(768 words)

Author is derived from the Latin term auctor or autor in the sense “originator,” “founder.” The earliest German attestation appears in Steinhöwel’s translation of Boccaccio’s De claris mulieribus (1473); not until the 18th century does the term become prevalent in the sense “composer of literary works.” Goethe understood an author as primarily a writer who reflects on his impact, his potential to influence the public, and his social role [2].

The early modern author was not primarily viewed as a literary author, but rather as a publishing scholar, intellectual, pr…

Cite this page
Sauder, Gerhard, “Author”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 17 February 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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