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The Death of the Author Paperback – 24 Jun 1993

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Minerva; New edition edition (24 Jun. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074939806X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749398064
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 1 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 910,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Brown TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 May 2014
Format: Paperback
This clever, witty, ironic and teasing novella nods to more than one genre: it can be considered a confessional first-person account, a campus novel, and a crime novel, the mix adding to its intentional slipperiness. It is very elegantly written: Adair is, among many other things, a real artist of the language. It's also an intellectual novel in that it sets out to make use of a literary theory called The Theory that denies the very presence of the author in his or her own text, hence the title (at least at one level, referencing Roland Barthes, who has a book of the same name).

There is a plot - caught in Paris during the German occupation, the youthful Leopold Sfax collaborates with the enemy by writing a vaguely supportive newspaper column under the pseudonym Hermes. Thirty years later, as a university Literature Professor, he writes the definitive book on The Theory and becomes famous, attracting many followers. But he lives in fear that his shameful past in Paris will catch up with him and destroy him; and when a young student gets a publisher's contract to write his biography, things get too close for comfort. He thinks he can manoeuvre his way out of it - but then the text abruptly becomes a crime novel.

Leo is supposed to be typing the book we are reading on his Apple Mac. Three times we come up against the same passage, repeated word for word - the moment when the student reveals her intention to write his life; each time the narrative has been extended by the exact number of pages we've just read. The self-referential circularity of this was for me a delight, though I'm sure others will find it too tricksy by half. After Leo's death, he apparently continues to write his text, throwing the veracity of it - or his authorship - even more into doubt.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Adair's parodies of Agatha Christie, but with "And then there was Noone" they seemed to be more playing with post-modern ideas than constructing a coherent narrative. "Death of the Author" is witty but insofar as there is a narrative, one doesn't much care what it is.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Selçuk Altun on 24 Nov. 1999
Format: Paperback
Last three novels,this the first,of Gilbert Adair are all modern masterpieces;elegant,challenging, and satisfying.Plus they are all economically written.(Don't we all have long reading lists.)
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Selçuk Altun on 26 Nov. 1999
Format: Paperback
Gilbert Adair's last three novels are modern unrecognized masterpieces.This happens to be the first of the highly satisfying,exciting and challenging trio.(The remaining two are "The Key To The Tower" and "A Closed Book")
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
too pedantic 7 July 2015
By Bartok Kinski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The author attempts to puzzle the reader, repeating passages and inviting metaphysical speculation. The author, in the story, is some academic trying to write a book about a "theory", much like Jacques Derrida's "Deconstruction". It also devolves into a murder story.

I felt that in all, it was too pedantic and jarringly confusing to be of any good.
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