The 10 Grumpiest Authors in Literary History

The new art issue of The Believer features, among many treats, an excellent interview with the late Maurice Sendak by author Emma Brockes, who visited him in his home. His “legendary crossness,” she writes “was really just impatience with artifice… ‘I refuse to lie to children,’ [Sendak] said. ‘I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.’ There was no roughness in his delivery. It was spiked with merriment.” Indeed, the best grumps are the ones who take some joy at their own crotchety-ness, or who at least have a sense of humor about it. Inspired (again, always) by Sendak’s joyful curmudgeonry, and since we’ve already given you the rundown on our grumpiest living writers, we’ve rounded up a list of the all-time grumpiest authors who are no longer with us. Read about them after the jump, and add any we’ve missed in the comments!

Maurice Sendak

The gloriously grumpy Sendak made our list of the grumpiest living writers back in April, but since then, he has alas achieved his “yummy death” and left us to our own devices. The entire Believer interview shows off his honest, particular worldview, but just for a taste, here’s what he said about Terry Gross after her NPR interview with him: “The only thing she said wrong was that her favorite interviews had been me and that stupid fucking writer. Salman Rushdie, that flaccid fuckhead. He reviewed me on a full page in the New York Times, my book Dear Mili. He hated it. He is detestable. I called up the Ayatollah, nobody knows that. What else shall we talk about?” So very many things.