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The 30 Harshest Author-on-Author Insults In History

20. Vladimir Nabokov on Joseph Conrad

“I cannot abide Conrad’s souvenir shop style and bottled ships and shell necklaces of romanticist cliches.”

19. Dylan Thomas on Rudyard Kipling

“Mr Kipling … stands for everything in this cankered world which I would wish were otherwise.”

18. Ralph Waldo Emerson on Jane Austen

“Miss Austen’s novels . . . seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in the wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world. Never was life so pinched and narrow. The one problem in the mind of the writer . . . is marriageableness.”

17. Martin Amis on Miguel Cervantes

“Reading Don Quixote can be compared to an indefinite visit from your most impossible senior relative, with all his pranks, dirty habits, unstoppable reminiscences, and terrible cronies. When the experience is over, and the old boy checks out at last (on page 846 — the prose wedged tight, with no breaks for dialogue), you will shed tears all right; not tears of relief or regret but tears of pride. You made it, despite all that ‘Don Quixote’ could do.”

16. Charles Baudelaire on Voltaire (1864)

“I grow bored in France — and the main reason is that everybody here resembles Voltaire…the king of nincompoops, the prince of the superficial, the anti-artist, the spokesman of janitresses, the Father Gigone of the editors of Siecle.”

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