Do you ever do this? Reread an author in light of revelations about their lives which you were once unaware of and find that their work has a totally different ring to it?
I know that many people reread Orwell when they discovered that he had gathered intelligence for the authorities on fellow socialists and communists and others during and after the war and decided that he was a hypocrite or some sort of "deep cover" conservative or libertarian who wrote a lot about socialism but only as part of the cover story. It seems a little simplistic and probably has as much to do with people wishing to "rehabilitate" Orwell as a "pop-libertarian" for the "post-socialist present".
Then there is Koestler, he wrote lots about freedom and the terror he felt at contact with Anarchists and being imprisoned by fascists in Spain in Darkness At Noon but was later exposed as one for brutalising women and even committing rape.
More recently there have been revelations about Ignazio Silone, which sort of prompted this thread, reading the wiki on Silone I found this line "A 2005 biography by Biocca also includes documents showing Silone's involvement with the American intelligence (the OSS) during and after the World War, ultimately suggesting that Silone's political stands (as well as extensive literary work) should be reconsidered in light of a more complex personality and political engagements". It seems like despite being considered a left radical and writing lots of books in the style he was passing information to fascists during the war and the Americans afterwards.
Its a bit of a revelation but caused me to reread books like his School of Dictators and wonder if his accounts of "how fascism won" where not some kind of cleverly crafted guide, not for socialists but for anti-socialists and even fascists.
So have any of you had to rethink or reconsider the books or politics of particular authors in light of fresh information? Is it fair? Does it matter? Would it ever cause you to rethink or reconsider or reflect on your own politics, if these authors were key to their formation?