"[W]hat the author says about own work “has a peculiar interest, but not a peculiar authority.” […] If Orson Welles gave [an] interview expounding on what Rosebud “means” we’d be naturally interested, but [it] can’t be [the] “final answer” […]. To say a work of art is ambiguous is simply to say that it is open to multiple interpretations. Which is to say, it is rich.
There are works of art that exhaust themselves on first reading or viewing. That’s okay. But [the] richest works are ones we return to […].
Multiplicity of interpretation exists not only among different critics but within ourselves. Jane Austen changes each time you re-read.
Despite Barthes, Frye, etc. there are a few areas where authorial intent [is] still valid: satire, counterfeiting and criminal law. […] One painter could do [an] exact Van Gogh copy as “post-modern pastiche”; another as a forgery. Intent is important! […]
In sum, authorial intent [is] very valid in some areas, but not [the] final answer when dealing with most works of art."