Recently, cultural news and critique site Flavorwire spotlighted the 30 Harshest Author-on-Author Insults In History. I had never given a thought to Author-on-Author insults. I guess I thought we writers were beyond such things. WRONG. It seems that writers are quite a sharp-tongued bunch. Here are what I consider to be the top 5.

 

author insults

 

5. Evelyn Waugh on Marcel Proust (1948)

“I am reading Proust for the first time. Very poor stuff. I think he was mentally defective.”

author insults

4. Mark Twain on Jane Austen (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.”

 

3. Virginia Woolf on James Joyce

“[Ulysses is] the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.”

 

2. William Faulkner on Mark Twain (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.”

 

1. D.H. Lawrence on James Joyce (1928)

“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.”

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Yikes! See what I mean? Does any of this surprise you? As always, I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. I am an ex-shrink who writes award-winning novels. Check out my books here.

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