Tag Archives: literary oddities

Write It Right: As for for As to

“As for for As to. ‘As for me, I am well.’ Say as to me.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

Rotten Rejections: Madame Bovary

“You have buried your novel underneath a heap of details which are well done but utterly superfluous….”

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

Devil’s Dictionary: Dictator

“Dictator, n. The chief of a nation that prefers the pestilence of despotism to the plague of anarchy.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000. 

Rotten Reviews Omnibus: Saul Bellow

The Adventures of Augie March

“All of Those Words, in denominations of from three to five letters, are present.”

Library Journal


Henderson the Rain King

“The novelist who doesn’t like meanings writes an allegory; the allegory means that men should not mean but be. Ods bodkins. The reviewer looks at the evidence and wonders if he should damn the author and praise the book, or praise the author and damn the book. And is it possible, somehow or other to praise or damn, both? He isn’t sure.”

Reed Whittemore, New Republic

“At times Henderson is too greyly overcast with thought to be more than a dun Quixote.”

Time


Herzog 

“There is no effort toward decency—many of the conversations that come back to Herzog are foul-mouthed, and his own sexual actions and reminiscences are unrestrained.

America

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

 Rotten Reviews: How It Is, by Samuel Beckett

“…he breeds nothing but confusion. His plays and novels present a vision of life that is shockingly unchristian. They make the life and death of our Lord just one more of the legends man has used to delude himself…Beckett is postulating this as our inescapable condition of life. It may be for him. Not for this reader.

R.H. Glauber, Christian Century

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

Raymond Chandler on Chess

“As elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency.”

Raymond Chandler

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Rotten Rejections: Edgar Allan Poe

Rotten Rejections: Folio Club Tales (1836)

“Readers in this country have a decided and strong preference for works…in which a single and connected story occupies the entire volume.”

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

Albert Jay Nock on Reading the Dictionary

“As sheer casual reading matter, I still find the English dictionary the most interesting book in the English language.”

Albert Jay Nock

Memoirs of a Superfluous Man ch. 1 (1943)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Rotten Rejections: The Clan of the Cave Bear

“We are very impressed with the depth and scope of your research and the quality of your prose. Nevertheless, the length presents a unique problem, for production costs are rising and the reading public are reluctant to buy expensive novels unless the author has an established reputation such as the one enjoyed by James Michener. In any case, we don’t thing we could distribute enough copies to satisfy you or ourselves.”

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

Devil’s Dictionary: Circumlocution

“Circumlocution, n. A literary trick whereby the writer who has nothing to say breaks it gently to the reader.” 

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000.