Related: Does computer-generated poetry, stories, etc. fit in any common definition of literature?

And the associated reading challenge proposal that inspired the questions: https://literature.meta.stackexchange.com/a/1038/793

The linked proposal is for a reading challenge for The Policeman's Beard is Half Constructed, much of which is computer-generated.

My other linked question asks how this fits into common definition of literature. However, I'd like to ask a more specific question here: someone else pointed out that this kind of text really can't be analyzed from an authorial intent perspective because there's no intent behind the text whatever (see, for example, the Chinese Room argument - it obviously makes no sense to try to claim that the computer was trying to communicate something specific). How would advocates of authorial intent theories of meaning respond to this? Do their definitions of literature usually explicitly require some kind of conscious intent on the author's part for something to even be considered literature in the first place? In other words, from their perspective, would they say "that's not really literature" or even "that fundamentally doesn't even have any meaning at all"?

I suppose that a third possible response would be that the method of construction means that, in some sense, the programmer was the real author.

Has any prominent advocate of authorial intent actually analyzed this type of situation?

  • Proposed edit: "Did advocates of authorial intent ...". Unless you are aware of recent examples of literary theory that still cling to this concept ;-)
    – Tsundoku
    Jun 5, 2018 at 10:06
  • 1
    @ChristopheStrobbe Well, there's always me an other holdouts, but I'd hardly call myself "prominent" in the sense I intended when I authored the question :) Jun 5, 2018 at 13:09
  • 2
    @Christophe Regardless of whether any professional literature academics count as advocates of authorial intent, there are certainly a lot of people who do, including a lot of literature enthusiasts and a lot of this site's users.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jun 5, 2018 at 14:34
  • Authorial intent to do what? Commit literature?
    – Peter Shor
    Jun 12, 2018 at 11:40


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