Below is an advertisement for a class I will be giving at Baku State University in Azerbaijan this fall. As I was writing it, I thought it might be interesting to post the advertisement here and see what people on the forum think about how the form of society and culture affects the representation of the writer. And possibly to get suggestions on what texts I might include in the class. In 1977 Roland Barthes proclaimed the death of the author, sparking a lively debate in the field of literary criticism about the role of the author in creating the textual meanings. Not to be killed so easily recent writers have placed themselves or their fictional counterparts in the center of their own works. Steven King has made his protagonists writers on several occasions including Misery, Salem’s Lot, “Room 1408,” The Dark Half and “Secret Window Secret Garden.” Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk is known for sneaking a fictional version of himself into his novels, whether it be little Orhan who lived in 18th Century Istanbul in My Name is Red or Orhan the twenty-first century biographer of the ill-fated poet Ka in Snow. Italian writer Umberto Eco never forgets to remind us that the writer is an important intermediary between the reader and the tale in The Name of the Rose, Foucault’s Pendulum and The Island of the Day Before. Shock novelist Brett Easton Ellis, (author of American Psycho), creates a fictitious alter-ego who is haunted by his own creation in Lunar Park. Azerbaijani writer Kamal Abdulla inserts his redactor as he finds the real story of Dedeqorqud in Yarımcıq elyazma. In Nekroloq Hamid Harishchi narrates the analysis of his own work by a future English scholar of the now defunct Azerbaijanis. And in Ag Qoc Qara Qoc Anar creates the character of a writer who is chided by his son for not protecting his people from a dystopian life in an alternate Baku, governed by a Stalinist-type dictator Baş Komissar Marat Qaragozov. Are these just the manifestations of self-obsessed literary types, or do they tell us something about writers and their roles in society or societies? Perhaps analyzing the image of the writer might provide us some insight into the realm of literary creation or into society itself. This class will meet once a week for two semesters and will analyze the representation of the writer in written and visual texts comparatively, but with a focus on the United States. In the course of the semester we will read excerpts from Umberto Eco, Brett Easton Ellis, Michael Chabon, Paul Auster, Kamal Abdulla, Hamid Harishchi, Anar, and Orhan Pamuk. We will also watch the movies Wonderboys, Finding Forrester, Misery, Stranger than Fiction, and the Human Stain . You will be expected to read all of the texts in preparation for the class, as well as to write a short reader-response paper every week. During the final class, you will be expected to present your argument about what the representations we have discussed over the course of the semester suggest about the writer’s relation to culture and society.