Ah, Even Classics Get Bad Reviews…

I must admit that it never crosses my mind that some of my favorite all-time books could have ever received bad reviews when they were first released. I mean, how can anyone say anything bad about the “The Great Gatsby” for crying out loud?

Well, recently my assumptions got deflated when I ran across an article about bad reviews on old classics and great authors. The revelation was two-fold; on the one hand I felt relief, knowing that even the greatest of writers don’t write books that everyone loves (so don’t freak out when you get a bad review, dear writers); and secondly, it reminded me of who important it is to try and write a great book, nonetheless, because a truly great book can withstand the test of time no matter what anyone says.

Anyhow, what do you think of the following remarks about these literary works and their authors?

Ernest Hemingway

“What other culture could have produced someone like Hemingway and not seen the joke?”

– Gore Vidal

(Why do I have a feeling this “review” might’ve had more to do with sour grapes than genuine disgust of Hemingway’s art?)






“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzerald

“no more than a glorified anecdote, and not too probable at that… Only Gatsby himself genuinely lives and breathes. The rest are mere marionettes—often astonishingly lifelike, but nevertheless not quite alive.”
– H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, 1925







“Moby Dick” by Herman Melville

“… the book is sad stuff, dull and dreary, or ridiculous. Mr. Melville’s Quakers are the wretchedest dolts and drivellers, and his Mad Captain … is a monstrous bore.”- Charleston Southern Quarterly Review, 1852 





“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte

“There is not in the entire dramatis persona, a single character which is not utterly hateful or thoroughly contemptible.”- Atlas, 1848










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