscribe in ttansoo:mLdenbl~ ~e:rms "the thoo~ogical rdhms'I'lilon of Us, sacred ,(ucigiJl.or a eriticalbelie:f in ~ts 'CMHtiv,en~ture'r To .say that wrltfuTh!1!~~gt-emTh$ or ~1lI pl('lrticuIar history it made ~srbTe~ is mbi ected to fo~getfu.'lneS'sand ,Rpression. is

It is obviously mm.mdent to repeat ,empty sloglms;. the aruthor has disappeared; God WildOO,aD died a common death. 'l~ RathelC~ Woe:S:houldreexam~neth,e empty space ~eft by 'the ~uthotii~ appearance: we should au,entiv,e!y obs-e~'. :along ibi gaps and faultlnes. its Hew demarCiiiltiO'w,. ,and the J,e@.:pp(ulionment of tWs void; we'sffil.ou1d aw,ait the luid fui:icticns; released by this msappearWlCe., In 'tItis contexlt W6 can brieHy cQnsider ~e pi'Qb1.e:IliiIs that arIse in the use of an <l!l1lIJthoi's Wbat is the name of an name,

thi~ Dot to rnintrodnce



terms; the

religious, principle of hldden, meanings (\vhi:ch :rilqtllce itl,terpretanOD )andtbe crilic,d assumption of ~pl!i:cit sipcatiODS, ,sillent
,(wM~b glve rise to conunentwy)'? :Fm.atIy, of writin,g as allSlcmce ill, transposI· tion ~nto rrallscenden,tal lennI of t&e ,l\eUgiousbeli,ef in, a: fDed and conrtinuQ'Us tramtion 01' the ~~dlJ.eticprin,cipJa that p'I'O~

:and obscure oontents is not the ,conception

author? How does it function? F'ar from oiering a so1ution. I will, attempt to inmClli~0 :so~ of th~ dillicu[ties rdalil!:d to these qu~l:ions. The name 01 an author POSIIl'S aU ilie prob~,ems rela.i':,ocl eo the aaltego.m;y 'Of the proper Hame, (Here, 1 an!! ])darrin,g:

the work

ctni~S!the, ,r<U.Mval o~ die Wlol"l as a~d of ernpa:lic mp:ple~ :men~of the OlUlt1:n:o:r beyondhis 0IMJi dearitb?H' This OOIlCeptiO]1l of ecri~uM sustains the privileges oltbe author tmough the :s,ueguard of the a priori; the play of r~prese.nt8!lions tha.t .~Omlied !l pruTIw]ar image of the author Is extended within a ,gray ueuual_ity, The, disappeamnc,e of the al!lithor~since Mall.. an '8vt'!nt of our time-is held in c.beckby the 'transcen· dental. Is Uoot necessary to draw :a. line between those who, bebev,e tffil.at we can oonunnebl ,situate our pl'esen~disoo:n· trn.mtJies wUhililli. the his;~.oricai1l. and u<U!s,cendeo.t!ll trlll.di:tion ,~the nileteMith C~[i,wry aI1dthose who are ma~s: a gUlat '£'&ri, tOo libera.tethe:mJrelve~> once and {ararm. :f'rom thls concepmal &ame'wCl1"k?l,~

of ,Io'bn S:earle,.l-8 ,among othocs.) Obviously not a pure ad. ~'lmIfle :~e£iemnce, the pr"@jJfIeI' name (,and the auth.oi~ ~e 118: we'l) :hWi other~an indica~ve fuBc~t[[m,s.Iit h; more than. a, g:estJumm" £i~~.gerfotnted at smn.eo,ne: it is, to a certaln extem:,the a eg;mval!ent of a description. lNhen we say "Aru~lJae." W6 are liMg: a word tbaitm.eans: one Or a series of de6oioo descrlpctions
of the type,; "tbe nuithor 'of the Anal'yties:'


or "the founder


a p![Iopermune has other .functions than that of signifi.catilcm,: when w·e Ciruscov6r,that lWnbaudhas Il,otY,T.itten La Ck&·s:e .spirit,ueUe, we 'C3Jmrnot mainlain that ~e mea:nin:g oithe proper name or thi~: a\i.t;hofs .1i1IaD'Jie :hasbeeo alteIed. 1'he.propM mime and the UOilttie of _ tl'JUthot osclHa:tebetweenth6 poles, of d.escriplimli iand d.e~igQ~~on. and.
theyare limkgd tOo what they I!..l!me.they am not ~otaJny determined, either by their ,d~ptive ,ot designative fWlCtions.!9 Yet-and it]s n~m that the specific dilEloolties attendlgt'ati1u_ng' that

O.llto,]ogy;' gd. SO forth.u Furth,ennore,

13. On ;'su'Pp]ement,,'" see S'pceckandrh!!'lR~.Q;. pp. 88-UI4. 14. 'lIr'msstatement .~ perhapsi:hepolennw ground of F'01I.'c.!iLlit's i!lio;jSociatiQQ from phenomenology "and [ts eVoolilrtioll. thrcr '11, ar~e S m.tco,a Marxist dU:cipline) 'on aile side and ,strutl:itlnl.l!ism on other. It also IDcB!il'h is eoaeern that W!!: wm'k be jud,ged On its awn merits h and not ·on~ts .!I'epU'ted re1atiOllship ttl other :m.ove.mSlltlii. This. imis't~ enee, llnf~ his ,iipp:recia.1tion tI~ Nfe:t:zsCM :in ·'Nie~cloo.. Gmedogy. liistm)"" as wd!l as hits sense his own pos:~timiL m. th>e 'Conc'lus[on ,~f rie .McDOmS!I 9f .KRmckdge."


, 16. }o'llJ.l_S~e, s~ _acta: ,An .&.mrt b~ the .PhUosoplly 0.1 ~gg~ (Cam bndgo; Cambridge Univer:si:ty ~s. 19139). pp.. lIS&174.

15. Niewcbe, The


Science. m, 108.

11. Iffi:ilid., p'. 1100.

18. ]ibid., p. 1112.

_g .IUI, aJutha~'$ 1!lI.:ilMC nppeaa:'-'the ·~bet\veen. a PilXlll~:;l1$ll!B gd.~e iDJdMdlUill ~g named and the link between aa aUltMt'$ b f!!am6ia~d that 'W'b~ch. t lbiIJameS: are n()~ .~s:omLo.rp,bousa:nd. not i do functiM :in the same "va}'; and.esE'l ~rem1ces requille These diHerences .mmcat6 t~a:tan alutbo{s mme ~ Mtsimp,ly an ~lGn.m:n:tof speech. (as a subject, Ql om:nplem.ent. 'OK' an e[emeut that ~oo·~d. e,ro.p:~aced by a pro![lOUJl or other b ~eeeh) ,. j[tsprns:e~oo is: [1.1Dcl'io:md·in~t it :s:e~{I: as of Ii Mea_: 'Q:f da.s:rllcation. A name cangI10up b)getner anumbe:r of t~ts: and thus: ,dme.r·enil:~ate~nem from othe:r!!~ A. name abo establishes:

h..i!.veblue invaJidlIllte the fact t\1ruat~!fue:~~ jp[e:rl:'~ Dupont,. OOJ;:!ijgtl.esto rel'e:r~othB :!i~.epe:no:lll.the:fe hMbeen no modificatIDmJlJ f ~e des:ignlliOgm o thO'!.t links the name to~epffifS!O.ll. With the~amB of an au,~o,[1'~ however:. the pl'.obleHi!s li:re[~II' mere 'OOMptex. ne mSclOSMfe !hair Srud::espeare was ~ot born in the bouse that ~OUl1iSil:SmIDOW v:il~~t would :not m.odifyth.e :functio~dng of ~ThI!e <1iil1thotsnsme, btl~[f

To le~,

eXOW')!![;I~ej thatP1err,e D~poWiitd!~es


not~lve in fln'is O3!!lrrloJ[s lbiIJot doctor &es~ot a

~nt ferms of .re~a:tionshlps amo![lg~e~ts. N,e]it~er Hermes llIat H[fIlocra!te.s ~ruh3d in the .s0D:5l!'1lthat we: can. !i.e)" I!ab~~ m;_"

is~ed,bijJ.tthe· f18icttOO~ fl. D.IIDl ber Q~ i~exiitsweroEl;tlltacfuoo to a single n~e, im.plie-sthatrn~a:l:ionshlps o.f~orn()ig)lmru;ty, filiation.
ml!i:fue!rnJ.tilcati!O:Il~ .or of COlllDlon



dect~e m.aJilme'l" em whiCh theau{]]l;blt':i1 DO);fi:lefundions. MQreOVeI'j if we !I1Istablisbmat: S~a1reifi;peale'W1'@~e.B<!;ooiIJI·.!lOfgn(lllil !lind.~a:t the saMe ailUithor'Was r>es:pon~ible for both th~wo:dks of Sbak:espe~eand thos'e .of Ba;OOI!.> would 1bi~v,e i~b:(lduced! a we third. type of a],l\era:noJi1l.which oomp]ebe]y modiies ~he·f~l!!lctmolTh. hlg. Q~the autbo{s rum1.tl..Comeqruentiy. the name of anaulliQ1I' .s DOt p~clselya proper Dam.eamo~g others. i Many Q~eT f8J~)~orn .S'UJstain this pu",doxicru. singul.airity of ·tJhe nsme ,o~ _ ~'Wi.fuor. It is alrog0'lffi:ter dileI\emt to mamtalli! tba:t Pi~ DupOEIt doss not ,mst l'IiliU:J1d.ia:t Hom~]' 011' HennM T~eg~~tw; have never (llxislled. Wlll],e the first nega.t;h;ul m.erely ~pl~ th~t there Js .~o@:t!teby &9 lOJame o~ jp[err:e- Dupaut. tle seOODd.indleates that se,ve!l:~individu:aIshay,e beea refetted! 00 by one, name or that the realau.thor POSs:eS~edMII,e of ~l!::bai" haditJio'ooUy $socla!ted with HO]lfie:r- (YrHeml.e8. Neither .i!i~:t the :i~e~ng .~{I S<1!y ftruat J acq~es Duraud,not JPJ:erre Dupon:t. is the .r:eru; I1.u:ne (If X :and that S~endhar8 Dame was Hsnrl .I)eyle.
We cl):IlI;~d. ai]~o e~~etl~e

weil'O .provfid bibulJt0~O him.

·that ~e had not written the SOmlGU that weat= tills would ,coo~tilltute a s~~[GC1.l,Dit cwge a/[[Id

were estab&hedI amoog them, IrinaID[y.the, 3il!ru&o.i'S n~e cll.M~ a.o1!:emes ~. p~cul;(l!~rnM[!!er of eldsteoce oE di[sCQUI'.se. Dl~@~ tha:tp.o\SSes~e~ an @u,iliot~s name :is~ot~ll' be ~edfately CQ.fimM~d aa:Jid~o~-gotte:n,a:Jieiti.er s,it ~oco'Jded ~e mo.en!t~ : ~ :aJttelTh-·
lion .gWveo ordja:Jiary. Heetingwonk:R_,lIdl;et>~its. sil:ams and]u: to WlIarmer of rnce-ptional'e RguJa:~ed by~e ,oli.drure .~nwhich U

c~~es. We eaaeoaelude thou, un]Th;e <ill proper froM the j:l]berior of aJ.d1isOOW'se to the~a.t

nfllms"w!biic!h meves

poduced. :[t,the name of the,auilioi!)'


te!l'{~e:pMaHng ene f:romt~e othelt. de6mn:g their Fa~t:tJ ~iIlid . c-h;:u:ac~e:rfz~gth€k mode of exJiS'hmoe.. It PQints~Q~e ,exfS~SiDOO ,ofoert<lm. g!!'()1!liP~f ili!;OO1!J!FSB;a!llJJd. o r,cle:~s totite stlil:msof' ·this dis-OOU1l:'S~ wj~in a £"Qciety and culmFe. 1'he,aut']])or's name is D~n a function of a man's civil sta!ws. ner is: it ic1btQnalj~t is sima:lled .Ml!. ~e breach, &l1ongfu~ mscantimdt:ies.wlriCh g~ves ds~ tun.Em gronps CI~ dlisoourse and. theit st]]~I~ mode @f e\ti$~SDOO, l~ CODa HI. ThiS is :lparticubdy iimportrutt point ad brings rogetJhe:r <I :gl'eat nlaJil'Y of FOllclI.M1t's insights oot'lcemi:ngl:he re1Ja1tJonship of :aiD ~u:tlllor (Sllihffect) to di:5cOIJ.iI:l!J(l: Itf·e~eQb; h~un.dersrnll.amg:oE the tramtional bel ofllen.Wleolllined ~~ties:oI diSlC01;!ll'Se w]!w.5e :achJal ,ru;soolJllXiuiltiesalls, m:il(!l~edine~tbef 0.1. two '!VfIlys: by ~e£ereEiOO .~ all'! ~ligim'lifIDg_;uhjee~ (If '~oa .~Q~:l~age. eoncerved !I$pTe:llitu.ne. whicb s

me COl:1!oours of




functlonand meanmg of such .st~oo.~ '''Bou:ribal!i. is. ~ or ~~at pet.!lOllil," aind'Victor Eremil:a, Clmtac~Sj .M,ticl_a~s. F~~er Tacimwms, C'Q!IlSil:an,tlli~ Oon~ ~lius,Lill'Qf these W\elGet~S~ru'd."

.Fcmca:n.l:tl'o.ieocl:sttu!, belief iothe Pl'l::~UJ]lJedfuID!mes~:oI ]anguage~t underlies dllscotwSe:. fibe a.t!'ttb,Ol" :ls su.iJ.freeted HI' tiDe same fr.a:~m1L~

t:h.c ac,tiv1ties of 'Commentary

Qil'i:]Tl~el]1l1eta;tlgD.B11I:~ince s

sequtlllitly~ 'I\',e can say that

m our


the D8!lDe ,man autho,r

ill a vwiable:tbat accompanies only certa:fn ~~o the exclusion of' others: a p:rlv,ate'~ettermaY' &a,ve,a si,gllaltoliy; bUll; it dDes~ot lJavean authol; a ocmtn!l:ct ,earnh::l.ve an underwriter. bl!Di~liilot an

author; and, similady. an ,anonym"owpooter attached tOo 3i wall m.aY'have Si ..vritel·" bu~ he eannot be an au.tho.r., 10 this ssase, ~he function of an author is to' charaeterize th~ existence, circum1tlion, and 0ileration o~ eertain dlsOOUISe.S within. 3, society.

In ,d~g with the "author" asa functiol!li of disconn~~ we m.ust considerthe d1arac:tie'mti.cs of a msoomseth8Jt Si1Jj!pport tWll '!!I)S:6 ,and determine it's diH'en:noe from other di:5C()Ul',se8. If '~re Illnft .our IeH1Iaib tOo mdy tho.se books; 'Ot~exts with, authors. we ean .isolate foW' diIIer,eDt ma:L1U!!s. F~ they are obj eats of Si,p'pmpriauon.die fOml of property they oove become is .of a particular type w~ose legal rodiiCllloon was acCOM,p:6S'lI:ii;!d same years ,agP. It is impm1:an~. ~(I fi'()tWe" as


system. of ownership' and strict copyright .mles' weee established (to,wm the end ,of t:he eigblieenthand, be.gin.nm~ o£lI:he Ilin,e.. tee~th Cer!ltury )tb..a~ 'thilltran~gfessi.ve :prope,mes ,always .• trln.sic to the act ,of writing becanu!l the forceful impet~ti.ve of liter,a:bimJ. U It is as iIthe ~UJthQr, the mOlBentbe was acoepted into 'the :social ..at o,wer lPfoperty wm.ch governs 0. eulture, wM compensating fmrhl:s. new staws by reviving tlte. o]d.er bipolar' Held of ~$OO1,ll'.:;e jo. ,R sys:l:ematiopraJcl::ieem kamiig:r.mo.o a[l}dby~oMg the danger of writi_ng which. eu aIlIother side. had been oo:nf~u'"Rd the 'benefits of property. Seooncllliy.the <·8iu.thOl'..functi_m'l"2~ is Dot~mv,erii~l 'orOOllstaat fu a!l disceurse, EV'Im.withm . our ociYil~atlom!J,hesame types of t ~exts have nat always :roquired auil:hor,~; eMI w,~ ,atiDile wbeQ . those texts wW<ih we now ,eaH ""liter,azy" (,storie.s,. foTh: tales, ep~cs~ and b'atgeclles" were acceprod. circu1!ated"and valorized v;ithout <Wi)" QlJje.i!tiooaboutdl:e identlt.y of their author" aDQDymity was ignored becausetheMi- .mal Of' supposed a:ge W3S a.• licienlt ,guarantee of their ,authenticity. Texts, however. that we now caJ~.



that its smJbLs as property

is histon.celly

.scCQndary to the

pena!i code controlling iu app1'opriati!cm. Speoech:esan.d boob w>e·mllissi~ed real authers. other than. mytlllcal or impoF1tant re:limious £I,gmes~ otlly wbenth~' 8111!1,titOI' baeeme subject 'to plIni.~hmlllnt Mid to the e:d;en~that his disceurse was oonsidered UWl8gressive, In ou;r ,oulture-Y.ndoubbully 111 otl'l.ef'Sas; w,ell-dillcOW"se was not ,ongiilaUy at:hmg. 81. produ.ct. 01' a pOoSsessioD, but an aetion si!wat:ed :ma bipO:~a;r i(lJd.of sacred and profane, la:wful f and. un]awf~]'" lieli:gi!ous ,and 'blasphemnouS'•. It WSlS ;:l: geilhue charged wirthrisb longbefol''e ill: beeame a posS'f}ssion 'Mught in 8Ldr,cuit of p:l\operty va:rues?O But it was ,at the mom.ent when a characro.rtzes diiicours:eandi he is delineated as 8i ,dis.. ,conmJJll'QUSseries. ;fw: example. 'see 1.,'Ordme du discOW"~)p'p, 5~
tion which

"scientmc" (deaJing with oosmology and !the heaven..s. ul,II;.ldicine or illness, the DllwraJ sciences er geography) were only oansider,oo
JUj~ simply Ii recent phenomenoo, a llmilwd, widespread 'bellefthat [ruth is ,3 function

~ ,of ~elllllcie:D.ta~d of ,eve:llb? In iIIn old_er time ,omd in other cu]ituFeil. the search for tnJ,th w,as hazard01!lS in th~ exh"emeBlDd truth. I~dedl. in a MngiW: zone, but if this: was: :5ICI' and .i:f tru,th oodd oOn]y be approached, aft~l'a lQ!l!gprepamtion or tflrco'1ilib the de,tai!.:S of a rima:ll2e:d procBdW"8. it ~ because i'l: mpw.;n~ed lXIwer. JlDisCOU!r:'le, :kit' IDese: culitw:es" was: all· active approp~atOOn of power !UJJ.dto the ,eKt:enI [hat ;~t'WaS !iuooesdul, it oonIained the :power of Uu'th itself. charged wid] aU Us risb and benefil!s;, . 21. Of. The. .order of Thb~g$, p. ,:)00,; and ,!lIIiloV6, ~A :Preface 1:0

'TrElillSgrel~i.Qn" pop. a1}-33.

and 61-6·2. 20. In ,Eli semmllI entitled. "L'EprwVG et renquete,"\yfrlch F'oucault ,conducted ,alt ,th~ Unjversit)' o! Monlireal in the spring o.E 1974. he oeDIm,red the debate anrund the fol!tc'wmg qUG's!Joo: is th.egeneral OOi1vi~ tb1:ltb."uth detives from and ts smtamed by J.:noW]ed~

22. .Foum,u]t·s phrasklg of 111.e"l<llui:hQJ;~~ctiO[l;' has ~ l1etamedl. OOIl.cept sl10uld mot be, oonfused {lIS it W1lS: by Ooldm!lllt!)[lLn :I:b~ diS(;'U~;iOfi the:.t £oUowd F01.LCanlt·S p1'~tatton)' 'WiIth the ~ebrabld theme of '~e "death of man" in The Chder 01 Thmgs (pp. 342 and 386). On the ,contrary. FouaauJ.t's purpose ,is 00 revi:tailize. the de~te slm"ounding the subjecl by situating tile su.blect.B!S .B. :I!Irn:d, f'anctHm~ wi!fuin tne S!;)acec1eMed by archaeoiogy.

the Middle Ag'e>S if ale nmile of theauthm, was Sta:tements: en the order of "Hippocra:t:es: said . • ."Oli "'Plmy ~elh us tna,t ..• "w,ere:!J!a~ mMe]yf:o:nnM]Il~~o:!C an ilIrgu~ :m~Dt based! on ,authmity. :they marked a proven, discourse. In. the seventeenth and ,ei.gbteel!ltbcenmri,es~ 3,totaUy Dew (lon,c*," Uoo was developed when scientific tex~s were ~ooep:red 01[1 tbe.i:r own. merihand positioned wiW_nIlD. a:nooynlOulililnd, coher,ent ,C(m,c:e:pl':ttw s¥5t'e.m of 6s~abl:is:hed nth'S ~:IiDd.m,ethods of vmiflcation" .Anth(lntification no longer required reference to the indh'l1,dll1a1 w~o billid p,wdu.ced. them; I:ba role of the author dis~ ap'pooroo as IiIn index .of trutbfulness: and, where U remained as an mvenltol["s name, it was mn'I,erely to denote a specwctheortem ,or !pit,apos_on. a strange effe~lt; ,il property~ a bodYJ a gllOUp of elements, or patbological syndtlome. At the SiilMe tim,e, however. 'limrMJl' diooourse W1!.~ ,~u:.1~ptR.ble
aUlLuthor' SIlMne; ,every text of poetry ,or fictlO'll obliged ttll ,Sitat;e'its Qlutbor and, the dUe. p~ac:e, and W'e1lml·· ,s:tance of its writing" The :meaning and value at1ribuf,ed. to the t~ dep@nded (in tills: infmrnlatioo. U by acciden~ O~ design a text 'W~ 'I'esen.~ed il:fgonymo1!.lisly; every eHQrt was made to~ocal\e Us author. Literary anonymity Was of interest only as a puzzl(l to be solved. M,m OM day,Lill6rnry wo~b are totaly dOl.ninated by the SO\!',er,eignty of the author. {Undauhted~y, ,these remarks are far

t':m:thful during

experimenta:~ mJaf,eri,aL; avai1aJilme at a given time


in a par-

tie-olar bill:li;l1l3IJb:my. }

The thfr.dPQ-t ()Oil.oornlng ~ ·'al!,]thor.f~n'ctklU" ~s thRt iJULS not torJnied spontaneoui>ly through the simple atmbution of a
OOoou..1",se Oiiuindi.vidM!aL It resWlts from ~ oOIDpo1exO;per,ation. to
Whose pwpo:re ~to construct the rational entity author. U~doubted]y., ~ eonstmettcnJs a~gJled we, call an a "realistic"

tive~ powet,!hls

di,ro,'eDsion as we $p-eak of .£lnirndividual·s "'J?I-ofunmty" or ",cr-ea~ mtenti('!,m:or the, origimll inspiration mani£ested

orily .if~t mnied

• ,wfting. N eve:rthe]ess~ 'these ,aspeots of' an .di:vidluaJ. 'whleh we des~gnat,e as an author (or which comprise an individual as, an author). are projec!:J)mD:s"n rerms Illw.ays mom or Iess psycho. i logi:cail. of eur way of han.dling 'tmm:: .m 'the c.om.p.arisQlIThs we make, the traits we extract as pertinent. the co:nti_nmtJi.es;we Ilissi.~, or th,el exclnsiotl:!!i we practice. In addition" all these opercations vanry O'I.ceommg to' the period and the fonn of discourse concerned A "philosopllrte:r" lind a "poet" Me not COIDI~cted in the ,same mauner; and the, 3.uilhor ,of an e:i.ghteenth-oeumry novel was formed. illijereliilt]y &"olll~e :m.~demt!.o1ife.1ist. neTt: Me. nevertheless, h'ruil!shlsb:llri~l eonstants In then~es that govern the

coastruettcn (if an a:1Il!ithor, lliI literary critidsrn, far ,ex~p]e,

th~ 'traidi'l::ion!!almethods larg~ partfTm'l!il




au.t:boli'-tllJ ~~theTJ for detenn:ining the cOMgtn',ation

ton cafegoclca~. Criticiml. has been, eonesrned fur some wilh aspects of a fe(t not full)' depoode:nt on thel.lotion divrihu:d ereatcr, studies orgerus or the'ii.na~ysis of ,teocl:u~.Dotifs and thclrVllInJ81tioll'J!S from a aarm oth'll:r l .author. F'urtnermQ'f\e. where in mathematics theilufhor

time now' of an fnrecurring

o,fthe, authQ1' f~Qm existingtem-deri¥e.

than th~
hais be-

,au.the.nticaoo .(or to reject" the particular M,odem. criti.ci!l'm, in .ib demi1l' to "'teoov,e{' th€l author from a. wo:rk" emplof.'i devices $tr,o:ng'~y
traditioill to texts in its possessioilil. remilllJsoent of Ch.ristiau ex:egesjs when Itwished topYOOIlJ the value of a t~ by ,iWce~1ain.iDg tl!!lhfJIII~S'S of its author. In De 'Vilis lllmtribus. Saint Jerome maintains tha:thom.onymy is not proof of the ecannoa au.thorship of severn] 'Wo.rb, since mMY fu.dividlla]s cou1d. :hav,e the same Dame or someone could. have perversely a:ppJ'opria~ed anoth.els:nam.e. The name. as an individual mark, is aet s:uJlde:ol as it relaees to a t~htal 'traditio.n.

used in the Chriman

oomJe 1litt1e momfi,an a handy reliereace f'OT ~partic1l1Br dieoll)em or gr,oup of pr.oposit[ons, the I1eferflQoe to an atuthor in bi:olliogy
and medicine. or to' the' date of, his re1!earch ..bas a :ru.b~tiaUy

,diH''Mootbearing,. 'fhis laner reEer,enoe, moee tharn simply indlcat~
mg the source of inlo'flna:tion, attests to II::l'lEl "Ieli3ibil~ty" 'of the ew.deoco, since ],t entwloi llil!il applu~al1on oJ the ~echoiql1e!l and

be a:fuibut:edl, to _ fudiV'idud :!lutibor?mat I:!O!l'm.~. rcl:8i,ted. to the function oJ 'llie·!!!,uUloor. wlrn msdosei the :fnvolvrunmwt of sev,eral ~t;'o:rs? A.ooo~g to Sai.wc Jet'OJ!lJm.e:~Welle are fu!l,l!1l' erlberla: the teDS 'l:ihatmurtbeelimina,tBd fj1omthe, list ,of w~ks ,;ltmlmitoo to a .s~l!ligle ~uthor amthose inferior t01 the Qlhe~ (mus,:li:e aUi'I:l~ i5 deJm,ed. as :a ~dru:d level of qu:aUty) ~tho$e whoi5if!J~deas oog)ictWJ1~ :the d:QCirrMe ,~ess~d :ffinthe ,oilie~ ,,'hel,e the :;,!'llUln_or is dwed ;\liS Oil; ,~aln fle]!d! of ,ronoopruru Oil: ~~o!re'W~oohereJ:lCe) .1'hD.Sie io¥11tten _ a dlfFer'eDlt style a'ild 'COi[iitam_.s: 'WcR"lsmd phrases not Ol'dlnati[y [o,und inth(ll Qtbe.r wo~b (the allthO!i' Is seen as: a .8tyli:stfu mrlOOrmity) ~ aDd~OS9 rerenmg to ,events or m:5'l:or:i.cd iflgutes subRqlll!l!!"iBt,~o ~e d!eat' of ~eaufbor (~e a~thor ii;~husa deJ3inim lInJsttni(;;3jIfi!~in wmcl1.as~e.s of ,eve~ts converge) •. Mi!lwu;g~ mod.em ,criticism dm~s ru;at !.1!V'I!~atbl' R!El.V!IlI these S'$U!e su.~cion:s ,oo-noo:m]_n,g ,autffin:elJitJ:,~ttOI'l" i,~ ~Wl;ijeg[es fO'1 de£ll!il:i.:ng ~~ author p.r.e~lWt strilting sJmilOl:riities.Th.eauil:1or e:x:pbas: thepresenoe of ~riain eVBnts: \vitlilil!a te·!!Jt,as wei as rhem ~fofma,'l:liolmiS" ,distortioo:s"and vaeieus .odiJGca:ti()ir.!~ (and 'tmsl:hnl~gh an ,Etu,tmJtol~,brogra.phy or by l,Ie£e:!:en~etoms .Pilll:rI:iCU]~ pOint Q~ view, m.~eWl<l].ysIs of hlssecial p[l'derences and his po.sni'on~driD 8 !cl~ or by ,de.]~e..!Itingh.i;s: undamoobl,obj ectives). f Theauiliol also oaruotihltes 1\ :prin.cipl.e of uni,ty in W'rlb1~ whereanyl:mevel!].~ ness o~ proGUcIioD. 'if; a$CIibBd~o cban:ges caWiSoo. 'by ,evolu:tiJ).]]J,. mJ!lwJ;ation, Gil' ou.tmle, inll:JJ8noo. In Oiiddilfio:n..heau:thor t Se.o"CS ~Q lleu1J:'ame the oo.uuamclio![ls: tb:8!,t are fo~nd .m. a seJ'i,esof text~. Gowmmg tltl:5i fun.ctioimlis the beMefthat ther,e mustb~t;l pQl"tlc@.du ~ev:el of u. au:thor":s: th(lught. ,of 'ms cons:«om (11' unCGnsciQUS d:esl1Ie--a. pomt where c@IitradioliGns are resolved,. w~eJie t:be moom.pa1ihle ,elem,e:!llU be ,show:g,to .l>@lateW' One a'Ootiler or'bl' oohere ru"Q~~d a. nUJ:dUlJe:ntan: and origj]lJ;ati~g tlo.w.~ tradiction. Finally. :tbe ;)Il!!:thOl" isapamoular WlIDC9 ofex~:ue~~OI!: wh@>in EliIor:e ,CM' less £lWshedfOil'ms. is m~S'~ed eq~ai~ywel>. and 'Wi~ sWnilar vmdity;iDamxt, iII letters, fragJn€::ni.ts,dr.afb How. JhelaJ, ,e_ sev,eI'ru tellb .w;di '"'0. .'o~ '1'h!;!'s, e..... whtle Sai:nt .Jerome·~ rom pr:htCii$l~es en of alnithentJ1city m:i.~t Si~eM! largcly m3Jdeql!a!are oo!llodem ,crlH.cs, t1L@y, nevmth.e~ess. dsine the criHC8il .mocl!alit:ies]!)j~w used w mspm.y the fllD.cti.OD of t'heau:t'ho.r. Ho,wevce:r. it "''QUId 'be blse ~o cOlils[d!erthe function. of the author as a p1ll!m and s::implc~eroilllis!troc,t[on =:nl5er.e fact of a ~ext gi¥eJil.a:spassiv~ maberia], slneea t6XJ1:: always: beaes a nunther . of s-ign:S~:!li,trt!'rer~othe author.. W,eU bo\vn togtWMIlarial1ls. fh.erete~fual 8~S me peIllOna].pmnOlirnl, adveiibs of Mm,e Md. place', and. the oonjII.l,S~lio.n. ofvewbs. ~~ JBu~it is .W:lportEmt to Do,te

th~t these elemeM;s have a dilere:ntbearillg ,on~exl's with a:n autho.rnnd en those \'Vithout 'One. Mn fh.e htle:r, these "'shif~e:n" mel' to. areal :Speake'l': adte _ llicmaJ de[oucsitufitimlJ!., w]ltlg, a
oertotin excep~ ~ehMtheCi!lSe ofmdbeet speech, in the first per.so:~.'Whe:!l di;iOO~tSe is J.inliied.oo a~urtloj',hoW1evew. the raXe of «shlf~efi' Is n'J.(lFe, oomp,le.>;; ~d.vm~ble •.I:t~s well know:rl that In. a~o¥el~arratl;d mtheSr.stperronj,~e:it~e:rth.e' G~ person pm]llr~tlte pr,~erut .dleativ,e ~~ nor, for that matter" it's $iPr~ o:fh:~i(]al]~tio~re$er ~cUy to the wnJtef,e:itTh\!e;r ~o the tnn.e when. he~VI\o~e. ertethe ~eclfi,c; ~(:tof 'WIitmg; :r.lth.er. 'th.ey si'Hd f@.iI" a "seCQnd .se'lf'I~whnse slMman.ty to the autlio.r ]:s; neV'Il!!r b.<ld. ~d undergo.e'Soo!U~detarui[eal:lNation w1ltMn the ,C()! • .S!e 3, smglebQOik, mt would be as false to sfe"l th.6 ~!!J:th.oil'iQ ,of fce1.;lJltio:n~o me <1!cbM!;;lJ~ Iifj~ es ooth.e w Ic,f!i:oWll ll.auaroar; the "':i;l1tbllr-funct!i@]ljJ'"' arises out of ~eir ~C]ss:iQ;q--.in~he division ~~d di:stalm!~eQlthe lwOI O~M,~! mfghili ob.~ectthait this phenmne:r!lD.ll only U. On perSiQ!,!~ pronml'l:llS ("'Shlf1lOn:'·). ~6e R J lIIkobsot!,. SelBm:M (Ptlrill.; Mouton. 191],). n, 13f}-32. and E~ de. lingiu:iith1qUG s6n6rale "Paris. 1966), p, 25'2. Fio! i~ ~~l:'leX'Si~ im.p]ieatkm:'l. .seel Ell;gmtID.Donaro, "Of Si~crurilis!4\l, a'r:!dUtera,~." MLN. 82 (1'967). 55(1...58. On :ad'l'erb~ oFtim.e a1ild .p1ace. ooe Em:i]e. Benvemsto, Prl.l~ de w l· 'que genh~ (PariS,. ]966), pp. 23,7~O. 25. 'Of,. Wayne BOCItlu.'I'h!Jll:h8tori~ ~ FikfNQn·(Cbi'Ca~O<; UIl~V. of C~j.cS!S~Pr~\> in9fH),. pp. 6·1-'17', .



(lPari¥, 1953).


:s:~ .Evmsto

.Amli, La TecAniqu.t!l ,d,u livM d'(ipre~ SaiN' J,fJ.rome



130 ap1i1ies ~o .novels or poetry'~~o a ,oon~ext 'of ""qu;u~-dis«lii!l!ff,e~" but, in fact. all WsconllfSethat supports &is "3~thor·funct:i_,On:"'is ,Mamcteriud. by 'this p]iurality of egos, In a matheml3ii!;i:cl1il,tr~tiiS'e, dilf: ego who ii.nW.Cll:OOS the ,circumstances ,of composition in the pmf.aoe is not idootimrn, ,either int:etms: of his position OIL his func~ timl. to the "I" whoooncludes 3i demonstration w1thin. the 'body
of ~~, ~BXt The

actual individual insofllJ:[;U it simultaneous'y gives: nile to


O.E egos and to a s~ries Of subjecUve positions that i])!d,ivMuals of
auy class m r1y come te occupy,.



aware that until now I have kepltmy
limr~s;, I sheuld

subject wm'ruin.

Jo~et imIplliesa un:[qjI1e~ndiridual
in OOll'iIp]et:lng a p['oject,
an ~nstaDool

W~Q., a!~. a


also ha va :5pQkeJ!lll ii 'lhe "'aufiln,rI

w'liwe-r,oos and plan of delnonstration that ~yo~e oould pedmM provided. the same let of axioms, pre]W:mnuy op~ratioo.s, I3Jndan ide~tical set of ~bo]s wern used, It :lS, also possibJe 'to :~ocartea thirn e,go~ O:[l}~ who speaks of&e goals of .bIs imwveJ!ogation. the obstacles ~DOO1mrrered~ :resu~ts, Its and dle problems y,e! lobe so~vedand :thi.s"r" would £uncti.JJD in iii .Ield of e1cls;&g 01' fumre mathematical discourses. W,e ue not d!~S with a iSiysl.ltnlDof depml/dencies Whe1'i9a Brst and essential 'use of the "I" is tedupUca.~edl,as a kind (a£lIll,ction,. by 'the ,other two'. 00 the conwm:y, &'0 "author-function" in sucl.1 discou:mes opernlies: so as to ,efiect the s:im.rultanooWl disp.eJ'sio:n .of the dn"ee egos.2~ Furth,rur e,]aOOration w01.d,d, of co~e. dmsdose otl:!.eii' charactimistics of the ""3!utboi""'function. but I 1mve lim[ted mys.e:}f to the, Eourtllat seen!ledtb~ most obvious Ilind .bmI,port~nt. 'They com be swmmmzed in the fulowmg manner: the "aut:hoJi'-fuuctiou" is lied to the legaland .mstitultl:onal systemS:W;El/t c:i:rcwnscribs, det~ige. and, arti.cula,mthe realm ,0£ di~cou.rses; i~ does not ,operate in a: uniform. m£lIm.,e!r in 3U druoootLnes. at all tim.,e;s,aud :in ,any giv,en culture. it is not de:Gnedhr the spontaneous: :atmbu~ liOD ,of a 'tie'Xt' to its: cli'ea:l:or. but tbr-ougb a series of pl[ooise and eGmp,lex procedures; it does f.iQt ref,M, purely and. simply, to Bin
tmD_,eatl;'e:r indi:,cat'e.'i l

gi\'en time and place, snceeeded

fun-cHon" In pAinting; my~:ic, techni:G1.\] :G.,e1d~ and. so forth. AdmiHing th~ my anaJy~s is resmcbedto the domain of ,discourse, it seems th<lt I have gilventhe term. "author'" an excessively narrow meanJug. I have di.s.cus!ed. the autho~" olmll.y in the ~United sense' of a person to w'hoon ~'eproduc:tioiITII of a ~ext,a 'book,. (Ili aJ. work c;u'Jj be, tegi'lID:ute1y attribulied.I'IQwever, it Is obViious that even witb.in the malm .of di_5COurS0 a person can 001 'the 31utho,r of much more t1wn a book":-of a theory, for instance, 01 atradiHolill or a dtisc:ipU_neltvidrin. which new boob and ~uth,ors 'C8inpr,olif~r= a'be. HII!' COHvemence. 'We could say tha:t meb ,E'WIthOts OCC'liip'y .a fftnmsdi.s:cW!;:I'si,v,e" position. .
Homer, Amtotle. 8iDd the Church Fathers play'ed thls 1'o]e, as CHdthe fiFSt m<1!JtilU.'lllla:ticians and the on:~aror.s: 0'£ the llippoc:I"ati:c l::riiliditiom.Thli$ type o.f 8JUtltor]S surely as old as Om dvibiza,tio;n. But m lU:lmiev,e th:atthe :ninebeen~ Oe'.llllmy ln Europe produced a

si:n_gu1ar tyPe of author who, sholldd nort be oonfu®ed with "peat" li.tera.ry authors, '011 authors of canonical religious 't~m, and the the ~Qundern of' sciences. SomewlU'lt al'l"bitrarl1liy" w,emi,ght carum them If _,.. ,. mi •• ators OJ: m.sCUtsnre prac,'!:lces, The distimll::,Hve cOJ!llltributlion of th~ ,authors Is that they pro•••.• ,._: k~ f '" .

26. 'This condk!!lfon nl!01ws. ttl F'C!:I!J.rou1fs 'Conrero iml ~~O'pmga. iof eVen!bi" as: desmbed.in L'Or.dt:(! du J.jJcaW',~. pp. !jo.,tha,t we 'C~I, algi' e that I dol'lO[ refer to a rucces:'lion 'of moments In tmle. tl.m' '00. a_ diverae plitu.cal.i.ty '!~g O mbj'ocitsl I l1e~m ;EIeaesura which Fragm.wt!lihe rn.mnentaJod ~W'se:'l; the :5ubjeet mto it ph~:r."l:ity of po:ss;ibl:e i?ru~tiOlri!l::m.d fW1C,tiom:.
"philosop.by In: "I '~t

dueed not only their Own work, but Ithe possibility and ilie .mh:s of formation of other texts. In tlUs sense, their mle dl:fl'ers en= tirety flO:mJ ~hat' 'of II. novellis't,$or exounp']e, who is bas:i.cally never mare than, the authee {If hls mm text. Freud fs~ot ,silnply ~ author of The J~jfetati()ln .01 D~ams or of Wit and i1~ Re-,w.. UOAto the U1~COf!$dllU$and Marx is gO~ s:i:mp,ly the ,Eluthor Ofthili COl1un-unist Manifestoi)li' Capital: they botb estnbIis'hed the end-




Obvio1l!l!sly, aon easy objecliof,!



made. 'The auilio.r of 11, o,v,elm.ay be re5ponsibte~olL more !harn n hisown te.Xil:; if he acquires sQ)me"importancer in, fue,mltef:ary' "rolrla.h~S'i:!lil:uence can have .dgniScant l'amWooitions. 'Tbfak'e a very shnp]e ,e,x!mlip~e. one could say that Ann RadcllUfe, did, not simply write Th.tI M ysJeries .of UdQ].pho :Elud .::I, fleW oili,er novels, but also made p(i~ibiB the appearance of Cothlc Romances a!~ the beginning of the nineteenth eentury, To this, e.xten,t" her function. as an author exceeds the lintits of hm work However, tllls objection can, be answered by the fad ~at tbep05s~bM!ities disc]lj$dby the initLato]'s O'f d:iscurrive pmetlces (using the ,examples of Marx and Freud" whom. I believe to be the Hi"$!; nd a ~~e m.ost impo,rt;ant) are si.gJtd6c:mdy different&om. t~ose mggesmdl b},ftove'lisl:s. The Dlwe~s .of Ann Rad~ put into cli'cuilatiOll 3:, eertaia n1IDlher ,of resem blanees and analogies patterned on heir 'Woo~k-wrious: ,chru:actmistic ,dgns. i6gu:res, rnbl.Donilhl:pSj. Md structures that could be mlJegrated. moo othc.lf book~. En sho'l1. to say that .Ann. Raddifo ereated the GotMc R..o~;moo meaas that ther,e are· cm:tai!l'!.elements OOn'I.IDO'D her werks and tio to the mrHl~eenth-century Gotmc l"OmaJ~ce : the' h.ru:oinemJined by :ber O"'VD innocenoe, the seeret fortress that functionsa.s a OOU..DOOr= .city. the o1!llUaw-hero who swears revenge On the· wortdtba:ithas 'C'lusedbi:mJ •. etc. On the othe1"hand •.Marx and Fnmd. as aiRiliSiI" " f' ., seursrve prac ..:" -, d '1...] • "ors, Q. 'di"" ••ees, pot o.ru.y mace POSS11:1' e =:I. certarn nruB.ber of .anaJog;i.es;t.hat could be adopted by ,mll!JKe ~eM.s; but. as importantly, ,they also made possib~e a ,oerta.fu IilUDlber of dif= ferences, They cleared a space fer the introduction of elements other ~ha.ntheU- own,which.. nelVerthelos.s. 1"emain within the Beld of discourse theym]tiated. In. saying that Frnud. £Ot!!iIU~OO, piSyc.ho:amildy'Sis, 'We do n.ot simp~Y'mean thatthe iConoopt of lillido 'OJ:the wchniqnes of. dr,eMll. analysis l'eapp0a:r in the; writings of :Kad Abraham 0]' Melanie K~ein.,but .a:t he made poss;i.ble ,9, certain .ollUlil!ber ~ differences willi respect t-o his books, eon,c-ept:s. o and hypoth~s. wMch aU arise out of psychoanalytic diseourse, Is {:his: notth~ case. however, with the founder of any new science or ,of o:..ny authol' who successfully tJ:ansforms an ewting
science? addition Afoor all, GaUl'eo isbullrecl:ly to having paved responsjMe

!Il33 fOf the lens

of those who m~ohankaUy applied th.e laws he forml!!lJated"in
Ithe way fOir 'the pmduction

oJ ~ta.te-

menu far dillerent .fmn"lMs own. IE CurieI' is the Founder (Jf biology and Saus.m:re of linguistics, it is not because they w,el\e imi.tated O'l' that an organic concept Or a theory of the sign was QJ!Ilcrifr.h::.iiI]]Y~int:e,grBit~d toto DGW t,exts, lImt because Guvier, to a

opposed to his

erl,ent, madeposs.ible O\VlIlI system


a theory of ,evolution Saussure

di~a,ebicany maJd.epo~.sible

a g;ene:rative gl'amnH)'..t rawca]ny diJ]enm:tf~'om biS own struetural ualys:i:S. Superlic:iaUy;then, the inilialion. of disc1!l!J'sIveractices p

appears si::mj]~ to the founding of' H]]Y sci€!~tm:c,endea'l.'or.oot
I bdiev,e the:!"e is a funda:meDtai~ difference.

lI'n a scie])ftiicprogram. dLe fouJJ:ding act is O:Jl]J <liD equal f-ooting with its fubwe mnsf:onnations,; n i'i mer,ely one amongthelmany mQdHlcations that it makes posstble, This intel'dependenrecaiD
take ~ven:d [000,$, In thefu~!te d,e,':elopm.e-ntoE' a science, the , iOl!l..Bding act may a.ppear :liS litt~e more thana s]ng~e instance of a more gene-rat phellilOl'llenon tl'nrat has beef.i d:isoov,eTed. It m.ig't be ,questiJ'loed, in recr,QiSpect, fer b.ef:n.g tOQ' intuitive or lem.p:irl,c:d andmbmitted ~i) tThleigors, of IieW thenretieal o{lMati.olf.lS hJi erder r to srtull!te it in a £mm,a~ domain. F:inaU}r. it might be thought ill hasty g,en~izal6on whose' v.aHdity shQuJ!dbe restricted, II! 'other "WO.Tds,. f;oundmg act of 31. seienee can. always be reehanneled the through. the machine.ry of tran:donnations: ft has ins:I::Uut.ed.'i~ OlJlthe other hand, ~.e inU:liatiol!1l of a Clfscurshre p1'ilCot~OO is, heteeogeneous to its ulterlor tlta-nsfonn:afi,oll.s. To, ex(,end pSYC.DO.Bllil!lytic prac>tice, as m.(tiated by Freu.d" is not to presume a formal gene:ra1!l:ty that was not ,cllliimed at the 'Qutset:,; :U is to exp\lore a J111f_mber ,0£ possible <'i.p,pUcaHons.To limit it is to, isQ~at:e'ilIlifue origi_D~ ,texts a. SII1JJall. sell of pnJposUi@:Wiior sl:al;eme!I!!t.!l~jt :lim'
reoognized ,a.sbavin,g im. iinaugurative valaeand that mark other F])eudian eoncepts ortheerles as,derivaHve. Finally; there are no 2I7. Cf. the WsCW;SiOIl, (If mSI:!ipline.~: in L'OTd'l",e da di8COW'l.f.i'p.


"':fai~iiie'" stil~~eIIIJt:s iliI ~he WQ'I'k of these ip.itiatoIs, tJm~e statements ()Qnsider,ecl_inessentia:[ or "prehistoric;' in th~t tin.ey Me associa~ed witb another' disc.ourse, a.n'! simp]y neglected in faYOI of the more perti_jJjent aspects of the work The io:iJiiatioo of a dis~)tl:mV'B pr,aItlUoo, urrlike the founding of 3! sctenee, overshadows and ls necessaruy detached from its later tices.

spetilic.&ty. which cool"acted:.;oesthe initiat:ion of discm:sive pIa.cIf we return, it ~s because of a basic and ,constructive omi:~~ ~iOD" !1J!Q 'lI)JniSS[OD that is not the result of <liooid_eIlit incom.pre. M heosion. ~o In. die>ct, the act of m~ti~Ho:!1l]s Sl!1cll. [[ii. it'S essenee, tllat it is :in~... itably s.ubjed,ed to its own distortions; that wbi·cb OIisp]ays nus act and derives from it is, at the sametime, the l(lot
of i.~s,ruvergencesandtra:vesti.es..

deverrrpments and 'transfonna.

tions, As a. censequenee, we d;eine the thOO1'eticru v,ali(Hty of 3 stl:!tte;m.e:m: U:bre~pect ~Oth(J work of ~~1ein~tiatOF;whereas In the w case (If Calileo or Ne'\vtrlD, .it is based on thestructmal and, m· kiJlJsi:c nonn.s ,esta1bUshedill cosmology Olip!lruyS~CS. Stated sehe.m.atiailly, th,e woOrk o,{ these ~niti8~orsruS: not simated in rda;tion '~O 3, science or in ~he space it defines; rather, it i:s: :sdeD~ or discursive, p,ra.cticetha!Jt ~e]ate to their works as the ,primary

points of referenoll!. In beping with ~his distinction,we

can.und,efstand why it ls inevitable th8i,t ~n!3!ctitioneTs 'of such. dlseourses must "rerunli tOo the oiigin.'· Here, aswell, it is: nec-essary '~Od\istitlguish a '"'Rtum."

from scientific: "~red;isooveri,(lfs" or "l'e~ctivB:tiQOS." "'Rediscov,en.es" are Ute, effeots, of analogy Oil isomOIphism wi,th cnrrenrforms ,of h01ll.'ledgethac a]]Qw t~e' pe.r,ceptioilil of forgotten 0:1: obsesred '6,1Pll'es. For Instance, Ghomsk"Y in Ills book en Cllrtes[;m grBm~ nUll''!!!! "r~disco'vered" at lam of knowledge'that bad been, in use (!!'Om. Orudem,oy to H~borndt. It CQwd onl)' be~~d,lttstood fUl:m the per:speotive .of g~nel"ative gmmmW' became this later manif,e..rtation held the, key to its ,oonstruction: ,in e~el)t,a retro~ speGmive' OOdi£i~li!Jtion of oll'l! bistorica]positiODI. 4'R.eactivatiolll" ,wfers to mm.ethm:g quite diHerent: the .Hi)semOn of ,dlt~oours8mto 'totally new domains of gooer,alizatioD, practice,and trruJsforma~, lions. The history of m.a:thematic.s abounds in ,eocampIDes this! of :p1l,~omenon as the work ,of Mkbel Serres ow ma'th'emiil:ti~
,anmnnl'lsis shows.

lDus~b6 regulated analysed, and. reduced in a return to. the act of iilltiation.'fhe "b<awet impOt<;edby emissiea wail, pot: added £wom. the outside; it: arises from the d:iscIJr'siv,e pnlicl[ce In qu~siti:lon, whldl giY'es it its law. Both tbe cause of 'the bamer and the, means £01[ its: liemQV,al, this omis:s:icm.~[so responstble for r:h,6' obstacles tlrntprewnt lemming ~othe act ofinitiation--elllD only be r,esolv,oo'by .~ retum. In ~additioD. it is ~w,a'Ys ,9, rerum to ,a ted in it'Slelf,.specl6caruffiy. to a p:l:"ima~and anaderned text witb particular attention ~o *ose tmn.~ registered irn th.e iDtel'stioes ~£ ~be tm::t, its gaps and abseaees, We :retum ~o those empty spaces dUI,t have boon m9is:k~cllby omission or concealed in. a fa]seand misleaang plemmd:e. In these redi:sc.O"rie~ (!I·E:n ess6:1]1tial ~a:Cik. e lnd tht!i a w o.sciIktiOD. ,of two c.har,ac.beriwc respenses: ""Thi!l point was made-you cant h@\l seeing it if you knowhow to' read". or, inve.tsely, aNo"tha.t, :~mmt is: notmade many olf t'be p,rird:ed words

Thls nonaooMental om~~s:ion by precise operations that can be s[tuart,e.d,

ti01l,<SWpiSnd, in, the diistanoe that a
D.3!turally thatLnisl'erum,

the 'f,eatt. 'but it~s e~'ln.. essed through the words. in: therrro~a~ separetes tbeiQ." It follows
which is a part: offfi·e d~scursive COfl!$!uantly introd1uees modifications: and ~hat the re-


tum to a flext is no,t: 81. historical su:pp']eme:nt tllat would come to £l~~tse1f upon the primary discursjVJity and .redouble it in the

The! phrase; "retum to',:' designates

a llno'vement with its proper

fom'll of an ont:am,ent w":kb, after aU, is Dot ,~senilial.Rartlmr. it is an eiEfective <'Ind n~oessarym.eans, (if trallsfonn:ing disearsive p:raotice'. A .study of CflI]ileo's works could alter 'our knnwledge
:F'o~~ult writes m L'Ordre flu df.scoW's: ''The new ~ not ~ound m what is said. bo1ltt [i the eveat of it~.return~ (p. 281; ,see also below., ~ ""I'heatrum Philosophicum." pp. 186-196.

Foucault's ''Nietzsche. Freud, MaJFJt." IOn tile rolel of repetitiol!l.

,3'0. For a discussion

0'1 the recent reorientation. of the siglll, see

afthebistory.bu:t examination oftbe Dot the sdeucB, of meckintcs; w'~~:meas~ liefa books ofF.lieud or Marx can transform our

DevelDp:iP:g a. .sim:ihm mudysis ,oo'U.dd provide 'the basis ,for iii, typology of discourse. .A typo~ogy o~this sort cannot be ad-

undentaudiog of psyohoanalysis

or Matmsm.

A kist .fea'mm of ~'hese ulfmns is :~ffiTh!l,t they teodbor.eWor'~, the enigma:lic ,link between an authoe and his; works. A text has an inaugurativiflWluG preetselybecaase ,it is the work of a ~~ 'licularautilor.and oW' rnmms are oondi,tionoo by this b::ulw~edge. The IediscoViezy of an, ullim.mVD tex't by Newton Dr Cantor wW not modify ,c]as-sica'[ ,co.milology or group theory. at mest, It wiD change our app:reda:tlou of their hlstor1cd genesls, Bringing: to, lig~t however, An Of~tliM af PsyclwanaiySris, mlth,e; '0xte]l!tthat we r,ecQgmz,e it as a book by Freud, ,can trnnsfomI not: on:ry our 'bl:stlodcal kn,OIIW]edge, but the field of p:syChoanal]i'l~(l thl.:mry-if

eqQate~y uDder.s~olJd in lIemUon to the grtmlmatical features .• fOO1I!l:aJ ,strurmres, and (a:bi eets of disci)~ 'because ,theJ)~ undoubtOOly exist specific discursive p:t1)pem.es, or' r~]aitionsmps tha:t

are iu,educible to them~es of ~ammM and logic and b) the :laws 'that goVieiD, objects. These p:l'ope:rtl.,es require mvestiglltion if we hope to' dist:inguishthe ]a:rger cate,gories: of discourse. The
dille:r,ent :£OmlS of m~ationshii,p$ (or Mnrelatioruhip<s) t~t an author can assu:rne are ,evidently (me o£th.(lS(l mS:C1U~ive properties:, 1'his form of inves:l:~.gll,tl0nmight also permit the inuoductkm. ,of :1Ul histodcal I,lrnalym of' discou~P'erhap<s the time has eeme ~o smdynot onay the expil\es!iLveva.l\u:, andfo.m1al mnsfomutions: of di!CO'urs.e" 'but its mode of' eldsrence: ~~e nIodi6catlo]lJj$;md

on]y' through

a ,l!1mt: of' accent or oftle


of gwavlity'" 'These
praetices, form

of discursive


is not ide~l:icd to tlhat wm~h linb mediate author .. These remarks

betwee-n ~tund;[im.'lmtal" ruld .• edi:ahl autho.rs, wbiclJ :'lin o:nll1muy tm:JI:: m .its: im-

variations; ,vitWinany ooWl:tme. Modes of cil;culaooIl, valoriza'of 'tion,. ;attn1mtion,. and arp:pl'o:pri~t[o:P. Partially at the experu;e of

OOiiIC),e:mJo,ghe imnation of dl:sCIIU'siv.epr,aclioes t hav,e; been extrem~ny sc~~.a;tI_.C', especialywith regard. m 'the;
founding tms,iWtialion p;d. the the two is not lleadi~y disoonilibl~; more@'V'm'~tb~e is no ,roof tlat' 't&,e~ .~ procedures ar-e m.uwalIDy 6xdnusive. My only purpose in setiti:ng' up this 'OPPOSItiOn" however. was to showWaJt the «author~functioD:' snfI,e.ffi.ent'ly oomp~ex at "the ~vel ola book or a. sedes of 'oo:xbl that belu"a ,deRrute slgna,mre,blls other deteWliming factors: when analysed Interras of ]atg,e:r 'li!otities-grwps of works .or ,mm,e discip'ines.

op'position Lhave

med. to, trioe between

-theMes and conoepts that an fI~itnQl" places In w work" the "aullior· ..wnotion." could also reveal the manner in wbi:cli. d.iis~ course isartteulated on 'the baS]$] of :soci.a~r>elanom:llips. b[t~otposs:iblf1 tD re~~i:ne" as a~egitiMa:te' eldenSl'Oll, of this: kind of ana]ys[s:. Ute prl.vileges: of the: :mbjec!? C[ooltly. in

of sci,enoos~ The distinctioDbetween.

undertaldng I:llD :mnmmal and architectonic anai]ysis of a 'Work ,(wheiilier it be a IDi:liuruJ' 'te~ a philo:s:ophical sy:s:tem. 'W' ac ~i:en.tific work) and, in dei]Dn.itiing,ps,ydi!toYogi.cal and bjognpWcat refeIiences. ,suspicion'S ,arise ooneernin(g th6 absolute nature and c:reativ'eimI,e of the subject. Butthe subject shou.ld not be en-

iiirely a:bandilll!~d. It should. be reconsid.ered.
theIne of an origi..natiug subject,
.te~ntioD in, diseourse,

Dot to restorE! the

but ~o seize i~fun,ctiom.


Unfortunately. ther,e is a, daaided absenea .of positive propo.sltions

futu_re leseW1Cb" bllll~]I[ ,ought ,at.east to ,giive the ,reasogs 'why I atta,rib ~ch impwtanoo 'to ,3. oorwtinuation of 'tms work. tions

m this

ellMy. as :~ applies

to aua~ytic' p11ocedme5 or direc-

_d. its sys~.en1.of dependencies. We typu::al questions : bow dees ~ free ~.bl oct penetrail:e the den.sity of things :SIDd endow them with meaning; how dolts it accomplish its design by .anrimatfug dl,e rules of rus.. oonrs~' from wWhln? RaJli.m'., W6 should ask: under wh3.t ,co~di~ sheuld ms:pe:nd~e
tionsandthrough what. forms can. an eBtity]ike the S'1J.J:b,j apact pear in. the OIider of discourse; 'what posi.tlon does .~t occupy;;

whd fllD.ctions does' it eNh~b.[tj a.ud what rules does~t follow ~Il each '~ 101: di~eo~? In short .•the subject (and its ~bStitMtes) m,u~t be:ltripped of Us ICFealive role and a[lla]rs~d asa. campTex and nri~.bTe fu~otioLlJ of d:iscolll".5e. The_ l!I.UthOrr:-OF W~::l:t I have ca~[ed. the"o1!,uthoil"~fu!1ctiQn"-i:s ~~ou.bted[y o.nly one of the pO'ss[b~e :specilOil!.t~oD:.'> of tine SiU.bffect and ', (:o'n~:idmng p'~t hlstori~~ wa:~~fOm.ul~:h;m;s,. appears that tt th0 ~~, the COMP~m':~ty, find. eventhe existenoe of ~his function ate .far from :irnm.ulhtble.We can easily :imagine a C1]JDt\:!J)e where dlSiC()U:~wiotdd circula:rte wit!hou:t .any need fw:an. autho[[, Ii)b. COU1'$e$, w~ateyer their starns. fOI'Il'l. or value, and rega.rd'[es!l of our manner (If h8i~d!~iIlgthem> weuld ~ln"J!i:ioM! in a :p'e:nra$lVe anonymity. No ]oll(g;e.rthe ruesom~reJ?etiti!o.m;:

"\Vbo is~'he Joea~ au.tho!r?"
'''Have we p.roof of ms .auit'hen~c]tyandOrigiruiffiityr'> _ '"'What has he mv,ea;]ed 0'£ Ws ~ost p.l!o~ound _sellf i~ Ills li'llili~age?" _ New qu,estijons \\<:illbs heal\d:

1. IGeneaT~gy is gra,y.Wletio~,d()M!S'. :~d. p<8ltIenl!:ly dJocume11Jtary. I;t operates 00. a J[;,e.ld ,of entangled. :8i!l1dconfused pMclImcnts, on. dOCl,lme:l'l!ts that have boon &C.ratcled over <\I:i1;(l .n:oop!ied, m.o\lniy

"'Wha:t :ue the modes of exmreoce of t~is disCQ'!U'ser'"
'1\Tber,e does i.~r'
.rut OWIlC


is i!f:c]-«:u[ated. ,,_ """,,,~.T_ wbo '-'", uJ.li .. .....

""Wb~tp~aC'elnenfs <'Ui~ deb;}mlttlJed forpQiS!Sib1e' mlbjec,t~?" "'\V~o 'cainfu.tEi!rn :~ese diverse flDIDJmions of the subjem?"
m.UDWi\U' of im1IdlifferM(le:

BehID~d a!.


que5tiQ.ru; we w~;lIiM:'hear littlem.ore

than. t~e

On basts, H~lS obvlous that Paul Ree~was wrong ~ofoUow t[fue Ellg1is~ tendency i~ d.Gser~h[n,gtnB msrory of' mOil'ality in. ~e:rm5 of a linear devdopment:=in redJU:cing its ,e!]'J:m:elstorYffilld h g~e..'ii,) to aneJic]y~ive ooDcem.for utility. He, aSmDl,ed ~IDruOl,t weeds hildke:pt then: meanim,g. that desires still pointed in a srngre me~[on.Elnd that Ideas retai~edlheir~ogic...]]d he~gIliolied ~bo bet ~bt tThle odd of q;.eech and de~:ite~ ~ kr!Ol.VlmI invasions, .stfQg~ w h... gles, pl.u:miering, dr[~gmiS!es.ploys .. F[1Qmthe~~ e~em,ent!l,. Dowevew. geTIlea]ogy retrieves all ]ndaspensaMe restraiot: iit mU!it ])eom:d the singu]an,ty of events o:im!lt$h[e ~f :,l;~y mQMto:n<m!~lIil!~~ty; i~muirt see.k ~~em [0 tb.em:oSil: umJp:mmlsi.og plaees, i~ wha:t we tead to fed 1S withontMsl!ory In seJ)iti:rne(ll'l:s,.~ove, (;GlfIsch~nce, in·· This essay fkst appeared in Hotnfooge il lelillll'lliyp~oii:t6 (PM.is: Pre1lse~lhl~\I\ertlUa~~ de France, :n 91(1), 5---7:liL Along with


'''''Vha:t matter w:ho's 5p~kingr

"R.e];l'O[l5ie au (lere]e d'ep:istA'I11IDiogie:' whic!h _IiIlIJ UliM m;l:fIo;iucw.ry chllp~e:r o:f The Mctllll!w\~ogg(jil .Kna!ole:dge, ~ ~s:e,y .~en~ F'mcaul:t'~ aUEmpt to .e,KlJiain ms reJia>ti.o:nshlp to th~el soaeees 'Wkic~ ~Il~ .rundf!menmJ to bis development I tsimpo*noe, in '~errm: of uutlers;~amli[lg Foueault's nbjf.:(!hve~,cm"Dno~ Jw ·~)!i£lggK~rted .. h ap[lC0.r~ ... here by per.mis:;lrlri 'LIEPresses Urri",ers:ita:tre.~e France. d ill... i'3ee Nie,tz:lcihe's !Preface to· The Cefl;~klg!tfJl M,fllf'tl18. 4, 1Elli.

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