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Writers, Authors and Journalists Insults
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The verses, when they were written, resembled nothing so much as spoonfuls of boiling oil, ladled out by a fiendish monkey at an upstairs window upon such of the passers-by whom the wretch had a grudge against.
Lytton Strachey (1880-1932) on Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
The very pimple of the age's humbug.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64), US writer, on Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-73), British dandy and novelist
The way Bernard Shaw believes in himself is very refreshing in these atheistic days when so many people believe in no God at all.
Israel Zangwill (1864-1926) on George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
The work of Henry James has always seemed divisible by a simple dynastic arrangement into three reigns: James I, James II and the Old Pretender.
Philip Guedalla (1889-1944), historian and biographer, on Henry James (1843-1916)
The world is rid of Lord Byron, but the deadly slime of his touch still remains.
John Constable (1776-1837), artist, on Lord Byron's' death
Then Edith Sitwell appeared, her nose longer than an ant-eater's, and read some of her absurd stuff.
Lytton Strachey (1880-1932) on Dame Edith Sitwell (1887-1964)
There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) on Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
There is no arguing with Johnson; for when his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it.
Oliver Goldsmith (1728-74), British poet, on Samuel Johnson (1709-84)
This awful Whitman. This post-mortem poet. This poet with the private soul leaking out of him all the time. All his privacy leaking out in a sort of dribble, oozing into the universe.
D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) on Walt Whitman (1819-91), American poet
This dodipoule, this didopper... Why, thou arrant butter whore, thou cotqueane & scrattop of scoldes, with thou never leave afflicting a dead Carcasse... a wispe, a wispe, rippe, rippe, you kitchin-stuff wrangler!
Thomas Nashe on Gabriel Harvey
This enormous dunghill.
Voltaire (1694-1778) on William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
This obscure, eccentric and disgusting poem
Voltaire (1694-1778) on Milton's Paradise Lost
Those base, servile, self-degraded wretches, Virgil and Horace.
William Cobbett (1763-1835) on the Classical poets Virgil (70-19 BC) and Horace (65-8 BC)
To me Pound remains the exquisite showman minus the show.
Ben Hecht on Ezra Pound (1885-1972)
To see him fumbling with our rich and delicate English is like seeing a Sevres vase in the hands of a chimpanzee.
Evelyn Waugh (1903-66) on Stephen Spender (1909-95)
To the King's theatre, where we saw A Midsummer Night's Dream, which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid, ridiculous play that I ever saw in my life.
Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), English diarist, on William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Trollope! Did anyone bear a name that predicted a style more Trollopy?
George Moore (1852-1933) on Anthony Trollope (1815-82)
Vain Nashe, railing Nashe, cracking Nashe, bibbing Nashe, swaddish Nashe, roguish Nashe... the swish-swash of the press, the bum of impudency, the shambles of beastliness.
Gabriel Harvey (c.1550-1631), scholar and writer, on Thomas Nashe (1567-1601), English playwright
Virginia Woolf s writing is no more than glamorous knitting. I believe she must have a pattern somewhere.
Dame Edith Sitwell (1887-1964) on Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)
Waldo is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death.
Saki (H. H. Munro) (1870-1916) on Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82)

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