The Near-Death of the Author: Creativity in the Internet Age
Published: December 2022© 2022
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 222 Pages
Illustrations: 10 colour illustrations, 2 b&w illustrations
Dimensions: 6.25 x 9.25
222 Pages, 6.25 x 9.25 x 0.75 in, 10 colour illustrations, 2 b&w illustrations
In the modern world of networked digital media, authors must navigate many challenges. Most pressingly, the illegal downloading and streaming of copyright material on the internet deprives authors of royalties, and in some cases it has discouraged creativity or terminated careers. Exploring technology’s impact on the status and idea of authorship in today’s world, The Near-Death of the Author reveals the many obstacles facing contemporary authors.
John Potts details how the online culture of remix and creative reuse operates in a post-authorship mode, with little regard for individual authorship. The book explores how developments in algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) have yielded novels, newspaper articles, musical works, films, and paintings without the need of human authors or artists. It also examines how these AI achievements have provoked questions regarding the authorship of new works, such as Does the author need to be human? And, more alarmingly, Is there even a need for human authors?
Providing suggestions on how contemporary authors can endure in the world of data, the book ultimately concludes that network culture has provoked the near-death, but not the death, of the author.
List of Figures
1. “Heroes with Names”: What Is the Author?
2. “I Don’t Own It”: Contemporary Complications
3. Who Is the Author / Who Are the Authors?
4. A Brief History of the Author
5. The Alleged Death of the Author: Post-structuralism and Postmodernism
6. The Author and Technology: Downloading vs. Copyright
7. Big Data Writing: Author as Algorithm
8. AI vs. the Author
9. “Creative ReUse”: Post-authorship in Internet Culture
"The Near-Death of the Author provides essential explanation and questioning of the complexity modern authors have to deal with regarding ownership, status, and reward. By placing discussions of technological change at the heart of authorship studies, this text reframes discussions about the changing nature of authorship, showing that digitalization and authorial practice are now intrinsically linked, and that technology has changed the nature of how we must evaluate creative practice and the creative industries."Melissa Terras, Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage, University of Edinburgh
"Impressive in its intellectual reach across centuries of authorial practice and theory, from ancient Mesopotamia to the digital age, from scrolls to NFTs, The Near-Death of the Author combines a pragmatic call for copyright revision with a steadfast advocacy of artists’ rights to recompense for their creative labour. Above all, it is a tribute to the fluid, adaptive, and endlessly serendipitous nature of authorship itself."Lorraine York, Distinguished University Professor, English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University
"This book will satisfy all those who are curious about the changes that have befallen the status of the author from antiquity to the present. While it may seem that the rise of AI, big data, and machine learning put authors on the threatened-species list, they have thus far avoided extinction. And if John Potts is right, the near-death of the author looks likely to remain just that."Ross Rudesch Harley, Professor Emeritus, Arts and Design, UNSW Sydney