Identity and Poetic Discourse

Nasos Vagenas


Translated by Vrasidas Karalis

Perhaps, the most paradoxical of the ideas that nurtured the last decades of the 20th centuryin the field of literary studies is that of the Death of the Author. According to this idea, whichbecame the emblem of postmodern theories of literature, the real author of a literary work isnot the person who wrote the work but writing itself – more precisely, Language: that greattranscendental force, which created the world, which is the word and outside of whichnothing else exists. According to this theory, the person who writes a literary work is nothingbut a medium who actualises the desire of Language to incarnate into tangible – that is intowritten – form its transcendental, divine spirit (in more accessible terms: a medium whoactualises the desire of Language to create literature). Precisely because this spirit is transcen-dental, the person who performs through writing the literary desire of Language loses his orher own voice, face, and even his/hers very own identity. This person is transfigured into aneutral “hand, cut off from every voice, motivated by a pure movement of Scripture” (not ofexpression), a hand that “draws a field without origin”, a field which “has no other originthan language itself”.

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