Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Author vs. author

You bet authors hate/envy each other. The Chicago Examiner published a list of the 50 Greatest athor vs. author put-downs. Enjoy!

Mark Twain hates Jane Austen:
One man's Shakespeare is another man's trash fiction.
Consider this pithy commentary on the Great Bard's work:
With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare....
But, of course, there must be SOME writers we can all agree on as truly great, right? Like Jane Austen. Or not:
Every time I read 'Pride and Prejudice,' I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.

Hemingway: writer of bells, balls, and bulls
1. Ernest Hemingway, according to Vladimir Nabokov (1972)
As to Hemingway, I read him for the first time in the early 'forties, something about bells, balls and bulls, and loathed it.
2. Miguel Cervantes' Don Quixote, according to Martin Amis (1986)
Reading Don Quixote can be compared to an indefinite visit from your most impossible senior relative, with all his pranks, dirty habits, unstoppable reminiscences, and terrible cronies. When the experience is over, and the old boy checks out at last (on page 846 -- the prose wedged tight, with no breaks for dialogue), you will shed tears all right; not tears of relief or regret but tears of pride. You made it, despite all that 'Don Quixote' could do.
3. John Keats, according to Lord Byron (1820)
Here are Johnny Keats's p@# a-bed poetry...There is such a trash of Keats and the like upon my tables, that I am ashamed to look at them.
4. Edgar Allen Poe, according to Henry James (1876)
An enthusiasm for Poe is the mark of a decidedly primitive stage of reflection.
5. John Updike, according to Gore Vidal (2008)
I can't stand him. Nobody will think to ask because I'm supposedly jealous; but I out-sell him. I'm more popular than he is, and I don't take him very seriously...oh, he comes on like the worker's son, like a modern-day D.H. Lawrence, but he's just another boring little middle-class boy hustling his way to the top if he can do it.
6. William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, according to Samuel Pepys (1662)
...we saw 'Midsummer Night's Dream,' which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life.
7. Edward Bulwer-Lytton, according to Nathaniel Hawthorne (1851)
Bulwer nauseates me; he is the very pimple of the age's humbug. There is no hope of the public, so long as he retains an admirer, a reader, or a publisher.

Charles Dickens writing something rotten, vulgar, and un-literary
8. Charles Dickens, according to Arnold Bennett (1898)
About a year ago, from idle curiosity, I picked up 'The Old Curiosity Shop', and of all the rotten vulgar un-literary writing...! Worse than George Eliot's. If a novelist can't write where is the beggar.
9. J.K. Rowling, according to Harold Bloom (2000)
How to read 'Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone'? Why, very quickly, to begin with, and perhaps also to make an end. Why read it? Presumably, if you cannot be persuaded to read anything better, Rowling will have to do.
10. Oscar Wilde, according to Noel Coward (1946)
Am reading more of Oscar Wilde. What a tiresome, affected sod.
11. Fyodor Dostoevsky, according to Vladimir Nabokov
Dostoevky's lack of taste, his monotonous dealings with persons suffering with pre-Freudian complexes, the way he has of wallowing in the tragic misadventures of human dignity -- all this is difficult to admire.
12. John Milton's Paradise Lost, according to Samuel Johnson
'Paradise Lost' is one of the books which the reader admires and lays down, and forgets to take up again. None ever wished it longer than it is.

for the rest go here:


RJR said...

Hey, we should modernize this. Like . . . Dennis Lehane on James Ellroy! Michael Conelly on Harlan Coban! Greg Mcdonald on Robert Randisi. ("Writing 100 books is like writing no books.")


pattinase (abbott) said...

You might find the Saul Bellow letters in the current New Yorker interesting. Writers actually wrote each other letters critiquing their work. And he responded.

Kenneth Mark Hoover said...

haha, pretty funny, thanks for the link :)