Marion Zimmer Bradley : can we separate the artist from the art?

It’s a truism that the writer you read on the page is not the writer you meet in the flesh. It’s for exactly this reason that meeting our cultural heroes is so often a profound disappointment. The transcendent singer on the stage is a bawdy lech in the bar. The poet who expresses beauty in words is a drunken misanthrope in person. So we commonly separate the artist from the human being, the icon from the reality. But when the actions of our cultural heroes go beyond bad behaviour, into to moral outrage, illegality and immorality, that separation becomes far harder. And in some cases, impossible.

The accusations of child abuse levelled at science fiction author Marion Zimmer Bradley, who died in 1999 age 69, are of the most serious kind. Published last week on the blog of Deirdre Saoirse Moen, these accusations come from Bradley’s own daughter, Moira Greyland. They include accounts of physical and sexual abuse, and were later joined by a brutally affecting poem written by Greyland in “honour” of Bradley, Mother’s Hands. Bradley’s reputation when alive had already been considerably damaged by the conviction of her husband on charges of child molestation in 1990.

Read more @ Guardian books

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4 thoughts on “Marion Zimmer Bradley : can we separate the artist from the art?”

  1. John C. Wright said this today, “I saw a lonely and hooded traveler on the road walking away from the SFWA Mansion (at first I took this to be someone disgusted by news that the writers guild now protected with their silence the filth and perversions of pederasts, but who, unlike me, could make no public denunciation)…”

    I just wanted to point out that Mr. Wright is a Catholic. #Irony

    1. Interesting. Yes, a little ironic to write thousands of words denouncing the SFWA and remain a loyal member of an organisation that defrocked 800+ of its own priests for child abuse.

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