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The difficulty with doing biographical criticism today is that the figure of the author has increasingly come under attack, almost as if the author's portrait, which at one time routinely accompanied critical works, were being atomized, dissolved in an acid bath of scorn and distrust. Though "death of the author" critics have made a number of important points about the rigidity and naiveté of certain earlier forms of biographical criticism, I find that in my own practice I am loath to give up all vestiges of the author. The strategy I have chosen is what I would call persona criticism, a form of analysis that focuses on patterns of ideation, voice, and sensibility linked together by a connection to the author. Yet persona criticism allows one to speak of authorship as multiple, involving culture, psyche, and intertextuality, as well as biographical data about the writer.
© 1991 Purdue University Press
Walker, Cheryl. “Persona Criticism and the Death of the Author." Contesting the Subject: Essays in the Postmodern Theory and Practice of Biography and Biographical Criticism. Ed. by William H. Epstein. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1991. 109-121.
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