Can bad people write good books?

Burning a bookPhil: Here’s a dilemma. I own a copy of “Rolf on Art”. In the book, Rolf Harris describes his painting technique for the benefit of those who aspire to have a go at art, or are simply keen to find out how paintings are produced. It’s an interesting book with photos taken from the TV series the book accompanies showing the painting of several pieces in a step-by-step process.

The writer is described as having “a background in Fine Art and has exhibited at the Royal Academy. He attended the City & Guilds Art School in London during the 1950s. Later, inspired by the Australian impressionist Hayward Veal, he began to develop his own characteristic, free-flowing style. He was soon making a name for himself on his own live television series, effortlessly producing the huge paintings that have become his artistic landmark.”

As we now know, at the same time he was developing a taste for molesting young girls.

Which leaves me with problem. What do I do with the book?

Is it possible to separate the work (quite good) from the author (a filthy pervert)?

If I were to keep the book on my shelf, am I in some way condoning the authors behaviour?

As you can see from the photo, my bookshelf will soon have a little more space on it. Not a problem as I’ve plenty of others to fill the gap. I couldn’t even give the book away to a charity shop like others I pass on, that, to me, is as bad as keeping it. Besides, most charity shops will be inundated with the things. I can’t see out local Cats Protection League selling their copy of “Beastly Behaviour” in a hurry…


Filed under Books, Phil

2 responses to “Can bad people write good books?

  1. That’s a tough one. I’m hesitant to comment as although i write i know little of art. I think it tarnishes his work. But at the same time was his message or inspiration a waste if time ? If he was a good person would he have had the same influence ? Probably. But it’s hard to distance yourself from it. Nobody wants to condone that behaviour. He was probably still a good artist but who could look at it that way ?

    • I have wondered what I’d do if on my wall was one of his paintings costing thousands. Not sure that would have been so easy to dispose of. Of course you could argue that the same hands that painted the picture did other things wheras apart from the original manuscript, he never came in to contact with the book.

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