Authorship Shaped by the Behavior of the Crowds in Mao II

I will base my paper on Mao II. I aim to connect two of the major issues addressed in the book relevant to our analysis of the post-print fiction: authorship, and crowds as transformers of the act of authoring. The book dedicates a great deal of time setting in separate, if not opposite directions, these two situations within the story. On his part, Bill Gray not only struggles with redefining the place and role of the author, but he insists on isolating him by isolating himself. On a parallel line, the book is full of images of crowds, like snapshots of a world that no longer functions at an individual level.

I will rely, among other works, on Crowds and power by Elias Canetti and The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes to argue that there is a relationship between authorship and the behavior of crowds, and this relationship directly determines the role authors will perform in an overpopulated world transformed by technology. While Bill sees only terrorism as a new form of authorship, just as powerful is the crowd to redefine and usurp the identity of the author. One way to incorporate terrorism in my analysis is to look at it as a contributor of the formation of a mass in fear helping shape a world that behaves in mass.

Barthes in his essay says, “Mallarme was doubtless the first to see and to foresee in its full extent the necessity to substitute language itself for the person who until then had been supposed to be its owner. For him, for us too, it is language which speaks, not the author; to write is, through a prerequisite impersonality…to reach that point where only language acts, ‘performs,’ and not ‘me.’” This theory seems to be in direct opposition of Bill’s romantic views of the role of the author. He and Scott seem to give more value and importance to the person of the writer than to the work itself. As a result Bill rebels against this disfranchising of the writers who become less powerful as they incorporate and as they become absorbed by the mass media. The next step in mass production of writers is the collective authorship, the act of collaborating works and authors incorporating its mass-audience, so inherent of the post-print authorship.