Well, as your comment notes, whether to take a writer’s life into account or not is a subject of debate. So neither of us can weigh in definitively for or against it (though you’re claiming normatively that we should not take a writer’s life into account, which is a fine opinion to have, but not an absolute one). I’m a social psychologist. I think about the social context of people’s actions and beliefs. I also think that taking a writer’s life into account can deepen our appreciation of their work. You don’t have to do it. I’m certainly not teaching English classes anytime soon. But when a dude writes a whole book of “hideous men” stories and was himself hideous at times, while also being very ethically sensitive and thoughtful and self-critical, of course I’m going to want to write about that.

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