Friday, August 29, 2008

Foucault, dang it!!

Go!

21 comments:

Mr. Plainview said...

I do not think it matters who the author is of any piece. Obviously certain impressions are made when a name such as Shakespeare is tied to a piece, but what matters is the work being read, not the author. I disagree with Saint Jerome's criteria for determining if a person is dealing with one or several authors. One of his arguments is that works of a different style from the author's typical crafts should be excluded. What about Ian Fleming? Everyone knows he wrote the James Bond novels. Yet he also wrote the children's story "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". Should this story be discounted simply because it targets a different audience and therefore uses a different vocabulary?
I would like to illustrate one more argument with this example. The film industry has turned Mr. Bond into a high-tech killer who always gets the girl in the end. Anyone who has read the books will be able to tell you Bond has no gadgets. Perhaps more surprising, he NEVER gets the girl in the end. Anybody who has simply seen the 007 films assumes Ian Fleming created James Bond, the man that can do anything. He did create Bond, but his Bond is far different from the one shown on screen. In this case, the author is perhaps tied to the wrong work. Again, the author of any piece should not be considered while critiquing the literature.

bballinsupasta said...

the author must be known for people to fully understand many works. i;m not saying her needs to be known for everything because pieces like The Odyssey are great without knowing the authorship. when it comes to Shakespeare, i doubt that as many people would read as many of his works if they didn't know it was Shakespeare. for works like autobiographies, the author must be known, or the reader will not fully understand the work or the biases evident in it.
p.s. Ms. Scandurro, could you please count this one for last week ?

Caroline said...

I agree that it is important to know the author in non-fiction works so the reader is able to account for the biases of the author. This is especially important for historical pieces.

Dean Elazab said...

The author is important because he does not lose all of his memories when he writes. If he lose the author and not know his past, then how do we know what influenced him. Just because he lives in a time period does not mean he thinks like everyone else.

Aaron Nussdorf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron Nussdorf said...

the author is a vitally important factor to any work: the author, by the very nature of writing, presents his/her ideas in a work. therefore, the author and the work are inexurably linked and very much, at points, become one-and-the-same. the author is needed to understand is/her intentions with a work; the author acts as a guide to explain the work to the future. for example, an autobiography could have been written to tell the true life story of a person; however, it could also be a forum for gross overstatements of past actions. the author truely is needed in any examination of any work.

El Paco said...

Did any of y'all read the Foucault packet? He has an explanation for each of your arguments in his essay.

Mr. Plainview said...

What is an author? After many hours of intellectual pondering(as I've had nothing else to do) I have reached a conclusion: this is a stupid question. Forgive me for saying that, but it seems to make sense to me at the moment. Allow me to explain this with an example. Let's say you have a hoity-toidy intellectual fellow. I will call him Bob. Bob thinks and thinks and thinks. Each moment he is awake he tries to answer this question. There are three things that can happen to Bob.
A) Bob finds an answer that only satisfies himself. He can die in peace, but everyone will think him a fool.
B)Bob never manages to find an answer that satisfies anybody. He has wasted his life and will die in misery.
C) Bob finds something better to do with his time like chasing after pretty women.
Okay, what am I trying to prove? In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter who the author is. Either way, people will always ask who the author is.

Mr. Plainview said...

***In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter who the author is(?)*** (Accidentally put a period the first time.)
Oh, and I'm being sarcastic with Bob chasing after pretty women. Certainly there are much more productive and respectable things to do with one's time.

Mr. Plainview said...

Again, you will please forgive me if all of this sounds foolish or pessimistic. I suspect I may disagree with all this once I've slept.

joel derby said...

Brandon by far has the correct answer to this very stupid and pointless question. I can add nothing more it was such a good answer.

El Paco said...

Brandon - I see your point, and I agree with it, but just for the sake of keeping this thread going - if that's how you see it, then what's the point of any philosophy?

El Paco said...

Does the author produce the work or does his society, his culture, or his background? If Joyce didn't write so symbolically about Ireland, wouldn't another author have? Certainly, the author is a product of his/her society, and just because he or she may think differently than other members of that society doesn't make the work any less of a product of that society. society.

bballinsupasta said...

i don't think that anyone else could have written about Ireland as Joyce did, and works are not only products of society because author's views are products of society. syllogism does not work in this case. every person responds and grows in a unique way as society acts upon them constantly. therefore, a person might not reflect any views of his society, and his work would not reflect society either.

Ehren said...

I think knowing the author of a work is relevant depending on the type of literature that is produced. In non-fiction writing the author of the work may be essential to know in order to understand the point of view and the biases incorporated into the piece. On the other hand, if an author creates fictional works, his identity is not a defining factor in his writings because a historical poit of view is not needed in order to appreciate the work (neccesarily).

ndepass said...

i think one problem with the concept of the author is that you could show someone a piece of art that they absolutely hate but then if you tell them it is a picasso or someone else they take on a different view of that piece. That is a problem because the author shouldn't change your opinion of the work, and that applies to almost all arts.

Stephen Gieger said...

I think it is important to know the author of any type of work because any author is in some way affected by his or her environment and that information is necessary in understanding the work as a whole.

bballinsupasta said...

i totally agree with nick's comment...it's pretty ridiculous how some art is not admired for its brilliance but rather for the name attached.

Manal said...

I don't think the author is as important as some people think. Its true that the author has some influence over his work, but usually art is influenced by the author's emotions at that specific time. And I don't think that based upon emotions one should give credit just to the author. As different people, each of us would respond to situations differently, but these different responses we make should not dictate how we appreciate or view the piece of art. The name of the creator, if it is one well known, does in fact contribute to our reactions, but if we ignore the author for the moment and give our true opinions without being biased, the piece of art would be truly appreciated. Credit should be given to the author after one likes or dislikes the piece based on their true feelings. Besides one can not know for sure that the assumptions we are making about the author are true. And then there are some authors that write under a pen name. If we never find out who the real author is, we have to ignore his life history or his biases because they are unknown. That doesn't make the work any less appealing.

Aaron Nussdorf said...

i think manal has a point: i like TS Eliot's work but i dont like him as a person because he was antisemitic [so says Ms Kleba]. his political views dont effect his genius or the beauty of his poetry; i still think that he was brilliant

Margaret said...

I think it depends on what the reader is looking for in terms of reading a certain work. Lol maybe this is a dumb argument but what if I just want to entertain myself with a book? I probably won't care about the author as long as I enjoy the book. When it comes to something that states an opinion, I do think that in most cases the author is relevant, but only if you want to understand the source of the author's opinions or the reasons why/how he/she has come to believe so.

I also agree with Manal when she says that if we were to look at a piece of art objectively, disregarding the artist, we can search within ourselves and come to a conclusion as to whether the piece is meaningful to us. After that, the authorship does not matter. Basing "good" works on how much standing the artist had is superficial, and we're all superficial to a certain extent. I think it's a mechanism we use to simplify and categorize things. It makes things easier to recognize and understand for future purposes, and I also believe this is in our nature to do so. Maybe all life is is fighting certain instincts and honing others. The times we live in define which instincts are to be suppressed and glorified, and most people will follow this. Even our opinions now are influenced by the society we live in. In 100 years, the majority sentiment will probably be different. Sorry, I digress. =X