20 April 2010

Writers hating writers

Michelle Kerns at Examiner.com has compiled a top-50 list of writers critiquing other writers. Much of the criticism being not constructive in nature. It feels weird to hear a favorite author so harshly rejecting another favorite. I turn into my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Boge. No put-downs!

Here a few highlights from Kerns's list (with Jane Austen receiving the most hate):

John Keats, according to Lord Byron (1820)
Here are Johnny Keats's piss a bed poetry...There is such a trash of Keats and the like upon my tables, that I am ashamed to look at them.

Oscar Wilde, according to Noel Coward (1946)
Am reading more of Oscar Wilde. What a tiresome, affected sod.

Jane Austen, according to Charlotte Bronte (1848)
Why do you like Miss Austen so very much? I am puzzled on that point. What induced you to say that you would rather have written 'Pride and Prejudice'...than any of the Waverly novels? I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses.

Mark Twain, according to William Faulkner (1922)
A hack writer who would not have been considered fourth rate in Europe, who tricked out a few of the old proven sure fire literary skeletons with sufficient local color to intrigue the superficial and the lazy.

Jane Austen, according to Mark Twain (1898)
I haven't any right to criticize books, and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read 'Pride and Prejudice,' I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.

Jane Austen, according to Ralph Waldo Emerson (1861)
I am at a loss to understand why people hold Miss Austen's novels at so high a rate, which seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in their wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world.

Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full, according to Norman Mailer (1998)
The book has gas and runs out of gas, fills up again, goes dry. It is a 742-page work that reads as if it is fifteen hundred pages long....
At certain points, reading the work can even be said to resemble the act of making love to a three-hundred pound woman. Once she gets on top, it's over. Fall in love, or be asphyxiated. So you read and you grab and you even find delight in some of these mounds of material. Yet all the while you resist -- how you resist! -- letting three hundred pounds take you over.
Lord Byron's nickname for William Wordsworth? Turdsworth.

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