Pseudoepigraphy

Pseudoepigraphy is the instance of misattributed authorship, or false authorship.

Steven at Hypotyposeis asks how this might affect Foucault’s posthumous publications such as the lecture series:

Pseudepigraphy is a large category of works whose authorship has been misattributed in their transmission. It ranges from innocent but mistaken guesses of authorship of anonymous works, attempts to avoid censorship (particularly if the author had been branded a “heretic”), or even cases of outright forgery. Where does posthumous and often reconstructed works fit into the pseudepigraphy spectrum, if it fits at all? And are our critical methods good enough to figure out what happened between the author and the publisher?

As I assume most people reading this blog know, Foucault left no will but a letter he wrote before his death has been agreed to represent his wishes: “no posthumous publications.” Since the lectures were in the public domain, they are now appearing, and this may or may not be a stretch (Steven compares the situation to the recently published Tolkien book Children of Hurin).

The question is not only one of authorship (since sometimes the material is gathered together from bits and pieces (Tolkien) or not edited and given approval by the author (Foucault).

Useful link: Tom Flynn’s review of Parrhesia in 2002.

PS: I would actually like to know what “hypotyposeis” is?

One Response

  1. Thanks for noticing my post. Your own blog is pretty interesting.

    As for your question: Hypotyposeis (Ὑποτυπώσεις) is a Greek word that means sketches, outlines, or drafts, and it was the title of a commentary by Clement of Alexandria (fl. 190s). Although only fragments of the commentary remain, it apparently was a collection of scattered sketches on various Biblical topics.

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