Category Archives: Literary Friendships & Feuds

Eliot Puts on Better Show than Shaw

On this date in 1933, Edmund Wilson writes the following to John Dos Passos: “I heard T.S. Eliot read his poems the other night . . . He is an actor and really put on a better show than Shaw.” … Continue reading

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“He Was Dull in a New Way”

On this date in 1775, Samuel Johnson makes the following assessment of poet Thomas Gray: “Sir, he was dull in company, dull in his closet, dull every where. He was dull in a new way, and that made people think … Continue reading

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D.H. Lawrence Disses Arnold Bennett

On this date in 1928, D.H. Lawrence writes a letter to Aldous Huxley in which he calls Arnold Bennett a “pig in clover.” Bennett dies on this same date in 1931 after contracting typhoid. He had drunk contaminated water in … Continue reading

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“The Most Obnoxious Person Almost in England”

On this date in 1728, the Beggar’s Opera author John Gay writes to Jonathan Swift: “For writing in the cause of Virtue, and against the fashionable vices, I am lookt upon at present as the most obnoxious person almost in … Continue reading

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Fielding Charges Cibber with “Murder”

Writing under the pseudonym Captain Hercules Vinegar, Justice of the Peace Henry Fielding brings poet laureate Colley Cibber to court for murdering the English language.

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Sir Walter Scott Throws Some Shade on Himself

On this date in 1826, Sir Walter Scott compares his work to that of Jane Austen: “the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting . . .is denied to me.”

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Miss Brontё Regrets

On this date in 1839, Charlotte Brontë writes this refusal to Reverend Henry Nussey’s marriage proposal: “I am not the serious, grave, cool-hearted individual you suppose; you would think me romantic and eccentric.”

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Wodehouse Wary of Wealthy Host’s Seating Arrangements

On this date in 1931, P.G. Wodehouse writes the following about his weeklong stay at San Simeon, home of William Randolph Hearst: “I sat on [Marion Davies’] right the first night, then found myself being edged further and further away … Continue reading

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Gides Ghost Gibes Claudel

Nobel Laureate André Gide died on this date in 1951. Several days letter, a telegram bearing his signature appeared on a bulletin board at the Sorbonne. It read “Hell doesn’t exist. Better notify Claudel.” Paul Claudel, who was a Catholic … Continue reading

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Punches for Patricia

On this date in 1976, Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa punches Columbian author Gabriel García Márquez in the face following a dispute over Llosa’s wife Patricia.

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