One Exception to Free Speech

New rule, one I previously sent to my spy in Theology but decided I need more commiserators: authors of lovely novels are not allowed to tell us what they really think.

Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy... wonderful observers of the human person but kind of expletives in real life. Michael O'Brien: beautiful novels, but a man who should not be let near the field of literary criticism, as he has no understanding of the British novel, literary symbolism or close reading of a text. And now Wendell Berry. I knew he was Liberal (I've read his essays), but this is just dumb.

Why is this? My thesis is that being sensitive enough to beauty to depict it on a page makes you too romantic for the hard-nosed work of rational analysis.

My spy suggests another rule: never find out anything personal about an artist whose work you like.