Author: Alex Weintraub

Critique of Pure Readymade

My aim is to evaluate the underlying claims in de Duve’s Kant after Duchamp. First, I raise concerns about his reliance on the unmodified readymade as a foundation for his post-Duchampian paradigm—the pure readymade is inconceivable as a work of art and thus could not satisfy the judgment, “This is art”—and second, I evaluate the validity of his treatment of the term art as a proper name or rigid designator, which elevates the objects to which art refers over the meaning of art.

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Wrongful Convictions: The Nineteenth-Century Droit d’Auteur and Anti-Authorial Criticism

By analyzing the Gros case in relation to nineteenth-century French law concerning the droit d’auteur, this essay offers evidence against one of the central historiographical postulates advanced in anti-authorial criticism: that the displacement of an interest in an author’s meaning onto a reader’s productive activities represents or would have represented a subversive blow to the modern proprietary regime of authorship. More specifically, I will dispute the plausibility of certain supposedly critical alternatives to the author, be they Roland Barthes’s modern scriptor or his emboldened readers, by demonstrating that the criticality of these positions depends upon a mistaken view of what historical authorship entailed and, more tendentiously, by suggesting that these same alternative “authors” had already been furnished with rights of their own.

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