William Faulkner said:
“The Artist is of no importance. Only what he creates is important, since there is nothing new to be said.”
How many times have I heard myself talk about a book that I have read and liked to my husband, to my kids and friends without being able to remember the writer, not even his/her name. I remember the books I have read, I remember the way I felt after reading those stories at the time but I do not recall the authors. And even now in my articles when I want to refer to some quote I remember from a book, I have to go back and check the book to get the author’s name right. Unless it is a book by one of the greatest writers of all time, like Hemingway or Chekhov or Tolstoy, Jane Austen, James Joyce, John Updike, William Faulkner…
When I was in high school my teacher used to make us learn the biographies of authors off by heart. Each piece of writing whether poetry or prose in our textbook started off with a short biography of the author. So he made us go through the biography before reading the piece. Then he asked us to study the biographies for his tests. I still remember some parts of some of the biographies, like where the writers were born, the schools they went to. We never analyzed their writing. And I have no clue what their writing was about. What’s weird is that the other day while talking to my husband about it he said they studied those writers in pretty much the same way as we did.
To this day I regret not having done anything about it myself. Because as William Faulkner said:
“The individuality of the writer is important to himself. Everybody else should be too busy with the work to care about the individuality.”