A collection celebrating the poison pen commentary, adulation, revenge, and jealousy of writers commenting on other writers includes pieces by Philip Roth on Bernard Malamud, Virginia Woolf on D.H. Lawrence, and T.S. Eliot on James Joyce.
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When writers comment on other writers, they offerAin addition to insightAjealousy, misunderstanding, pettiness, betrayal, petulance, malicious gossip, struggle, and, occasionally, altruism. At its best, however, such commentary makes for fascinating reading. French, a British biographer, critic, and novelist, has compiled an excellent collection of just such reading. French's readers will discover that Alexander Pope (writing to Jonathan Swift) said that he avoided other writers unless by some chance he could find a modest one. Samuel Johnson considered James Boswell slovenly but also a man of great intellect and humor. Ivan Turgenev wrote that Nikoli Gogol's teeth were bad, his chin small, and his gestures unprofessional. George Sand declared that, although lovable, Gustave Flaubert was tiring and obstreperous. G.K. Chesterton wrote that Henry James had "the rather oppressive delicacy of a highly cultured family butler." T.S. Eliot thought Katherine Mansfield dangerous and vulgar. This is fascinating readingAand also a bit sobering. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ARobert Kelly, Fort Wayne Community Schs., IN
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Book Description Faber & Faber, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0571201296
Book Description Faber and Faber Ltd. Book Condition: New. pp. 320. Bookseller Inventory # 44814955