Re: RARA-AVIS: a few items and the short goodbye

From: George Upper (
Date: 21 Feb 2002

--- Rene Ribic <> wrote:
> I agree that it is of academic interest and of >
interest in as much as we like to know about certain > authors but you certainly can't find out about the > personal life of every author before you read his/her
> work even if you wanted to.And you're going to have
> an opinion of the books you read even if you don't >
know anything about the author.I mean to say, how do > we know that every crap book written doesn't have a > personal tragedy behind it? Does it mean we should > abandon having opinions on these books?

No, of course not. I'm not saying that anything excuses bad writing--bad writing just is. (I'm feeling very Zen today.) I'm just saying that knowing details about the author or the specific circumstances of a novel's writing enhances context, and enhancing context is, IMHO, always a good thing. I don't mean to say that increasing a reader's understanding of context always increases enjoyability of the read--if that were true, every book would start with a 10 page essay entitled "Who I Am and How I Came to Write This Book." I'm just saying that understanding the context is a good thing, and that it CAN contribute to the enjoyment of a novel, i.e., that it's not necessarily irrelevant to our assessment of a novel.


===== George C. Upper III, Editor The Lightning Bell Poetry Journal

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