The History of Literature #258 Hatchet Jobs! The Top 10 Most Savage Reviews of All Time

The vast majority of book reviews are informative and genteel. What books get that treatment, and why? And what happens when reviewers sharpen their tools and go nasty? Jacke and Mike take a look at the some of the most savage book reviews of all time.

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History of Literature #64 – Dorothy Parker


“She was a combination of Little Nell and Lady Macbeth,” said Alexander Woolcott. Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) wrote short stories, poems, reviews, screenplays, and more. Perhaps most famously, she was part of the group of New Yorkers known as the Algonquin Round Table, which met every day for lunch and eventually grew famous for their witticisms, put-downs, and general high spirits. A woman of brilliance as well as deep contradiction, Parker at her best combined romantic optimism with a dark, biting pessimism that still feels modern.

In this episode, Jacke is joined by the President of the Literature Supporters Club for a field report of the Algonquin Hotel today and a discussion of Parker’s life, works, and top ten quips.


Show Notes:  Continue reading

The History of Literature Episode 39 – Reconsidering Graham Greene


Jacke and Mike reconsider the life and works of the great twentieth-century British novelist Graham Greene.  Works discussed include The End of the Affair, The Power and the Glory,The Quiet American, Babbling April, and The Third Man.


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Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).