Thursday, February 18th, 2010
Anti-Blurb 8 (The Blog)
Roger Scruton on George Bernard Shaw:
Concerning no subject would he be deterred by the minor accident of complete ignorance from penning a definitive opinion.
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010
Anti-Blurb 7 (The Blog)
Lord Shaftesbury on Sir John Seeley’s Ecce Homo (1865), which examined the evidence for the truth of the Gospels:
. . . the most pestilential book ever vomited, I think, from the jaws of hell.
Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
Anti-Blurb 6 (The Blog)
Mark Twain on Jane Austen:
I haven’t any right to criticise books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.
Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
Anti-Blurb 5 (The Blog)
I’ve never even read Nelson Algren, but let’s milk him once more. This is from the same Paris Review interview I linked to yesterday. Here he’s discussing James T. Farrell, the author of the Studs Lonigan trilogy trilogy:
Well, I don’t feel he’s a good writer. . . . I don’t think he’s a writer, really. . . . Farrell is stenographic, and he isn’t even a real good stenographer. He’s too sloppy. In his essays he compares himself with Dreiser, but I don’t think he’s in Dreiser’s league. He’s as bad a writer as Dreiser — but he doesn’t have the compassion that makes Dreiser’s bad writing important.
Friday, May 22nd, 2009
Anti-Blurb 4 (The Blog)
Choire Sicha reviewing Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes in 2004:
Bergdorf Blondes should inspire readers everywhere to rise up and rip one another limbless. . . . In all seriousness: we must build a tiny apocalypse-proof time capsule. If we can resist the temptation to burn Plum Sykes’s book, we can smuggle it into the future. Perhaps the next breed of humanoids can learn from the holocaust of culture and commerce that destroyed our icky civilization. . . . If you have any sense of justice at all, the publication of this book demands that you rouse yourself from the couch this very second and set out to loot and burn Manhattan.
(Of course, Sicha, given his history at Gawker, is not one to talk about the holocaust of culture, but hey…)
Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
Anti-Blurb 3 (The Blog)
Ken Kalfus, in a review of All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well by Tod Wodicka:
Although Wodicka turns up a provocative thought here and there, this musing, typical of Burt’s grief-laden vaporousness, serves also to illustrate the artless, wordy and underarticulated writing that makes All Shall Be Well such a Black Death of a chore to read.
Thursday, March 19th, 2009
Anti-Blurb 2 (The Blog)
Elizabeth Bishop, in a 1963 letter to Robert Lowell, about the movie criticism in Partisan Review, which was written by Pauline Kael:
. . . WHO wrote those idiotic movie reviews? I think she must be somebody’s mistress?
Thursday, March 12th, 2009
Anti-Blurb 1 (The Blog)
Frederick the Great, on the philosopher La Mettrie:
He was merry, a good devil, a good doctor, and a very bad author. By not reading his books, one can be very content.
(This anti-blurb was found in Simon Critchley’s The Book of Dead Philosophers, which will receive a full review on this site soon.)