Response to Denis Hartnett’s “Separating Good Art From Problematic Artists”

There is a popular saying that often arises when analyzing an author’s work, and I think its meaning applies well here; “The author is dead”. This phrase means that the author’s work should be analyzed separately from their own interpretation of their work, and that the reader’s interpretation is the most important to consider given that it is a work created with the intention of being analyzed by others.

In this case, you and all others should feel safe in not allowing the actions of a creator to affect their opinion of their creations, after all the sins of the father are not the sins of their sons. That being said, you should also be careful to understand the subtext of their creations and not allow them to justify the infringement of people’s rights.

I can enjoy H.P. Lovecraft’s stories while also understanding the bigoted position from which they were written. For me, it acts as a reminder of our own shortcomings, and is a call to aspire to be better myself. The fear of the unknown, while tied to the fear of those that are different from you, is not synonymous with the fear of people that are different, thus I am able to enjoy his horror without wallowing in hatred of minorities. It is your interpretation of the piece that matters, rather than the implied subtext.

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