(Sorry, I couldn't resist playing with the cheesy sequel intro.)
Roland Barthes argued for the exclusion of the identity and intention of the author in literary criticism in "The Death of the Author," published in 1967. Twenty-one years earlier, W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley touched upon the same argument in their 1946 essay, "The Intentional Fallacy."
Wimsatt and Beardsley view a literary work ("poem") as independent from its creator, who, after bringing the work into being, loses all authority over how it is received, interpreted, or criticized: "The poem is not the critic's own and nor the author's (it is detached from the author at birth and goes about the world beyond his power to intend about it or control it). The poem belongs to the public (Wimsatt and Beardsley 812).
"Once the Author is removed," writes Barthes, "the claim to decipher a text becomes quite futile. To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish with a final signified, to close the writing" (Barthes 877). Here is where the critic may find a shining moment, in the discovery of the Author.
These arguments overlap into a seeming call for literary individualism. Wimsatt, Beardsley and Barthes oppose the imposition of meaning onto readers. If every nuance is provided for them, what is left for readers to conclude on their own? Since the 40's and 60's, however, their wishes have not, it seems to me, come true. Consumers and books, plays, and film are popularly content with being told about art, as is evident from the high demand for author interviews, printed scripts, and DVD commentaries. We live in such a time when the author's intention is readily available, always, and absorbing the intention of the author is the easy way to think about art.