Tag Archives: book reviews

Rotten Reviews: Anna Karenina

“Sentimental rubbish…. Show me one page that contains an idea.”

The Odessa Courier

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

Rotten Reviews: Matthew Arnold

“Arnold is a dandy Isaiah, a poet without passion, whose verse, written in surplice, is for freshmen and for gentle maidens who will be wooed to the arms of these future rectors.”

George Meredith, Fortnightly Review, 1909

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

Rotten Reviews: The Deerslayer

“In one place in Deerslayer, and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offences against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record.”

Mark Twain How to Tell A Story and Other Essays 1897

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

Rotten Reviews: The Bridge by Hart Crane

“A form of hysteria…One thing he has demonstrated, the impossibility of getting anywhere with the Whitmanian inspiration. No writer of comparable ability has struggled with it before and it seems highly unlikely that any writer of comparable genius will struggle with it again.”

Yvor Winters, Poetry

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

Rotten Reviews: A Tale of Two Cities

“Last winter I forced myself through his Tale of Two Cities. It was a sheer dead pull from start to finish. It all seemed so insincere, such a transparent make-believe, a mere piece of acting.”

John Burroughs, Century Magazine 1897

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, ads. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

Rotten Reviews, John Dos Passos I: The 42nd Parallel

“…he is like a man who is trying to run in a dozen directions at once, succeeding thereby merely in standing still and making a noise. Sometimes it is amusing noise and alive; often monotonous.”

V.S. Pritchett, The Spectator

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

Rotten Reviews, John Dos Passos II: The Big Money

“I found the novel tiresome because people never seemed to matter in the least; they would have gone down under any system, so why blame capitalism for their complete and appalling lack of character? Mr. Dos Passos’ America seems to me a figment of his own imagination, and I doubt the value of his reportage of our period.”

Herschel Bricknell, Review of Reviews

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.