Writing is that neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body writing.
If we are to dissolve the identity of the Disentangler or if he is to dissolve his own identity in creating a work, are we then not denying, at least in part, the essence of the work itself? If reading is a purely responsive undertaking, does it make sense to dissolve the identity (the composite entity) that responds to this ongoing database of language and rhetoric; part of the composition of a work is the individual response to said database. Ignoring the individual ignores the response, ignores the point of writing.
You (Ishumake and Alex Glass) are right about the notion of the critic and reader being one, and perhaps I wrote my initial blog too hastily. I mostly wanted to point out the hypocrisy of Barthes’ work. 1) He is an Author glorifying (though this may be too strong a word) his way of approaching a text. This seems hypocritical as the essay itself is bent over not adhering to any convention in ‘criticizing’ a work. 2) He is a critic, so he is actively dissolving the work he has written and his livelihood by ascribing the role to anyone that can read a ‘toothpaste ad’, but perhaps this is what he intends. 3) Though not overbearingly so, the work itself is jargony and in writing this way Barthes has assumed the archetypal role of the critic, adhering to more convention and tightening the categorical identity of the work. This in itself seems hypocritical in the context of the work. 4) The argument seems empty because hierarchal categorization of things (including books) is human nature and is reinforced by the ‘critic’, either literary or common (this may also be too strong a word). And while demystifying the author may be ideal, his tex is partly contradictory as he fills it with various other Authors to identify theories/processes relatively parallel to his own, or ones that lead him to his thinking.
If he feels the way he does, perhaps he should have published this anonymously, or not at all. Then we could have just guessed what he is thinking by reflecting on the place/role of the Author as it applies to our own lives and how we as individuals approach a text. I think that what he says is reasonable to a degree, but it looks like even he cannot wholly adhere to what he is preaching.