In an age of authorless, contextless, deconstructed texts, Francis-Noël Thomas argues that it is time to re-examine a fundamental but neglected concept of literature: writing is an action whose agent is an individual. Addressing both general readers and scholars, Thomas offers two cases, Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan and Marcel Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu, read against the background of the authors’ large, eccentric, and surprisingly similar claims about their texts as acts. He examines what happens when we take these claims seriously enough to find out why the authors made them in the first place and what bearing they have on the texts themselves.
Originally published in 1993.
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