Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Worst Book Reviews in American History?

Here are few snippets from these reviews as provided by Tracy O'Neill at the blog of the New York Public Library:

Saturday Review review of Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood (1952)

"Her story is built around a fanatic who believes that there is no Christ, no redemption, and no soul, and who goes about preaching this doctrine with complete dedication. There are possibilities in the idea, but they are not realized, for one reason, because the individual is so repulsive that one cannot become interested in him... The result is inevitably a gloomy tale."

Dress and Vanity Fair review of Willa Cather's O Pioneers! (1913)

"Miss Willa Cather in 'O Pioneers!' (O title!!) is neither a skilled storyteller nor the least bit of an artist."

The London Spectator review of Herman Melville's Moby Dick (1851)

"It is a canon with some critics that nothing should be introduced into a novel which it is physically impossible for the writer to have known: thus he must not describe the conversation of miners in a pit if they all perish. Mr. Melville hardly steers clear of this rule and he continually violates another by beginning in the autobiographical form and changing ad libitum into the narrative."

Read more here.