The preliminary condition of any work of literature is that the person who is writing has to invent that first character, who is the author of the work. That a person puts his whole self into the work he is writing is something we often hear said, but it is never true. It is always only a projection of himself that an author calls into play while he is writing; it may be a projection of a real part of himself or the projection of a fictitious “I”—a mask, in short. Writing always presupposes the selection of a psychological attitude, a rapport with the world, a tone of voice, a homogeneous set of linguistic tools, the data of experience and the phantoms of the imagination—in a word, a style. The author is an author insofar as he enters into a role the way an actor does and identifies himself with that projection of himself at the moment of writing.
The Existence Machine: Phantoms of the Imagination

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