|Author vs. Author Smackdown!
||[Apr. 20th, 2010|09:15 pm]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
One of my favorite books on my shelf is Andre Bernard's Rotten Rejections, which collects numerous hilariously misguided and shortsighted rejections of now classic novels.
To whit, this from a rejection letter for Tony Hillerman's The Blessing Way, which launched a nationally bestselling series that ran nearly twenty books long:
"If you insist on rewriting this, get rid of all that Indian stuff."
And this one from a rejection of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, which hasn't been out of print since its original publication in 1934 and was adapted into a major motion picture at least twice:
"I think it is only a matter of time before you reach out into more substantial efforts that will be capable of making some real money as books."
OH NO YOU DIDN'T!
I love that stuff. And I got the same thrill I usually do from Rotten Rejections by reading Michelle Kerns' article The 50 best author vs. author put-downs of all time. Check out these disses, playa:
"An enthusiasm for Poe is the mark of a decidedly primitive stage of reflection." - Henry James
"For in point of style, or manner, or whatever, it is difficult to imagine anything much worse than the prose of Mr. [Ezra] Pound. It is ugliness and awkwardness incarnate. Did he always write so badly?" - Conrad Aiken
"Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You're thinking of [William] Faulkner. He does sometimes -- and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he's had his first one." - Ernest Hemingway
CAN I GET A "WHAT WHAT"!
"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." - Mark Twain
It kind of makes you wish authors nowadays used more wit and style when laying down the intra-industry smackdowns on message boards and discussion lists, doesn't it?