Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
I’ve been asked to do a post on some of my favourite writers and it got me thinking about why certain books and writers are favourites of mine.
It begins by discovering something beautiful, then finding out everything at all possible about the writer. This includes memoirs, diaries, articles, hearsay, everything. I make no distinction between art and writer. If the writer does not live up to my lofty expectations of the artist, either by being a swot in person, or having unforgivable misdemeanor- misogyny, dullness etc they are promptly removed from my list.
This has of course led to a lot anxiety for me. V.S Naipul was once unceremoniously dropped after revelations he treated his wife badly, I couldn’t read Camus or Ted Hughes the same again without thinking about their tragic wives devastated by their infidelity.
Purists will say judge a book on its merits, I think the book is a part of the artist, and to understand the book or philosophy you need to understand the life of the artist. As Nietzsche said “All philosophy (and art) is an unconscious memoir.”