Reviewers reviewed…

imagesFor critics I care the five hundred thousandth part of the tithe of a half farthing.

Charles Lamb.

A good writer isn’t per se a good critic anymore than a good drunk is automatically a good bartender

Jim Bishop

A great deal of contemporary criticism reads to me like a man saying, “ Of course I do not like green cheese; I am very fond of brown sherry.”’

  1. K. Chesterton

I never read a book before reviewing it. It prejudices me so.

Sydney Smith

There’s only one thing to do with critics: bathe them in hot tar. If I listened to them I’d have been in the madhouse years ago.

Brendan Behan (above)

Unless the bastards have the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore them.

John Steinbeck

Writers’ ripostes.

Denise Robins

Once told Barbara Cartland she had written 87 books. ‘That’s nothing’, Cartland replied, ‘ I’ve written 145.’  ‘I see’, said Robins, one a year’.

Dorothy Parker

When a woman she didn’t like said, ‘ I can’t bear fools,’ Parker replied, ‘ Apparently, your mother didn’t have the same difficulty’.

Gore Vidal.

After he had heard that Truman Capote had died, remarked, ‘Good career move’.

Noel Coward

When an intellectually challenged actor had blown his brains out he said, ‘ He must have been an incredibly good shot’.

Samuel Beckett.

During his teaching days in Belfast the headmaster told him that his pupils were ‘the cream of Ulster’. Yes, rich and thick!’ he replied.

Dame Edith Evans

When informed that Nancy Mitford was staying at a friend’s house to finish a book, she said, ‘Really? So what’s she reading?’

Sexist remarks from authors.

Norman Mailer

In a speech in Berkeley California in 1972, he made a comment that hardly endeared him to the women’s movement: ‘ A little bit of rape is good for a man’s soul’.

Leo Tolstoy once said: ‘ So-called decent women differ from whores mainly in that whores are less dishonest’.

Henry Miller

In an interview in 1975 he said that he enjoyed women ‘as a breed, like a dog. They’re another species that you become endeared to, like a fine breed of horse’.

  1. H. Auden

Said of women, ‘When people are talking they should retire to the kitchen’.


Once told Katherine Mansfield, ‘A woman must yield precedence to a man. Men must go ahead and women must follow them unquestioningly.’

Noel Coward

Said facetiously that women should be struck regularly ‘ like gongs’.



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