I would like a version of this article, but with a section that covers how to get over it when some of these guys were once close, personal friends. Or better yet, how to behave when you know or suspect someone you used to love is actually a problematic asshole and you live in anticipation and vague anxiety of the day they are exposed as such. Anyone want to write one of these? Anyone? Bueller?
It’s a fact indisputable by nature that authors are not perfect beings; like everyone, they fall on a spectrum of good and evil. We all fall on this same wondrous range of morality. No one is perfect, and typically society accepts that. However, one of the most difficult times to accept someone else’s spectrum-ness is when that someone makes art you like.
The death of the author movement attempts to reread texts while ignoring the screaming ghost of the author at your chamber door. It’s all very nice and convenient, but it ignores the fact that by simply reading the damn text you contribute to the author’s legacy. For some authors, it is enough to simply throw up your hands and say “well, perhaps they were a bit problematic,” but for other authors, specifically authors you read as a child, the subject is trickier.
To start with, no one likes being fooled and no one enjoys feeling like they were lied to. This acceptance is especially hard if you were a voracious reader as a child. If you were, you probably had a grandiose sense of your own intellectualism (I certainly did), and to admit that the author who you childishly threw your entire selfhood behind is, in fact, a Bad Person, is heartbreaking.