I’m continuing to be vastly amused by Fighting Words: Writers Lambast Other Writers–from Aristotle to Anne Rice. In case you ever find yourself in a situation where, I don’t know, you must save yourself from a herd of ravenous man-eating wildebeest by smack-talking a famous author, you could do worse than learn from the greats. Here, in no particular order, are my favorite examples of writers dissing other writers not by criticizing their work, but skipping over all that “professional” stuff completely and going for the jugular. In other words, writers demonstrating that they are not nice people by attempting to demonstrate that other writers are not nice people.
He was dull in company, dull in his closet, dull everywhere. He was dull in a new way, and that made many people think him great.–Samuel Johnson, on Thomas Gray
Gibbon’s style is detestable; but it is not the worst thing about him.–Samuel Coleridge, on Edward Gibbon
Perhaps “alive” is scarcely the word one would apply to that “luminary” of the Lake District. Wordsworth drew his first orderly and deliberate breath in 1770, and continued the alternative processes of inhalation and exhalation until 1850.–Ezra Pound
It was good of God to let Carlyle and Mrs. Carlyle marry one another and so make only two people miserable instead of four.–Samuel Butler, on Thomas Carlyle
Henry James has a mind so fine no idea could violate it.–T. S. Eliot
The nicest old lady I ever met.–William Faulkner, on Henry James
An excellent man: he has no enemies; and none of his friends like him.–Oscar Wilde, on George Bernard Shaw
The effect upon women is such that they want to go right out and get him and bring him home stuffed.–Dorothy Parker, on Ernest Hemingway
The greatest mind ever to stay in prep school.–Norman Mailer, on J. D. Salinger
He is as pretentious as a rich whore, as sentimental as a lollipop.–Norman Mailer, on Jack Kerouac
2 thoughts on “Writers are not nice people, Part 2”
Ouch! Those writers sure know how to craft insults. I especially noticed “dull in his closet” and “make only two people miserable instead of four.” I don’t think I’d want to invite any of these people to dinner. 🙂
I hope we’re evolving; I haven’t heard any real live writers say this kind of stuff. But then again, I’m not published yet……:D
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