The last three decades have seen a flourishing of theoretical discussions about the concept of literary authorship. This article is an attempt to scrutinise and engage with this thriving scene. Through a systematic review of conceptions of authorship in modern literary theories, I will outline historical shifts, disentangle current debates, and identify a range of approaches, with the aim of informing future studies of this concept. This article is divided into three parts. The first part offers a brief history of ideas of authorship in modern literary theories (ca. 1900 to the present). I trouble the narrative of the ‘death and resurrection of the author’ by showing that the concept of authorship has remained a constant concern, and by highlighting continuities between different theories. The second part identifies three main issues about the concept – agency/creativity, intention/authority, and self-presentation/self-construction. I illustrate how each of them has been addressed in recent discussions, focusing mainly on the last three decades, and point to potential directions for future research within each strand of debate. Finally, I provide a non-exhaustive typology of methodological approaches to the study of authorship. I will conclude with a brief consideration of the value of this concept for literary criticism.