In the theoretical literature there’s a returning character called “the author.” The character is differently played depending on the era and fashion: she is variously dead, all-too-human, cyborg, helplessly sentimental, an aggregation of reading run through the variable processor of a given mind. She’s been cast, anti-humanistically, as a “function” and, heroically, as an emblem of human capacity. Each of these descriptions is probably correct on a given plane––correct, but of what consequence to literary practice?
Plagiarism, translation, influence––ultimately these are differently shaded metaphors for writing itself and are variously responsive to the wants or worries one finds attached to the act. There’s still to ask whether in writing by any method or conception we’re not again thrown back on the old thing––individuation through and against the inherent resistance of a linguistic vehicle thoroughly contaminated by precedence, made of it. Nothing we handle is our own; we can’t but be ourselves (whatever that is).