critical analysis of "Death of an Author" by Roland Barthes

Essay by Token EntryCollege, UndergraduateB+, January 1997

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The title to the story 'The Death of an Author,' by Roland Barthes, suggests this story may be a fictional novel about the story of an author's death. Perhaps one might pick it up, and skim the foreword in hopes that beneath the cover of this book there would be a mystery, a story of detectives, eye-witnesses, clues, and a puzzle for the reader to solve. Before I read this story, the title 'The Death of an Author' brought to my imagination the biography of a writer slowly drinking himself to death trying to finish the story of his life, but the author would be stuck and depressed because his life is not a story as it is boring and repetitive. I have read such short stories with similar titles by authors like Raymond Carver and others. I was surprised when I began to read 'The Death of an Author' that a story with such a powerful title would be a wordy, whimper of a passage.

The author Roland Barthes is a brilliant writer, he is able to weave phrases and create new uses for verbs, nouns and adjectives. Though he is a brilliant writer I have to assume that he was not a very bright man or that he at least has very little common sense outside of the literary world. If he wrote in a more simple, to the point modern style I would have read the story, absorbed its content, and would not have given it a second look. The story could be summarized into 3 lines and thus reduce the amount of paper it is replicated on the amount of bandwidth required to transmit it, the space it takes, and the time it takes to read it. I came to this conclusion after reading 'The...