The Authorial Sublime: Text and Apotheosis


  • Connor Methvin


By definition, the sublime is unknowable, and therefore similarly unachievable. This essay, however, challenges the notion of sublimity as unattainable by comparing the literary criti-cisms of Roland Barthes and Hélène Cixous. In comparing their works and analyzing the dual significance each puts on the importance of “audience” as contributor, the very transformative characteristic of the sublime becomes apparent in the author. Writing is an uncanny act, and reading becomes a reimagining of what constitutes the sublime for and within each person who engages with a text. Roland ’s famous “The Death of the Author” elevates the author to a perpet-ual liveliness when read in conjunction with Hélène Cixous’s concepts of self, text, and the Third Body, therefore transcending the author from death to sublimity, even as the author’s works forever incur the uncanny responses of their perpetually-shifting audience and contextualization. Writing, thus, acts as a way by which one may surpass the limits of independent humanity and achieve the status of sublime.


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