They took offense at him. But Jesus said, "A prophet is not without honour, except in his hometown and among his own household."
If you happen to be a dead author, you are in luck. Most readers will treat you more or less with objectivity and a degree of respect. In fact, readers may even go so far as to give the author that sublime compliment and read the book for its own sake, ignoring the author altogether.
If you happen to be a complete stranger to the reader, you are only a nebulous presence, a dim straw-man briefly torn down or a miniature house-hold god to whom passing honours are attributed. Your work is viewed a little more subjectively than that of the dead author, but you still are afforded a decent volume of anonymity and respect.
Woe to the author who is known and alive! At best, friends you know will be ardent fans and you can hope they will promote what (you certainly think) is a good work of literature. At worst, people who think they know you will turn on you and tear you - you, along with your work - to shreds publicly. At this stage, the reader who knows the author as well has difficulty (or does not try) to separate the work from the creator. Any review of the work is also a critique of the author as a person. And the more a reader thinks he knows the author, the bloodier that critique becomes. It becomes personal, it becomes unprofessional, and any semblance of an objective assessment of a work introduced to the corpus of literature is not to be found.
When you read the work of any author dead or alive, you are not meeting that author: you are reading his work. A good author is capable of writing characters, views, and circumstances which do not reflect himself.the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work
It is embarrassing and painful to see authors sainted by nothing better than death, while living authors have to run a trial by fire already prejudiced against them by their readers. It is not the business of the reader to critique the author, but the work in question. This is a rule by which I read. The excellence or poor quality of the work will reflect upon the author's ability to employ his craft, but it will not reflect upon him as a person per se. It is not my responsibility to go so far, nor is it doing myself or the author a service.
It ought to be our first assumption that the author, doing what he does best, actually knew what he was doing, rather than supposing that we, as the readers, having put forward no work at all into the matter, automatically know best and could have done it better. This should be recognized intuitively as rude.
One final point. It is possible to admit a work of literature is excellent even if you do not like it. Contrary to what may be supposed, no one died and made the reader God, so that the reader's opinion is automatically the one right, true, clear view of a book. Not mine, not yours, not anyone's. As readers, we ought to be as objective and informed as possible, and even if, in the end, we do not personally like the content of a work of literature, we can still acknowledge that it was deftly crafted, artfully presented, a tribute to the phenomenon of the written word.