The author of a work is the person (possibly persons) who wrote it. The term is usually employed in the case of works whose penning involves a creative element; thus the author is differentiated (albeit gradually) from a compiler or redactor, and even more so from the scribe. This same criterion is used today in copy-right laws. In ancient and mediaeval literature there are works which cannot be attributed to a single author and many whose author is anonymous or pseudonymous. If the work is preserved in the author's handwriting, the manuscript that kept it is called an autograph. In New Philology the concept author is abolished in the wake of postmodernism (esp. Barthes 1968).


– Barthes, Roland. 1968. “La mort de l’auteur.” Mantéia 5. – Reprinted in Roland Barthes. 1977. Image, Music, Text. Translated by Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang. 
– Schnell, Rüdiger. 1998. “‘Autor’ und ‘Werk’ im Deutschen Mittelalter: Forschungskritik und Forschungsperspektiven.” In: Neue Wege der Mittelalter-Philologie: Landshuter Kolloquium 1996, edited by Joachim Heinzle, L. Peter Johnson, and Gisela Vollmann-Profe, 12–73. Wolfram-Studien, vol. 15. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag.

In other languages

DE: Autor
FR: auteur
IT: autore


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