Oh, burn! Best Author Insults.

They said WHAT?


Authors are no strangers to drama. Once in a while you see someone really explode, throw a fit on twitter over a bad review, attack another author, or something equally distasteful.  Occasionally we’ll see a deranged rant on Goodreads or Amazon when an author snaps. Often we see blog posts addressed to “no on in particular” and know that something that someone said must have hit a nerve.

But did you know that authors have been sniping at the public, and at once another, for hundreds of years?

Henry James Jeers at Edgar Allen Poe:

“An enthusiasm for Poe is the mark of a decidedly primitive stage of reflection.”

Ayn Rand Roasts CS Lewis:

“The lousy bastard who is a pickpocket of concepts, not a thief, which is too big a word for him…”

Oh god, it burns!

Oh god, it burns!


Mark Twain Targets William Faulkner:

“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.”

HG Wells Wallops George Bernard Shaw:

“An idiot child screaming in a hospital.”

W. H. Auden Antagonizes 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.”


He did NOT just say that.

He did NOT just say that.



So you see, dear readers, these sorts of author shenanigans have been going on for quite some time. That’s not to say it’s ever excusable, it’s not. It NEVER pays to act in some a negative, immature fashion. It alienates readers and other authors. It causes people to put you under lists like “Bad Author Behavior” on Goodreads, and for other people in the industry to log you in their mind as “that crazy writer who flipped out at the reviewer”. Nobody wants to work with someone like that.

But BOY, it sure does make some interesting reading.








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5 responses to “Oh, burn! Best Author Insults.

  1. No offense intended but… I barely understand these statements and since aren’t really from my generation I find them a little drab (for lack of better word). I would’ve used something like “Alphabet soup could create a better story.” =P (it’s not that great but I’m not that witty when if I’m not mad and ready to go all out rapid fire lol) But good main focus! I agree It’s honestly pointless to lashout at someone for anything really (unless you’re being threatened or attacked). Your reaction shows your level of maturity so I always try to deal with calm and quick.

  2. Whoa, they said that?! I thought they would’ve come up with something more creative! (see Undigested Lump by Hank Green) Okay, I’m just kidding, but it’s hard to believe that those authors were so mean to others at first. But I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised (especially Ayn Rand to C.S. Lewis) because they’re humans too and they do what normal people do– liking and disliking some others in their lives; we tend to only look at the “author” part of them and what they wrote, especially in the time when the internet wasn’t so popular, or didn’t even exist. Still, those are really interesting to read!
    By the way, I noticed what you did to the titles for the insults ;). Really clever XD!

    • Uh, I was supposed to put “(especially Ayn Rand to C.S. Lewis) ” in the previous sentence. Didn’t notice that until I posted my comment 😛

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