June 25, 2014
Does anybody honestly believe that any suggestion of sexual deviancy in a famous writer’s personal life must be ferreted out and revealed? For what reason? Any study of literature in college never seems to be complete without such an investigation. Prurience? Voyeurism? Call it what it is. Sexual orientation has no bearing on any interpretation of literature. Nevertheless critics, scholars, and researchers waste no time digging into it. They can’t leave it alone. And if they find something, it just hangs there in limbo.
I have long been sickened by the absolute purposelessness of this pursuit. But the spark that finally ignited me to action arrived when a former English professor whom I detested for his smugness wrote a desperate article posing at “scholarship.” It speculated, mind you, on a possible illicit affair between one of our fine American writers and an older woman, the mother-in-law of another famous writer. “So what?” I shouted in an empty room. “Who cares?” I shouted. “I have one life to lead. I can’t waste it reading this drivel.” I finally wrote an entire novel, a vendetta, around this professor and his kind. That novel is titled THE DINNER PARTY.