“What is important is ‘Hamlet’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ not who wrote them.”
An interesting observation from the great novelist, E.M. Forster (1879-1970), who has a soft spot in my heart for all the novels he set in Italy. And something very similar coming from another (very different) favorite author of mine, William Faulkner (1897-1962).
Of course, one would assume Faulkner’s comment is focused more over the debate as to whether Shakespeare truly was one person, whereas Forsters’ comment seems to be more on the ‘cult of the author’ that may have developed in more modern times.
I think both quotes have merit. We love books because of the story, because of the characters that continue to live on in our minds after we close the last page. The authors themselves may or may not be of interest to us, or an author may have written one or two brilliant books that live on, while the rest are forgotten with time. That does not make the one or two novels that live on any less brilliant.
And you, readers and writers, what do you think when it comes to works vs authors?