@PietroConiglio I'm 46 years old and don't see why it's wrong to point out the homophobic elements of someone's writing instead of letting it slide, as you seem to think would be appropriate; this is pretty much how empathy works or what in the 1970s used to be called "consciousness raising." I believe that great literature (like Proust) is inherently political for this reason, which is why I think Knausgaard represents a demoralizing and regressive form of literary conservatism.
@Mr. B I understand that the truth can hurt, Mr. B., but KOK is a homophobic writer and you seem to think that I'm wrong to be offended by him. To tell people who are subjected to bigotry that they are "oversensitive" is another long-running injustice that has been perpetrated against pretty much every group of marginalized outsiders throughout history; the question is why you feel the need to resort to this tactic instead of defending KOK on the merits of his writing. You're very much correct, however, in stating that you're either with me or against me when it comes to homophobia, although I do think there's something of a middle ground, as the commenter sf45 thoughtfully demonstrated below.
@sf45 Thanks, sf45 -- I appreciate your reflection on what is admittedly a challenging issue.
@barnhouse Like homophobic apologists throughout history, you're trying to turn something blatant into a question of subjective interpretation. What's subjective is your appreciation of his writing. I've made my case -- based on his actual words -- that KOK is a homophobic writer. Nobody has been able to refute or deny this. If you want to be honest, you can say, "Despite his homophobia, I consider KOK to be a great writer," whereas I have said, "I consider KOK to be homophobic and a bad writer." At least we can agree that he's homophobic; whether that matters to you is not for me to say. I obviously think it's important. If you want to tell me he's not homophobic, I'd like to hear why.
@836238662@twitter Yeah, I get that point, except he goes on to say equally stupid things about what is and isn't masculine as an adult, and moreover, he didn't publish his teen diaries, he wrote a book as a thinking man. Also, he did express remorse for other things he did and didn't do as an adolescent, so why not make clear that he's no longer a homophobic jerk? Obviously, it's not that important to him or he would have done it. The real question here is why so many people are rushing to apologize for KOK's rather blatant homophobia (made worse by his supposed love of Proust, Genet, etc.).
@barnhouse Nabokov created a fictional character who was also a pedophile, so no, I don't think he needed to tell us that HH was to some extent deranged. Knausgaard offers opinions on all manner of subjects -- and does express remorse for some of them -- so I would like to know why his ongoing homophobia hasn't been noted. I still want someone to tell me whether the reaction would be different if he had written about his racist views after lauding the work of non-white writers, because I suspect that it would have been? My point is that disparaging homosexuality in a reflective memoir (which let's be honest, KOK's work is not "fiction") is wrong and archaic, and those who failed to note this (basically everyone who's written about him) are part of the problem.
@barnhouse I agree with you about his (frankly alarming) lack of remorse for his ignorance (and he does own it at times, such as when he's describing his student reading), but his philosophical digressions and opinions are not descriptive at all; moreover, he relegates me to a second-class citizen (while appropriating my literary heroes), so I'm naturally going to take offense.
@Mr. B My point is that Proust's homosexuality is a critical component of what makes him important as a writer, and I continue to be perplexed by those like KOK who, on one hand, say that they admire Proust but on the other say that they don't want to "look like a homo." You haven't told us what you find compelling about Proust, but there's also a good chance that it wouldn't be compelling but for the fact that he's writing with a gay voice, and like many oblivious readers, you just failed to notice it.
@barnhouse I'm sorry, Barnhouse, but when you tell us that you've read Proust, Genet, and Foucault, the I-grew-up-in-a-small-town-please-excuse-my-homophobia card no longer applies (not that he even tried to play it). Also, KOK is nothing but didactic when discussing a million other things (from what makes good writing to what is and isn't "masculine"), so I'm not sure why you would say he's not a "didactic narrator," when he's didactic to the extreme (the problem being that he's often wrong or misinformed or -- particularly offensive to me -- homophobic.)