Stephen Elliot calls for reviewers to stop considering authors‘ appearance and personality in their reviews. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Especially if you grew up intellectually during that whole French criticism thingamabob.
The problem is not with the author’s personality (or appearance), it’s with the readers and critics who pay too much attention to it. Focusing on a writer for not “humping his ego” has the same effect as focusing on writers who are outspoken, or attractive; they’re two sides of the same coin. What matters is the book, and the book has to stand on its own merit. What the author accomplishes, or doesn’t, outside of the book is fine for the gossip pages, but it doesn’t merit mentioning in a book review.