I can’t believe this person ever read any works of literature, let alone taught them:
When you are a writer who learns a beloved author has a dark side, you experience waves of disillusionment. When you teach that author’s work, you feel an additional stab of concern: What about my syllabus? Do we continue to teach the work of people we now suspect of behaving unethically or abusively?
This is so insane, it’s not even funny. Trying to find a writer from 20 years ago, let alone a couple of centuries, who, by today’s standards, wasn’t a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, or an all-around jerkwad, is pretty impossible. If you don’t know how to separate works of art from their authors, you shouldn’t be a literary critic, period.
And this part is simply crazy:
To put someone on a syllabus is to privilege them with our attention. We’re saying, This is worth your time. Unless we actively complicate the conversation, our students will perceive that as a form of admiration.
I put Fidel Castro and Che Guevara on my syllabi. I teach the accounts of the Spanish conquerors and the medieval texts that argue female evilness and inferiority. I assign Franco-era propaganda. My teaching is not about what I admire. It’s about what I consider important to know.
What’s really funny is that the author is also a writer. How she can guarantee that absolutely everything she said and did in her life won’t be considered beyond the pale 100 or even 10 years from now is a mystery.