The most essential stage of the writing process, it is often argued, is the process whereby the writer comes to stand outside the experience he intends to mirror in his book. The chief element of this ‘alienation’ is the conscious desire to examine oneself and the experience from ‘without’, from a standpoint at which both the writer himself and his surroundings lose their concrete features, and separate themselves from everyday reality after a long period of struggle and uncertainty to enter a fluid and less rigidly limited dimension. This new dimension exists only in the writer’s consciousness; within it the elements of reality no longer obey the earthbound laws of gravitation; the minutiae of time and place cease to be important. Jerzy Kosinski, ‘Notes of the Author on The Painted Bird’, 1965, p. 201. The idea of a writing identity brings us to the concept of authorship and what it means to be an author. Over the past thirty years or so discussions of authorship in literary theory have focused very largely on the place of the author in the finished product of writing – or, to be more precise, on the absence of the author from the finished product.
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