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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bad Reviews

Not all classics earned raves when they first appeared. Flavorwire has gathered brutal comments from the first reviews of some of our most acclaimed literature ("15 Early Scathing Reviews of Classic Novels, Oct. 8, 2012).  Here are excerpts from just a few:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.  “. . .It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors.”
Graham’s Lady’s Magazine, 1848

Moby Dick by Herman Melville. “Mr. Melville is evidently trying to ascertain how far the public will consent to be imposed upon. . .” — New York United States Magazine and Democratic Review, 1852

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. “Monsieur Flaubert is not a writer.” — Le Figaro, 1857

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. “Mr. Scott Fitzgerald deserves a good shaking. . .”  The Saturday Review, 1925

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. “Catch-22 has much passion, comic and fervent, but it gasps for want of craft and sensibility. . .” New York Times Book Review, 1961

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. “The plan and technique of the illustrations are superb. … But they may well prove frightening, accompanied as they are by a pointless and confusing story.”
Publisher’s Weekly, 1963

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