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The World’s Worst Author makes an enquiry

Here it is in the letters pages of The First Edition (September -October1924) a curious letter from Amanda (McKittrick) Ros, not quite latching on to the idea of collecting or what the magazine was about.

Poor Amanda---blissfully unaware that her books weren’t collected for their literary merit, but for their production of unintended hilarity. At Oxford in the 1920s undergraduates like Evelyn Waugh and John Betjeman were admirers and it is said that the Inklings, whose members included C.S.Lewis and J.R.Tolkien , held competitions to see how much of a novel or poem by Amanda Ros could be recited before the reader began to laugh uncontrollably. Because most of her books were published privately in small editions, copies weren’t easy to come by. They have remained quite scarce ever since, largely due to loyal followers, who eagerly snap them up. However, today, with her star slightly on the wane, copies, including very early editions, can be found on the Net for under £70.

Ros’s work has been anthologised, but some enterprising publisher should reprint all her writings in a large paperback edition.[RH]

Thanks. From our old blog Bookride it is worth adding this:

One of her rarest books is Bayonets of Bastard Sheen ( 50 copies only in 1949). It was culled from letters written between 1927 and 1939 mostly vituperations against critics + a short piece 'Lewis Carroll. A Hasty Evaluation' prompted by the price of £15,400 paid by Dr. Rosenbach for the manuscript. She takes a very dim view of the Carroll book in several letters. Meanwhile here is a list of her synonyms for critics:

Apprentices to the scathing trade 
Auctioneering agents of Satan 
Brain-blighters 
Brain-bruisers 
Character-clipping-combination 
Clay-crabs of corruption 
Conglomeration of braying opinions 
Cornerboy shadows of criticism 
Critic cads 
Critic Crabs 
Critic Curs 
Crowdrops 
Crows 
Denunciating Arabs 
Drunken ignorant dross 
Egotistical earth-worms 
Egotistic atoms 
Evil-minded snapshots of spleen 
Gang of drunken swags 
Gas-bag section 
Genius-beetlers 
Genius-scathers 
Half-starved upstarts 
Hogwashing hooligans 
Intelligibles of bad-breeding 
Maggoty numskulls 
Maggoty throng 
Mushroom class of idiotics 
Mushroom class of talent twisters 
Poisonous apes 
Poking hounds 
Poor apes 
Public character-tearers 
Raging roughs 
Random hacks of illiteration 
Rodents of State 
Scandalizers of books 
Scandalmongering critics 
Scathers of genius 
Scathing circle 
Scorchers of rare talent 
Scribblers of thick witted type 
Scurrilous scribes 
Self-opinionated mortals 
Starving critic cads 
Street Arabs 
Talent-pickers 
Talent wipers of a wormy order 
Tree of rebuff

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