The Death of the Author

The Death of the Author

Gilbert Adair / May 25, 2019

The Death of the Author What I thought was to prevent me from truly killing the author Part murder mystery and all jet black satire and based on a real life scandal this edgy novella tells the story of L opold Sfax worl

  • Title: The Death of the Author
  • Author: Gilbert Adair
  • ISBN: 9781933633572
  • Page: 109
  • Format: Paperback
  • What, I thought, was to prevent me from truly killing the author Part murder mystery and all jet black satire, and based on a real life scandal, this edgy novella tells the story of L opold Sfax, world renowned as the creator of The Theory a bizarre literary theory that grew from an intellectual folly to a dominant school of criticism that enslaved college campuses acrosWhat, I thought, was to prevent me from truly killing the author Part murder mystery and all jet black satire, and based on a real life scandal, this edgy novella tells the story of L opold Sfax, world renowned as the creator of The Theory a bizarre literary theory that grew from an intellectual folly to a dominant school of criticism that enslaved college campuses across the country However, The Theory, which holds that the text of any piece of writing tells us all that we need to know about its author as if the author himself is dead takes on extra perversity when the revered or is it feared Sfax is found to have once written something that seemswell, murderously revealing In the hands of Gilbert Adair, it s a dexterously wrought and hysterically devilish look at academic cultishness It s also a taut metaphysical murder mystery that confounds the reader s expectations on almost every page and reserves its most stunning surprise the ultimate whodunit twist for the very last page.The Contemporary Art of the Novella series is designed to highlight work by major authors from around the world In most instances, as with Imre Kert sz, it showcases work never before published in others, books are reprised that should never have gone out of print It is intended that the series feature many well known authors and some exciting new discoveries And as with the original series, The Art of the Novella, each book is a beautifully packaged and inexpensive volume meant to celebrate the form and its practitioners.

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    About "Gilbert Adair"

      • Gilbert Adair

        Gilbert Adair was a writer, film critic, and journalist.For information, please see contemporarywriters au


    115 Comments

    1. My self-appointed biographer Graham Golden approached me last night, casually “warning” me that his biography had found a publisher (Nonentity Books), and that collusion was “within my best interests.” I ignored his impertinent message and sat down at my Toshiba to type the forty-eight words you have read (as of the word “read”), and the following confession. As a reviewer, I have encased my fair share of skeletons, and it is Golden’s intention to expose my moments of weakness to r [...]


    2. Adair Devil in an Aporetic Cul-de-SacRoland Barthes published the essay "The Death of the Author" in 1967: "To give a text an author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing." A living autocratic author kills the text. The role of a reader is to resurrect the text, to liberate it from “interpretive tyranny”, whether it is dictated by the author, academics or other readers. Needless to say, the theory was opposed in America. Even Camille Pa [...]


    3. UPDATE: Verbivoracious Festschrift Volume Two: Gilbert Adair features a delightful meeting of contributor minds and material - the debonair Adair - and from the contribution concerning this work of his, a small extract:"Gilbert Adair’s Death of the Author has long been regarded as one of his masterpieces. What readers and critics have either disdained or ignored, through a seeming lack of perspicacity or a willful avoidance and misconstrual of textual hints and contrivances, in a manner reflec [...]


    4. This book might be a great summer reading book for people who hate the books that are called beach reading. Or maybe a great book for people who hate the beach, most likely because they are kind of pale, and probably find the idea of sitting in the sand and having the sun beat down on you as a form of torture and not as an enjoyable way to spend the day. Who decided anyway that summer / beach books should be the most moronic and low grade type of fiction there is anyway? Are people supposed to g [...]


    5. Dieses schmale Buch, das in erster Linie eine ironische Auseinandersetzung mit moderner Literaturtheorie liefert, sich aber zum Ende hin noch zur Kriminalgeschichte mausert, ist höchst unterhaltsam geschrieben. Im Mittelpunkt steht der französisch-stämmige Literaturtheoretiker Sfax, der sich in den 40er Jahren schuldig machte im besetzten Frankreich (unter Pseudonym) nazifreundliche Artikel zu schreiben. Nach dem Krieg wanderte er in die USA aus und wurde dort ein anerkannter Professor, der i [...]


    6. You never really know what you are going to be reading about when you open one of Adair's books. You can however be sure that you're in for a treat. And "this mendacious and mischievous and meaningless book" does not disappoint. An thought-provoquing and entertaining reflection on writing and fiction disguised as a piece of crime fiction. The writing is superb, as ever. Great fun.


    7. A perfectly executed, deceptively compact work of theory fiction.Seriously, there really aren't any wasted words here. Everything about this is just so well put together, and Adair’s writing and word choices are truly fantastic. It’s obvious from the first page that you’re really in for something special, as the words just have this lovely flow to them that is very enjoyable to parse. It’s not a breezy read – you really shouldn't expect to skim through it, the book wants your full atte [...]


    8. Witty, gem-like, and totally insufferable. A perfect example of the temptations of the novella form, in which, as James Salter said, perfection is unfortunately possible. The prose of this book congeals quickly into a surface so hard that I occasionally wanted to knock on it (the way you want, but are also kind of afraid, to knock on a particularly life-like mannequin). Also mysteriously dated-feeling, both in ambition and details. For example, I kept grinning every time the professor narrator r [...]


    9. I really want to read this book. I read a review by a friend (listed as the recommendator), and was interested. But I fear I might not be able to record my reading progress or my final thoughts here on because:1)I'm afraid I'm not crafty enough with words to completely avoid using the a-word which is, as you know, an anathema as of September 20th. It would not be in accordance with new policies. Yet, given the subject matter, it seems nearly impossible to not mention it in the review or the com [...]


    10. I love the Art of the Novella series, and here's another reason why. Compact in a way that benefits the story-- I can't imagine reading 600 pages of this prose-- and as ambiguous as all get, there's a satisfying feeling to this book, especially in the manner in which Adair gets the reader to consider how a selection of prose, which he uses three times at three different moments, has no real definite meaning, a shout-out to the title, yet, as the author caused the reader to realize this, contains [...]


    11. This book is a strange combination of an enjoyable read and so-what in the end. It maybe my mood! But nevertheless this is a great series put out by Melville Books. Beautifully designed, and perfect for the bathtub (where i do a lot of my major reading). Adair is a writer that is interesting, but somehow never caught my full attention for some reason. There is a pretense in "The Death of the Author" that is funny, but it is sort of a hollow laugh.


    12. There is so much to unpack from this novella that I need to think about my rating because my rating fluctuates between a three star or a five star.


    13. Does the bloodlessness of academia bother you? If so, perhaps this short read is worth killing a couple of hours, forensic testing turns up traces of blood in the print, is it yours? Feels a little bit like a joke that people enjoy explaining more than experiencing. Or maybe I'm less clever by half, I did have to slog through some of the first half, but that's probably because I've spent more of my life outside classrooms than ever before. Glad enough I stuck with it, and honestly I suspect the [...]


    14. This is a smart, tightly wound little book. The story starts out as a pseudo-memoir of a man who lives through Vichy France and travels to America to become one of the most famous literary theorists in all of the Anglophone world. The story is a barely veiled description of Paul De Man. In it, the author (I mean Adair), picks up the familiar refrain that De Man's post war work in Deconstruction (labeled by Adair as simply "the Theory") was meant to so dissociate sign from meaning and action from [...]


    15. An odd tale that was written in a way I found rather intriguing. The book begins in media res and goes on for about 3 pages. Then the narrator jumps back to childhood, covers a facet of his life, reaches the beginning of the book, and the 3 pages repeat, and he jumps back again and covers a different facet of his life. This happens several times and it give you a better and better understanding of the book's openinge plot is fairly straightforward. A murder mystery in a small town. But the reosl [...]


    16. This is definitely not a book that you could call a mindless, fun read. A member named Josh put it best when he wrote, "The prose of this book congeals quickly into a surface so hard." So far it is a challenging read given the gilded-lily-language the narrator uses, which is leading me to strongly suspect his reliability more than 1 would already have been inclined to. I can be pretty dense at times, and I had to reread the last 2 paragraphs of the novella several times before I lighted upon wh [...]


    17. While I’ve read a number of Gilbert Adair’s recent books, the older titles from his back catalogue are out of print. One of these titles, The Death Of The Author (1992), has thankfully been given a second lease of life in the United States, thanks to Melville House Publishing’s new Contemporary Art of the Novella series, a companion to its Art of the Novella, a series showcasing the likes of Joyce, Flaubert, Proust, and Tolstoy.Read my full review here.


    18. An audacious little novella; this book employs semantics and tense in a way that blurs its eventual end sublimely, and is equal parts fascinating, satirical, and infuriating. There were a few times I was convinced I was reading the same thing again ( I was) and needed to reference in order to ensure I had kept my place correctly.


    19. !!! quickly transitions to a darker postmodern flair involving the reader's much appraised time talentse title will reverberate in many planes, plots, and twists in a humorous cheerleading of our follies.


    20. I constantly got lost throughout the whole book, but all that made up for the last 30 pages. I really really enjoyed the ending and the recurring scenes - but why, oh why did the beginning and the middle part have to be so chaotic and over the top intelectual?


    21. Gilbert Adair is the author of Love and Death on Long Island and the screenplay for Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers.



    22. Suave. Clever. Hilarious. If you love theory or hate it, you will enjoy this book. One of the most stylish, enjoyable satires I've read in a while.




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