« The poetics of soul-murder


W. H. Auden, in his introduction to the Signet edition of Shakespeare’s sonnets, takes a position diametrically opposed to my own: he argues that an artist’s biography “throws no light whatsoever upon the artist’s work”; it is an illusion that information about a poet’s life “would in any way illuminate our understanding” of the poems. If the attempt to glean the facts of the poet’s life is not merely a cover for “plain vulgar idle curiosity,” it betrays “a complete misunderstanding of the nature of the relation between art and life.” I have added the emphases to these quotes to indicate the intensifiers.

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About Stephen Kennamer

For several years I have taught a course titled The Anthropology of Evil. I chose the term “anthropology,” not to indicate a restriction to the study of evil among primitive tribes, but rather to widen the lens to take in every relevant discipline: history, philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology, and current events.

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