I’ve spent one of those days thinking about working and not really doing anything… other than demonstrate how slowly a man can walk along a road. I was much laughed at by sympathetic housemate Mel.
I haven’t been to Booking Through Thursday for a while, not for any particular reason, so I was surprised and pleased to see that this week’s question was suggested by me! I put it in the suggestion area of their website last April, and rather thought that it had been passed over – however, they must keep these things boiling under for many months, as this week’s question is:
Have you ever been put off an author’s books after reading a biography of them? Or the reverse – a biography has made you love an author more?
I never know whether an author’s life and personality *should* influence a reading of their work or not, but I know for a fact that it does. Not wholly, but I can’t quite keep it out of my mind.
Having said that – Katherine Mansfield (Claire Tomalin) and Virginia Woolf (Hermione Lee) remain two of my favourite authors, despite coming across as less than pleasant in their respective biographies. I’ve forced myself to ignore their meanness (see anything KM wrote to Ida Baker) or selfishness or whatever, because their writing is amongst the best I’ve ever read. Daphne du Maurier has rather suffered after I read her Letters from Menabilly, which made her seem arrogant and callous, but I’m pre-determined to love anything I might ever read by Oriel Malet, who came across so much nicer in that book. Whatever my objective reasoning tells me, it always helps when an author turns out to be a lovely or courageous or notable person – I admire Beatrix Potter after discovering more about her; Richmal Crompton and AA Milne seem increasingly good people to invite to dinner.
So I’m all confused, basically. All Round Good Eggs benefit in my eyes – but I’ll blind myself to the nasty traits in authors I already love. It’s a case of warming to them or feeling quiet (and usually irrational) disappointment… do any of you have anything more sensible to contribute? Or, of course, any response, sensible or not…