Monday, September 2, 2013

Authors Dissing Authors

Some well-known writers have had some choice words for their fellow scribes.  Here's a sampling of the best of the worst...

D.H. Lawrence on James Joyce
“My God, what a clumsy olla putrida James Joyce is! Nothing but old fags and cabbage stumps of quotations from the Bible and the rest stewed in the juice of deliberate, journalistic dirty-mindedness.”

Virginia Woolf on James Joyce
“Ulysses is the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.”

William Faulkner on Mark Twain
“A hack writer who would not have been considered fourth rate in Europe.”

Henry James on Edgar Allan Poe 
“An enthusiasm for Poe is the mark of a decidedly primitive stage of reflection.”

Vladimir Nabokov on Joseph Conrad
“I cannot abide Conrad’s souvenir shop style and bottled ships and shell necklaces of romanticist cliches.”

Dylan Thomas on Rudyard Kipling
“Mr Kipling … stands for everything in this cankered world which I would wish were otherwise.

Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac
“That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway
“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

Ernest Hemingway on William Faulkner
“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

Gustave Flaubert on George Sand
“A great cow full of ink.”

Robert Louis Stevenson on Walt Whitman 
“…like a large shaggy dog just unchained scouring the beaches of the world and baying at the moon.”

Gore Vidal on Truman Capote
“He’s a full-fledged housewife from Kansas with all the prejudices.”

Oscar Wilde on Alexander Pope
“There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.”


  1. Very funny. :)

    I hope you don't mind I add one.

    Dorothy Parker on Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”

    “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

  2. l0l! These are great! Love Capote's. oH, and Hemingway, which would be typical as he liked small words...

  3. I think these are funny, but they are also old. Writers wouldn't say that anymore. It's funny how things have changed. Now, you wouldn't dare criticise another author because their style is different.

  4. I suppose these are so funny BECAUSE they are old, and because these are literary greats that millions love, regardless. I mean, I love Twain and Poe, but still can't help snickering at the put-downs. And Capote's typing crack is priceless!

    I have to say that my favorite is the one in the comments: Dorothy Parker vs Ayn Rand. I would have paid good money to see them talking at a party.

    I'd be disgusted to see living authors mud-slinging at each other like this. Unless, of course, there was real mud involved.

    1. I was surprised not to see Dorothy Parker on the list, but then she could fill a page all to herself (such as her take on Winnie the Pooh: "Tonstant Weader Fwowed up.")

  5. Yes, Dorothy could be a whole post alone! And "Tonstant ..." always makes me guffaw!!!

  6. Here's another from Mark Twain on Jane Austen:
    "Any library is a good library that does not contain a volume by Jane Austen. Even if it contains no other book."

  7. Oooh, I like that one! Thanks @blackwatertown!

  8. love ' can always count on O. Wilde for a great line...thanks, Jill