Bitchy Victorian Writers

It is a well-known fact that writers are sometimes total bitches to each other, especially when egos get involved. The below are a few examples:

William Makepeace Thackeray, on Charles Dickens
'Dickens doesn't like me; he knows that my books are a protest against his — that if the one set are true, the other must be false'.

Margaret Oliphant, on Mary Elizabeth Braddon
'She never invented any circumstance so extraordinary as this public faith and loyal adherence which she seems to have won'.

(aka, "She's invented some hard-to-believe shit, but nothing is so hard to believe as her enormous fanbase").

Thomas Hardy, on Margaret Oliphant
'That a woman who purely for money’s sake has for the last thirty years flooded the magazines and starved out scores of better workers, should try to write down rival novelists whose books sell better than her own, caps all the shamelessness of Arabella [from Jude the Obscure, his book that she had critiqued], to my mind.’


Virginia Woolf, on Margaret Oliphant
She was a woman who 'prostituted her own culture'.

Henry James, on Margaret Oliphant
Her physiognomy was ‘that of a person whose eggs are not all in one basket’.

(aka, "Bitch looks CRAY".)

Henry James, on H.G. Wells
Wells produces 'affluents turbid and unrestrained'.

(aka, "It's all just too much. Too many books. Too much stuff in them. Too much.")

H.G. Wells, on Henry James
James is a 'painful hippopotamus'.

Mrs. E.M. Ward, on Mrs. Henry (Ellen Price) Wood

'[she is] a very nice woman, but hopelessly prosaic. Calling upon her one day when she was alone I hoped that perhaps she woudl reveal some hidden depth yet unseen. But alas! the topics she clung to and thoroughly explored were her servants' shortcomings, and a full account of the cold she had caught'.

Charles Dickens, on Hans Christian Anderson
'He speaks no language but his own Danish, and is suspected of not even knowing that'.

George Reade, on George Eliot (his longterm rival)

'George Eliot is a writer of the second class . . . . adroit enough to disavow the sensational, yet to use it as far as her feeble powers would let her . . . . [H]er greatest quality of all is living with an anonymous writer, who has bought the English press for a time and puffed her into a condition she cannot maintain'.

(aka, "George Eliot, one of the greatest writers of all time, is really just a whore.")

George Reade, anonymously, about himself

'he is the greatest living English writer of fiction . . . . By the million readers of the time to come, Reade, Dickens, and Thackeray will be handed down to fame together'.

Anthony Trollope (Reade's other longterm rival), on George Reade

'as endowed almost with genius, but as one who has not been gifted by nature with ordinary powers of reasoning'.

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