Saturday, April 15, 2006
This keeps me up at night!
Does the author of your book influence how you feel about it? This is something that has haunted me since I began reading. I love research so I tend to always read up on the current writer I am reading. Take Horatio Alger Jr. for instance. Many of his works have been described as rags to riches stories, illustrating how down-and-out boys might be able to achieve the American dream of wealth and success through hard work, courage, determination, and concern for others. In 1860, Reverend Alger took a position as minister of the First Parish Unitarian Church of Brewster on Cape Cod, but left for New York City rather suddenly, ostensibly to pursue a career in writing. Church records uncovered after Alger's death indicate that he was quietly dismissed for having sexual relations with several teenage boys in his parish (as a result, the New York City chapter of the North American Man-Boy Love Association is named after him). He was a pedophilia and yet he wrote fantastic books for and about children in the 19 hundreds. So do we not read his books because of who he was? Do we love Little Women because we love Louisa May Alcott? Does the fact that Edgar Allen Poe was ever so slightly off make his books that much more interesting because he seemed so close to his subject. Should you take into account the author when choosing something to read? Is it fair to allow the abstract lives of the writer detract from the novel? So does who you are as a writer influence your readers?