Solitary Genius

Authorship in digital humanities brings to light just how wrong Roland Barthes was in his essay “The Death of the Author”.  I would argue the title should be “The Death of the Engaging Third Person Omniscient Narrator”, but that is a matter for another day.

The “solitary genus” of the author has not gone out of fashion only into question with the emergence of digital technologies.  Reading through what my peers have discussed in the earlier posts I wholeheartedly subscribe to the importance of collaboration, as well as making collaboration visible.  Collaboration has always been a part of print technology, but this collaboration is left to the imagination when faced with a material item that states a singular author on its cover.  Seeing how many people are involved in a work and opening a work (an example of opening a work is Fitzpatrick‘s suggestion that scholars should publish first and peer-review later) to as much collaboration as possible destroys the notion of the solitary genius and encourages further collaborative and even interdisciplinary scholarship.

Another issue that is being discussed is the increase in the responsibility of the reader and the lack of “justification for editorial conflation” in digital publications.  In digital editions editors are intruding less on the text leaving the responsibility of sorting through the material largely to the reader.  This means that “a broader spectrum of institutional relations, and widening networks of production” has evolved.  A broader spectrum of relations that disadvantage those with “traditional” modes of education or degrees (discussed here). Continue reading