In the last decades of the twentieth century, celebrity authorship and the interview genre have become a central feature of contemporary writing. The concept of the ‘death of the author’ as delineated by Roland Barthes in the 1960s has progressively crumbled and been replaced by a greater visibility of the writer both in the work itself, through the insertion of metafictional comments and a growing tendency towards autobiographical writing, and outside the work, with authors taking part in public appearances at literary festivals, giving readings and engaging with the media. At the time of deconstructionism and formalist criticism, thinkers such as Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida and Julia Kristeva argued against the concept of authorship or authority and prioritised words and language, which were to develop freely without being constrained by the iron hand of the writer. In ‘Death of the Author’, Barthes remarked: ‘To assign an Author to a text is to impose a brake on it, to furnish it with a final signified, to close writing’ (1968, p. 53). Barthes was not denying the existence of a producer of the text but was fighting against the divinisation and glorification of the author as the unique guardian of the definite meaning of the text: ‘As institution, the author is dead: his civil status, his biographical person have disappeared; dispossessed, they no longer exercise over his work the formidable paternity whose account literary history, teaching and public opinion had the responsibility of establishing and renewing’ (1973, p. 27).
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