Readers' Choice: 20 More Author-On-Author Insults

We hoped that when we listed our picks for the harshest author-on-author insults in history, you readers would have some of your own favorite barbs and witticisms to suggest. And goodness, you didn’t disappoint! Accordingly, and so as to continue the guilty pleasure of literary insult-mania, we’ve compiled a follow-up list of some of the best suggestions from the group. Note: many of you yearned for Harlan Ellison, but though he certainly has many deliciously to-the-point quotes to his name, we couldn’t seem to think of a choice example where he was directly insulting another author, so any Ellison fans out there with a direct quote, be sure to let us know. Click through for twenty more choice author-on-author insults, as beloved and nominated by our readers!

Mary McCarthy on Lillian Hellman (1979)

“Every word she writes is a lie, including and and the.” – Suggested by Ellis Amburn

H.G. Wells on Henry James

“A hippopotamus trying to pick up a pea.” – Suggested by Ellis Amburn

H.L. Mencken on Gertrude Stein

“It is the great achievement of Miss Stein that she has made English easier to write and harder to read.” – Suggested by Jess

William Gass on Jay McInerney

“The advantage to writing this slack is that the writer can’t hang himself with any length of it.” – Suggested by the McNally Jackson Bookmongers

Mark Twain on Jane Austen (1896)

“Jane Austen’s books, too, are absent from this library. Just that one omission alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn’t a book in it.” – Suggested by Cole