"Jane Austen? Why I go so far as to say that any library is a good library that does not contain a volume by Jane Austen. Even if it contains no other book."There are a host of great author-on-author put downs here. If any of you are Austen fans horrified to find that Twain held her in such low regard, there's an essay here that examines his comments in greater detail from a pro-Austen perspective.
"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. Every time I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone."
"All the great critics praise her art generously. To start with, they say she draws her characters with sharp distinction and a sure touch. I believe that this is true, as long as the characters she is drawing are odious."
Mark Twain on Jane Austen
I've occasionally mentioned Mark Twain's brutal, and completely accurate, review of Cooper's 'Leatherstocking' tales. I also knew that Jane Austen was not universally loved by American authors -- Emerson didn't care for her ("Suicide is more respectable," he wrote of her work), but who cares what Emerson thinks? Still, I hadn't realized until this morning that Twain had written occasionally about his dislike for her work.
By Grim on Saturday, January 10, 2015