What Matters Who Writes? What Matters Who Responds?

Andrea Lunsford, Rebecca Rickly, Michael Salvo, and Susan West

The questions I pose in the title of this web are ones that have engaged theorists of reading and writing for at least thirty years now. Since Roland Barthes announced "The Death of the Author" in 1968, the notion of authorship (the "who writes?") has come under increasingly intense scrutiny. In literary studies, Martha Woodmansee has powerfully, and repeatedly, demonstrated the degree to which our emphasis on the "who" in "who writes?" is a product of a Romantic conception of authorship that has worked to privilege the "author" as owner of intellectual property, property that could be commodified and bartered in the emerging system of industrial capitalism. And a growing number of literary scholars are challenging the dominance of what Woodmansee calls the "author construct," demonstrating the web of political, social, linguistic, and ideological forces in which any seemingly unique "author" moves.


Postmodern (un)grounding * Collaboration * Copy(w)right/Ownership * Possible Futures

Title Page * Conclusions