Authorship and Intellectual Labor

  • Barbara Tomlinson


As we have seen, the testimonies that writers present in published interviews do not produce unmediated truths about composition; quite the contrary. Interviews provide metaphorical accounts of writing that take their place within a long tradition of discourse about compositional origins. Moreover, self-reported recollections of past writing activities are often imprecise, incomplete, and inaccurate. They have little to offer as evidence about actual writing practices. Authors perform identities and supply stories about writing in interviews to explain themselves, in order to seem interesting, to exercise their creativity, to engage and expand their readership, or to advance their professional and commercial reputations. They also respond to prompting, prodding, and provocation by interviewers eager to have their own notions and concepts approved by recognized authority figures. Interviews retrospectively construct (and necessarily constrict) long and complicated writing processes into short memorable anecdotes and images.


Discursive Practice Writing Activity Social Discourse Social Subject Author Interview 
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Copyright information

© Barbara Tomlinson 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Tomlinson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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