ART FOR ART’S SAKE: DEATH OF THE AUTHOR IN THE 21ST CENTURY?Abstract:
The poetics of modern literature can be divided into two broad spectra - the linguistic and the extra-linguistic principles. According to Abrams (1973:4), whatever the language of all critical theories, they discriminate four elements in the total situation of a work of art. These four elements are: the mimetic theory, the pragmatic theory, the expressive theory and the objective theory. Since the advent of the Objective theory in the 19th century, exponents of this school regard art as non-didactic, that is, one whose end-purpose or intention is within itself and not dependent upon the achievement of objectives outside the work such as the fact of its composition, the actuality it imitates, its author’s stated intention, and of the effect it produces on it audience. This view of art is what has come to be termed art for art’s sake. This paper looks at the tenet of art for art’s sake in literature and how it greatly manifests itself in the language centered theories of literature which relates a work of art to the linguistic elements that make up such a work. It also looks at the effect of this tenet on the author as all extrinsic issues affecting a text no longer matter in its evaluation. The paper argues that since there are other theories and schools of criticism which still believe in extrinsic factors in the evaluation of a work of art, this has obliterated the total “death of the author”.