(With apologies to Barthes.)

“But social media has tilted things so that books by contemporary authors—let alone essays—are no longer portable worlds that awaken when a reader enters and slumber when one leaves. Today, the author is not dead until the author is actually dead. In the meantime, every published piece of writing is treated as the beginning of a conversation—or worse, a workshop piece—by some readers, each of whom feels entitled to a bespoke response.”

Kate Harding, Dame