Even Women Writers Are Not Spared

Continuing The Stinging Appetite of Writers and Did You Know

Bertrand Russell on Katherine Mansfield: “Her talk was marvelous, much better than her writing, especially when she was telling of things that she was going to write.”

Alexander Woollcott on Dorothy Parker: “Her best word portraits are dervish dances of sheer hate, equivalent in the satisfaction they give her to the waxen images which people in the olden days fashioned of their enemies in order, with exquisite pleasure, to stick pins into them.”

Wyndham Lewis on Gertrude Stein: “Gertrude Stein’s prose is cold, black suet-pudding. We can represent it as a cold suet-roll of fabulously reptilian length. Cut it at any point, it is the same thing; the same heavy, sticky, opaque mass all through, and all along.”

Edmund Gosse on George Eliot: “A large, thick-set sybil, dreamy and immobile, whose massive features, somewhat grim when seen in repose, were incongruously bordered by a hat, always in the height of Paris fashion, which in those days commonly included an immense ostrich feather; that was George Eliot. The contrast between the solemnity of the face and the frivolity of the headgear had something pathetic and provincial about it.”

Edward Fitzgerald on Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Mrs. Browning’s death is rather a relief to me, I must say: no amore Aurora Leighs, thank God! A woman of real Genius, I know; but what is the upshot of it all? She and her Sex had better mind the Kitchen and Children; and perhaps the Poor; except in such things as little Novels, they only devote themselves to what Men do much better, leaving that which Men do worse or not at all.”

Edith Sitwell on Ethel Mannin: “I do not want Miss Mannin’s feelings to be hurt by the fact that I have never heard of her. At the moment I am debarred from the pleasures of putting her in her place be the fact that she has not got one.”

Anthony Powell on Virginia Woolf: “Virginia Woolf herself never got used to the fact that if you write books some people are bound to be rude about them.”

John Barth on Susan Sontag: “She writes like a middle-aged French roué. She writes like Carl Jung dreaming he is Candide.”

Julie Burchill on Jeanette Winterson: “Just as certain modern paintings do not want to be paintings but rather statements, so certain modern novels want to be paintings, or pieces of music, or sculptures; anything but a book, one of those lowly things they sell in airports. It might be an ideal idea if Miss Winterson got out her brushes and set to, painting her masterpiece as soon as possible. Because the signs are, right now, that she certainly isn’t ever going to write one.”


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2 Responses to Even Women Writers Are Not Spared

  1. Ouch! I think some of those men’s opinions are a sign of the time in which they were spoken, but still, I think it took courage for those women to keep writing after those rude words! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Are They Jealous | Ramblings

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