Sigh. Authors just don’t insult each other like they used to.
Sure, Martin Amis raised some eyebrows when he claimed he would need brain damage to write children’s books, and recent Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan made waves when she disparaged the work that someone had plagiarized, but those kinds of accidental, lukewarm zingers are nothing when compared to the sick burns of yore.
It stands to reason, of course, that writers would be able to come up with some of the best insults around, given their natural affinity for a certain turn of phrase and all. And it also makes sense that the people they would choose to unleash their verbal battle-axes upon would be each other, since watching someone doing the same thing you’re doing — only badly — is one of the most frustrating feelings we know. So we forgive our dear authors for their spite.
Plus, their insults are just so fun to read.
D.H. Lawrence on James Joyce (1928)“My God, what a clumsy olla putrida James Joyce is! Nothing but old
fags and cabbage stumps of quotations from the Bible and the rest stewed
in the juice of deliberate, journalistic dirty-mindedness.”
William Faulkner on Mark Twain (1922)“A hack writer who would not have been considered fourth rate in
Europe, who tricked out a few of the old proven sure fire literary
skeletons with sufficient local color to intrigue the superficial and
Mark (Samuel Clemens) Twain
Virginia Woolf on James Joyce“[Ulysses is] the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples.”
Mark Twain on Jane Austen (1898)“I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except
when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books
madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and
therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read ‘Pride
and Prejudice,’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her
Evelyn Waugh on Marcel Proust (1948)
“I am reading Proust for the first time. Very poor stuff. I think he was mentally defective.”
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust
Mary McCarthy on Lillian Hellman
"Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'
W. H. Auden on Robert Browning“I don’t think Robert Browning was very good in bed. His wife
probably didn’t care for him very much. He snored and had fantasies
about twelve-year-old girls.”
Elizabeth Bishop on J.D. Salinger
“I HATED [Catcher in the Rye]. It took me days to go through it,
gingerly, a page at a time, and blushing with embarrassment for him
every ridiculous sentence of the way. How can they let him do it?”
Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac
“That’s not writing, that’s typing.”
Oscar Wilde on Alexander Pope
“There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope.”
Vladimir Nabokov on Ernest Hemingway (1972)
“As to Hemingway, I read him for the first time in the early ‘forties, something about bells, balls and bulls, and loathed it.”
William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway
“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”
Gore Vidal on Truman Capote“He’s a full-fledged housewife from Kansas with all the prejudices.”
Lord Byron on John Keats (1820)“Here are Johnny Keats’ piss-a-bed poetry, and three novels by God
knows whom… No more Keats, I entreat: flay him alive; if some of you
don’t I must skin him myself: there is no bearing the drivelling
idiotism of the Mankin.”
Lord George Gordon Byron
and if you really want to tell it like it is ...
H. G. Wells on George Bernard Shaw
“An idiot child screaming in a hospital.”
H.G. (Herbert George) Welles
George Bernard (G.B.) Shaw
I hope you've enjoyed the cattiness of some of America (and the world's) greatest writers ... nobody can do a smack down like a good writer!
Bloemencorso Zundert is the largest flower parade in the world entirely made by volunteers. The parade takes place on the
first Sunday of September. The floats are large artworks made of steel
wire, cardboard, papier-mâché and flowers...lots and LOTS of flowers.
In the Bloemencorso Zundert, only dahlias are used to decorate the objects and it takes thousands of them just to cover one float.
The huge floats are made by twenty different hamlets and each of them
consists of hundreds of builders, aged 1 to 100, who are all equally
crazy about the bloemencorso. The older members of the hamlet are often
responsible for planting and growing the dahlias, while the younger ones
build the float in large temporary tents that are built exclusively for
The bloemencorso is also a competition. A professional and
independent jury decides which float is the most beautiful and which
hamlet will be crowned the winner of that year.
Building a float for the corso is mainly a social event. Builders of
all ages work side by side for over three months to get the float of
their hamlet ready on time. It has to be as perfect as possible in order
to win the competition.
The parade itself takes place on the first Sunday of September, but
the members of the hamlets work on their floats all summer. The tents
are put up in May or June and from then on the volunteers put all their
effort in creating the giant artworks. The last three days before the
actual parade are the most stressful. Because the flowers have to be
fresh, the hamlets can only start applying the dahlias on the floats on
the Thursday before the parade. If necessary, the builders will work day
and night to have their float ready on Sunday.
Most people in Zundert will happily give up their days off to work on the float. The social cohesion that comes from building it is very important. A
hamlet is like a family where everyone knows each other and everyone is
welcome. After a long evening working on the float people drink a beer
together and most hamlets organize all kinds of other activities like
song contests and barbecues.
Let's hope the wind doesn't blow too hard! The flowers have been meticulously placed to create the giraffes,
even down to their eyelids and hair that lines their necks!
For years, seventeen hamlets participated in the corso. In recent
years, three more decided to enter the
competition. Building a float
costs a lot of money and hundreds of people are needed. Now there are twenty hamlets competing in Bloemencorso Zundert.
A roaring good show! The blooms have been manipulated to create this gravity-defying impressive model
of a tiger and her cubs.
Every float is made of dahlias. This apartment building, which is as high as other apartments,
weaves its way through the narrow streets.
Just by using dahlias, volunteers created this startling scene of an antelope
escaping the clutches of a hungry leopard.
Udderly brilliant! The competitors left no detail out - even the numbers of the tags o the ears - and what
appears to be a fully functioning milk processing plant within the cow's body!
This mind-boggling shoal of fish swirl around each other. Notice the light colored dahlias
to shade in the light bouncing off the eyes!
Bloemencorso began in 1936, and since then has spiraled in popularity, as the small population
makes huge efforts to outdo one another so they can create sculpture like this huge pipe organ.
Even the meerkats get a mention! The curious animals are brought to life, as creators
perfected every inch of the models, even down to their nails and shading on their tails.
This has to be one of my favorites! Out of this world! Every float here is made from petals and, despite
being made from such a delicate tiny structure, take on gigantic proportions which people clamor to see.
Bloemencorso has grown in popularity and in the sheer size of the creations, with thousands flocking
to the home of Vincent Van Gogh to gasp at the displays.
Held on the first Sunday of every September, the quain town becomes packed with visitors
and, on this occasion, a huge rhinoceros made of delicate flowers.
Thousands turn out to Bloemencorso, as the hamlets compete with each other to create the most beautiful
display - including this sinister-looking fishy creature.
Each of the competing districts of Zundert constructs its own entry and competes in the parade.
According to those behind Bloemencorso, the parade is all the work of dedicated volunteers, who
do not profit from the colorful display.
A staggering six to eight million dahlia flowers are used to produce the floats.
Thanks for stopping by for a visit today - hope the beauty and craftsmanship of the floral displays of Bloemencorso have inspired you! Now ...
Yes! Life does sparkle and shimmer and glimmer and gleam! And I love it! Whether I'm making art, working with fabric, paper, ink and vintage findings - or working on a theatre piece - or sewing like an ecstatic dervish on a new art quilt - I'm always attracted to what shimmers just out of sight...the ghosts of sparkle and the rich dignity of decayed splendor.