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View Full Version : The 30 Harshest Author-on-Author Insults In History



childeroland
02-21-2012, 08:50 AM
Fun article on famous authors hating other famous authors. I knew about Nabokov's feelings for Dostoyevsky, and Faulkner's about Hemingway, but I had no idea about some of the others.

A sample:

25. Gertrude Stein on Ezra Pound
“A village explainer. Excellent if you were a village, but if you were not, not.”
24. Virginia Woolf on Aldous Huxley
“All raw, uncooked, protesting.”
23. H. G. Wells on George Bernard Shaw
“An idiot child screaming in a hospital.”
22. Joseph Conrad on D.H. Lawrence
“Filth. Nothing but obscenities.”
21. Lord Byron on John Keats (1820)
“Here are Johnny Keats’ piss-a-bed poetry, and three novels by God knows whom… No more Keats, I entreat: flay him alive; if some of you don’t I must skin him myself: there is no bearing the drivelling idiotism of the Mankin.”




http://flavorwire.com/188138/the-30-harshest-author-on-author-insults-in-history?all=1

HoneyBadger
02-21-2012, 08:03 PM
Makes you wonder what AW would have looked like 50 years ago...

AVS
02-21-2012, 08:14 PM
Makes you wonder what AW would have looked like 50 years ago...

The flame wars would have been much slower.

"I refer to the gentleman's letter of the ninth of September last.

Screw you and the horse you rode in on.

Yours sincerely,

A Trol"

Amadan
02-21-2012, 09:32 PM
Old news, but I do like referring to these whenever we have another round of "It's unprofessional and mean for authors to utter anything but kittens and rainbows about other authors!" on AW.

Amarie
02-21-2012, 10:23 PM
I like "driveling idiotism." I didn't even know idiotism was a word.

Filigree
02-22-2012, 04:11 AM
Dorothy Parker is always good for snark. So is Poe.

triceretops
02-22-2012, 04:16 AM
Didn't King have something less than flattering to say about Steph Meyer? I can't remember the article, but he gave J.K. Rowling a thumbs up.

ETA: Didn't Wells and Verne exchange unpleasant thoughts or words?

Tri

HoneyBadger
02-22-2012, 04:23 AM
Didn't King have something less than flattering to say about Steph Meyer? I can't remember the article, but he gave J.K. Rowling a thumbs up.

ETA: Didn't Wells and Verne exchange unpleasant thoughts or words?

Tri

Yessssss. (http://www.eonline.com/news/smackdown_of_week_stephen_king_vs/82354)


"The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn," he said. "She's not very good."

And yessssss. (http://harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=231)


Click the link for a very funny comic.

triceretops
02-22-2012, 04:52 AM
Yessssss. (http://www.eonline.com/news/smackdown_of_week_stephen_king_vs/82354)



And yessssss. (http://harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=231)

You are astounding to have found those! Thank you.

Tri;)

jjdebenedictis
02-22-2012, 05:42 AM
The problem with snarking on another author is you risk it coming across as professional jealousy, regardless of how valid your point is.

And indeed, if you're calling someone (rather than their book) a "village explainer" or "idiot child" or "[m]ankin", that smells of professional grudge, not valid literary criticism.

Doesn't mean you haven't got a right to say it. Just means you may be casting more light on your own flaws than the other guy's.

Amadan
02-22-2012, 06:41 AM
The problem with snarking on another author is you risk it coming across as professional jealousy, regardless of how valid your point is.

And indeed, if you're calling someone (rather than their book) a "village explainer" or "idiot child" or "[m]ankin", that smells of professional grudge, not valid literary criticism.

Doesn't mean you haven't got a right to say it. Just means you may be casting more light on your own flaws than the other guy's.


Oh, I think a lot of those classic author snarks were just plain professional grudges.

But damn funny.

Alison_Kale
02-22-2012, 06:53 AM
Oh, Emerson and Twain, how could you be so unkind to my dear Miss Austen??

But I do like Baudelaire's snark on all of his country.

Delano
02-22-2012, 07:15 AM
The problem with snarking on another author is you risk it coming across as professional jealousy, regardless of how valid your point is.


I agree, though I have to say in the case of Stephen King's comment about Stephenie Meyer, there is no way anyone could interpret that as jealousy, lol.

Celia Cyanide
02-22-2012, 07:27 AM
Didn't King have something less than flattering to say about Steph Meyer?

He also dissed V.C. Andrews in his book On Writing, I think.

rugcat
02-22-2012, 07:42 AM
Always been my favorite:

9. Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac

“That’s not writing, that’s typing.”


"The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn," he said. "She's not very good."

That's not snark. It's reportage.

jjdebenedictis
02-22-2012, 08:01 AM
Oh, I think a lot of those classic author snarks were just plain professional grudges.

But damn funny.Totally agree. :evil

scarletpeaches
02-22-2012, 01:53 PM
The problem with snarking on another author is you risk it coming across as professional jealousy, regardless of how valid your point is.

And indeed, if you're calling someone (rather than their book) a "village explainer" or "idiot child" or "[m]ankin", that smells of professional grudge, not valid literary criticism.

Doesn't mean you haven't got a right to say it. Just means you may be casting more light on your own flaws than the other guy's.Meh. Other writers have the right to an opinion just as much as 'normal readers' do.

In fact in many cases their opinions could be more valid because they know what they're talking about.

With King's comment, he's well-respected and no-one could say he's jealous of Meyer's success. Well, maybe they could, but I'm sure he won't lose any sleep over it.

Mark W.
02-22-2012, 02:06 PM
With HG Wells and Bernard Shaw, it could have been more personal than professional. Both were highly political figures.

Phaeal
02-22-2012, 05:19 PM
Meh. I think a lot of authors suck, but unless they start torturing bunnies or condoning genocide or committing other superliterary crimes, I see no reason to call them out in public.

I might criticize a particular book, but the author herself? Only in private, with the very few people whose discretion I trust. We meet in a lead-shielded, insulated bunker far underground, lest we contribute to global warming via the ardor of our rants. ;)

jjdebenedictis
02-22-2012, 07:17 PM
Meh. Other writers have the right to an opinion just as much as 'normal readers' do.

In fact in many cases their opinions could be more valid because they know what they're talking about.

With King's comment, he's well-respected and no-one could say he's jealous of Meyer's success. Well, maybe they could, but I'm sure he won't lose any sleep over it.Yes, but he didn't call Meyer an idiot child either. We're not quite talking about the same thing.

Everyone has a right to voice their opinion. But as writers, we need to be aware of how words are interpreted.

And to have zero fear of pissing people off, of course. It's fine to be offensive as hell, as long as you do it on purpose. :D

Filigree
02-23-2012, 04:03 AM
Harlan Ellison is my touchstone on literary snark. The man is fearless, and will call out any Emperor for being starkers.

Amadan
02-23-2012, 04:12 AM
Harlan Ellison is my touchstone on literary snark. The man is fearless, and will call out any Emperor for being starkers.


I'd say he's not so much fearless as filterless.

dpaterso
02-23-2012, 04:17 AM
Their niggly little jibes make them all look like total prats. If they were alive and posting here, I'd tell them to just shut up and get some writing done. And maybe give them time outs.

-Derek

triceretops
02-23-2012, 06:18 AM
Just goes to show you how subjective this whole business is, even amongst the pros.

Haggis
02-23-2012, 06:33 AM
Dorothy Parker is always good for snark. So is Poe.
One of my favorites from Poe I remember reading as a child. Poe did a lot of literary criticism and said this about some long forgotten writer, "___ has as many angles as a pumpkin and is nearly as clever."

No link for it, and I can't find it on Google, but I remember it clear as day from a collection of his I had as a youth.

LindaJeanne
02-23-2012, 06:35 AM
I'm surprised they left out Mark Twain on Femnore Cooper. (unless I missed it?)