Premodern sources mainly depict authors as textual transmitters rather than original creators. To treat these figurations of authorship as meaningful in their own right, one has to overcome a series of methodological hurdles. The polarized image of the author as either creative God or passive scribe must be replaced by a focus on the middle ranges of literary agency, which in turn requires theoretical elaboration. Premodern tropes of authorial activity, such as the metaphor of authorship as textile labor, gain a much fuller range of complexity and nuance when they are read with an eye to authorial mediation. Further, conceptualizing authors as mediators proves a better framework for writing the history of authorship, as it clarifies synchronic tensions and diachronic developments that unfolded within this frame. It also reveals that the modern ideal of authorial originality came about not as a radical break with the older ideal of authorial mediation but as a modification and rearrangement of its constitutive terms.