As some of you have already discovered, this week’s reading by Lamarque, “Authors,” is long and assumes that its reader knows a heck of a lot about English literature, literary theory, and literary history. Many of you do not have these backgrounds, and I encourage you not to worry too much about that.

Indeed, from my point of view, you will understanding this reading sufficiently for the needs of our class if all of the following are true:

  • You understand that intention, expression, and creative agency are problematic categories, rather than simple and clear ones.
  • You have a basic understanding of each of the 5-6 central notions of authorship (signalled explicitly by headings in the main body of the article: author as sage, the biographical approach, expression theory, impersonality theory, death of the author, anti-intentionalism, and Lamarque’s intentionalism). That includes:
    • The key argument or main thesis of each approach
    • One good example of the approach (can be from the book or your own)
    • A sense for what the approach looks like methodologically (i.e., the sort of thing a critic with that perspective typically looks for)
    • A sense for the strengths and weaknesses of this account

That’s it! Keep it simple, perhaps by creating a document in Word or Excel in which you answer those four prompts about each of the 6 main conceptualizations of the author. That way, you can even skim the paper and just look for the information you need to fill out these categories.