Every good piece of sculpture, painting, or music evokes the sentiments and the dreams which it sets out to evoke.

Thus Philosophic Art is a return towards the picture-making proper to the childhood of the nations, and if it remained strictly faithful to itself, it would feel its duty to juxtapose as many successive images as are contained in whatever sentence it might wish to express.

Even so we may reserve the right to doubt whether the hieroglyphic was clearer than the printed sentence.

Baudelaire, “Philosophic Art” in The Painter and Modern Life

One cannot be a man or become a writer without tracing a horizon line beyond oneself, but the self-surpassing is in each case finite and particular. One does not surpass in general and for the proud and simple pleasure of surpassing; Baudelairean dissatisfaction represents only the abstract scheme of transcendence and, since it is dissatisfaction with everything, ends by being dissatisfaction with nothing. Real transcendence requires one to want to change certain specific aspects of the world, and the surpassing is colored and particularized by the concrete situation it aims to modify.

Sartre, “Writing for One’s Age,” in What is Literature?

A language is therefore a horizon, and style a vertical dimension, which together map out for the writer a Nature, since he does not choose either. The language functions negatively, as the initial limit of the possible, style a Necessity which binds the writer’s humour to his form of expression. In the former he finds a familiar History, in the latter, a familiar personal past. In both cases he deals with a Nature, that is, a familiar repertory of of gestures, a gestuary, as it were, in which the energy expended is purely operative, serving here to enumerate, there to transform, but never to appraise or signify a choice.

Roland Barthes, “What is Writing?” in Writing Degree Zero

Discourse that possesses an author’s name is not to be immediately consumed and forgotten; neither is it afforded the momentary attention given ordinary, fleeting words. Rather its status and its manner of reception are regulated by the culture in which it circulates.

We can conclude that, unlike a proper name, which moves from the interior of a discourse to the real person outside who produced it, the name of the author remains at the contours of texts—separating one from the other, defining their form, and characterizing their mode of existence.

. . .

The “author function” is tied to the legal and institutional systems that circumscribe, determine, and articulate the realm of discourses; it does not operate in a uniform manner in all discourses, at all times, and in any given culture; it is not defined by the spontaneous attribution of a text to its creator, but through a series of precise and complex procedures; it does not refer, purely and simply, to an actual individual insofar as it simultaneously gives rise to a variety of egos and to a series of subjective positions that individuals of any class may come to occupy.

Foucault, “What is an Author?”

When confronted with the alternative of being completely determined by material conditions, the authorial subject (as “genius”) claimed the power to represent, and then find itself transparently represented in, the material conditions of human finitude. Producing in his work what previously had claimed to produce it, the authorial subject claimed the power to transcend these limitations to the subject’s power and, then, along with the commentators who collaborated in the production, proved the effectiveness of this power by recognizing in it the unity, coherence, and regularity of the work of art.

Pease, “Author”

When Foucault described the circulation and operation of discourses, he neglected to explain that this takes place within a market economy even though this economic condition, we have seen, defined the author in the first place. But the economy is Foucault’s blind spot. His author had to exist in a disembodied, non-reflecting, dispersed state, in knowledge, not in the world. This lead him to posit an author disconnected from the procedures of everyday life, something which experience tells us is simply not true. Authors function, whether the state of knowledge recognizes their existence or not.

. . .

By dissecting the authorial parts of a work, it is possible to cut into the illusion of seamlessness, so powerful in the rhetoric around the new technologies and to propose roles for the individual subject. It is possible to plot a politics of cultural labor and possible to imagine a collective of authors, individuals who do not lose themselves when working with others. All of which assumes the existence of authors who have left their mirrors for more responsible positions.

Nesbit, “What Was an Author?”

One might describe the situation this way: since any given time is situated within the totality of all time, a text, deposited by its author in a given time, is ipso facto related to all times, having implications that can only be unfolded only with the passage of time, inaccessible to the consciousness of the author or the author’s coevals, though not necessarily absent from their subconscious.

Ong, “Some Theorems” Orality and Literacy