Author vs Reviewer — It’s All Old News

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The Newcomes Memoirs of a Most Respectable Family By William Makepeace Thackeray

Next semester I’ll give a seminar on Thackeray, and thus began reading THE NEWCOMES yesterday evening — and couldn’t help grinning when I reached page 2 and the author starts dissing critics. Not because he is dissing criticis, but because we thought the often-present friction between authors and reviewers was something new and had worsened with the growth of oneline review sites and blogger reviewers. Not so, I say, if the following is any indication:

I think I see such a [critic] –a Solomon that sits in judgement over us authors, and chops up our children. . . . If author’s [sic] sneer, it is the critic’s business to sneer at them for sneering. He must pretend to be their superior, or who would care about his opinion? And his livelihood is to find fault.

Wow, that’s what I call one bitter author! The snippet nicely serves to show that neither the “The Book Is My Child” metaphor nor the “Reviewers Are So Mean & Just Love To Rip Books Apart” wail are new. Instead

[t]here may be nothing new under and including the sun; but it looks fresh every morning, and we rise with it to toil, hope, scheme, laugh, struggle, love, suffer, until the night comes and quiet. And then will wake Morrow, and the eyes that look on it, and so da capo.


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