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What started out as a pastime soon turned into a hobby that turned into a passion until it eventually became a necessity. Reading is a need so beautiful that I feel I must write about it every day.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Nastiest literary insults of all time

I think most authors are an insecure and envious lot. Hell breaks loose when a writer decides to spew his/her hatred publicly. It makes for a highly amusing read too. No wonder these insults are so eloquent and hard-hitting, after all they have been made by some very good writers who just find their fellows really bad. Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby present to you a stunning mix of wit, jealousy and sarcasm.
Note: Regarding some comments as plain nasty would be an understatement. 
Let the vicious war of words begin!

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

Lord Byron on John Keats
 “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.”

Mark Twain on Jane Austen
Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” Ouch!

Vladimir Nabokov on Ernest Hemingway 
 “As to Hemingway, I read him for the first time in the early ‘forties, something about bells, balls and bulls, and loathed it.”

Homer J. Simpson on Walt Whitman's book
'Leaves of grass' my ass!

Harold Bloom on J.K. Rowling
“How to read ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’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.” Sorry Potter fans

Gertrude Stein on Ezra Pound
“A village explainer. Excellent if you were a village, but if you were not, not.”

 H. G. Wells on George Bernard Shaw
“An idiot child screaming in a hospital.”

Charles Baudelaire on Voltaire (1864)
“I grow bored in France — and the main reason is that everybody here resembles Voltaire…the king of nincompoops, the prince of the superficial, the anti-artist, the spokesman of janitresses, the Father Gigone of the editors of Siecle.”

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?”

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

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

W. H. Auden on Robert Browning
“I don’t think Robert Browning was very good in bed. His wife probably didn’t care for him very much. He snored and had fantasies about twelve-year-old girls.”

Evelyn Waugh on Marcel Proust (1948)
“I am reading Proust for the first time. Very poor stuff. I think he was mentally defective.”

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, who tricked out a few of the old proven sure fire literary skeletons with sufficient local color to intrigue the superficial and the lazy.”

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.”

James Dickey on Robert Frost:
“If it were thought that anything I wrote was influenced by Robert Frost,
I would take that particular work of mine, shred it, and flush it down
the toilet, hoping not to clog the pipes...'' Seriously Dickey? lol

H.G. Wells on Henry James:
“A hippopotamus trying to pick up a pea  that has got into a corner of its cage..”

Lawrence Durrell on Henry James
 “If I were asked to choose between reading Henry James and having my head pressed between two stones, I’d choose the latter.” Sorry Azzaam, that must've hurt. 

 Mark Twain on Henry James:
“Once you put one of his books down, you simply can’t pick it up again.”

Mark Twain on Edgar Allan Poe.
“To me, his prose is unreadable– like Jane Austen’s”

Gore Vidal after being punched by Norman Mailer 
 “I see Norman, words have failed you again!”

Louis-Ferdinand Céline on D.H.Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”:
“600 hundred pages for a gamekeeper’s dick, it’s way too long.”

Vidal on Truman Capote’s death
 “A good Career move.”

Mark Twain on Jane Austen:
Just the omission of Jane Austen’s books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn’t a book in it

Dorothy Parker’s on Benito Mussolini’s -The Cardinal’s Mistress
“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” HAHA

Flannery O’Connor on Harper Lee
 “I think for a child’s book it does all right. It’s interesting that all the folks that are buying it don’t know they’re reading a child’s book.”

John Updike on the name of a character in one of Rushdie's novels who has the same name as a German actor: Why, oh why, did Salman Rushdie, in his new novel ... call one of his major characters Maxmilian Ophuls
Salman Rushdie: A name is just a name. Why oh why ... Well, why not? Somewhere in Las Vegas there's probably a male prostitute called John Updike.

Dorothy Parker on Clare Booth Luce
Clare Booth Luce, opening a door for Dorthy Parker: Age before beauty.
Dorothy Parker: Pearls before swine. OH GOD!

Ben Jonson on William Shakespeare
“I remember the players have often mentioned it as an honor to Shakespeare, that in his writing, whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out a line. My answer hath been, ‘Would he had blotted a thousand,’ Don't speak ill of the bard!

Salman Rushdie on John le Carré 
 “an illiterate pompous ass”.

James Dickey on Steinbeck
I can't read ten pages of Steinbeck without throwing up.

Arnold Bennett on Charles Dickens
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.

Samuel Johnson on John Milton's Paradise Lost
'Paradise Lost' is one of the books which the reader admires and lays down, and forgets to take up again.

Anatole France on Emile Zola
His work is evil, and he is one of those unhappy beings of whom one can say that it would be better had he never been born.

Norman Mailer on Tom Wolfe’s 
“Reading the work can even be said to resemble the act of making love to a 300lb woman. Once she gets on top, it’s over. Fall in love, or be asphyxiated.”

I'm just as surprised as you are...


  1. Ouch, those are harsh! I especially feel the sting on the Harold Bloom on J.K. Rowling one since I happen to be a Harry Potter fan, haha. Thanks for the interesting post!

    1. thanks for following Linny. Great blog you've got there btw.

    2. Thank you, I appreciate it. And you're very welcome! :)

  2. OUCH! :O that did hurt. haha these would make such awesome facebook comments! i totally agree with Mark Twain. he was one cool guy :)

  3. Geez Twain really has it in for Austen. I can't seem to finish his book!

    This is a wonderful post!!

    1. Thank you :) Which book are you reading by him?

    2. adventures of huckleberry finn. I put it aside a long time ago. I happen to like Austen and Poe.

    3. I'm a Poe fan too. Just read The tell tale heart for the third time. Still as bone chilling as it was the first time round. Maybe you're put off by the language in Huck Finn, its a remarkable book otherwise.

  4. Artist in every field have thier own ways to insult one another.
    Musicians tends to make harsh melodramatic tones when they get offended, painters become more abstract and writers tend to play with words.

  5. Many of these made me laugh out loud. I think I'll plaster a few of them on my blog. What a fun post!

    1. Thank you Amber :) don't forget to link back.

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