The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Author
Case 1: The dramatist Harold Pinter was once asked what all his plays were about, and he blurted out "The weasel under the cocktail cabinet." He later said he was amused to find that flippant response being analyzed by critics, because "for me the remark [about the weasel] meant precisely nothing."
Which of these quotes from Pinter would be 100% true?
Case 2: T.S. Eliot wrote desperate, disjointed poetry when he was a young man. While his life had its dramatic points (his fist wife died in a mental institution after spending several years there; he never visited her), he had a happy second marriage, enjoyed considerable literary success, and more people today know his work through the musical Cats (which was based upon his lighter poetry).
Permit me to speculate.
Let us imagine that, after spending many decades in comfort, enjoying the respect and admiration of the literary world, Eliot wrote a few lines that dismiss as insignificant the early poetry that he wrote as a desperate and angry 22-year-old. Would those lines be more or less valid than the opinion of an angry 22-year-old of today who finds the same poem life-changing?