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Twentieth Century Writers

               Twentieth Century Writers Film Clips

Virginia Woolf Reviews E.M. Forster (Atlantic Monthly, 1927)

Virginia Woolf (1882 1941) had her say regarding the novels of E.M. Forster (1879 1970):

"There are a many reasons which should prevent one from criticizing the work of contemporaries... With a novelist like E.M. Forster this is specially true, for he is in any case an author about whom there is considerable disagreement. There is something baffling and evasive in the very nature of his gifts."


George Bernard Shaw and Literary Recycling (Vanity Fair, 1921)

Irish author, critic and dramatist, St. John Greer Ervine (1883 - 1971), believed that some of the dramatic characters populating the plays of George Bernard Shaw (1856 1950) were reoccurring characters who could be counted upon to appear again and again. He had a fine time illustrating this point and thinks nothing of stooping to compare Shaw with Shakespeare:

"Shakespeare primarily was interested in people. Mr. Shaw primarily is interested in doctrine..."

Thirty-five years later St. John Ervine would be awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his biography of George Bernard Shaw.

Click here to read various witty remarks by George Bernard Shaw.

*Watch a 1943 Film Clip Depicting the Action-Packed Life-Style of a Librarian*


''The Attack of the Super Novelists'' (Vanity Fair, 1919)

In this article, P.G. Wodehouse (1904 - 1975) sounded-off on a new type of novelist that had surfaced in 1919 - and has yet to decamp. He breaks the novelizing classes into two groups:

"...the ordinary novelist, the straightforward, horny-handed dealer in narrative, who is perfectly contented to turn out two books a year, on the understanding - a gentleman's agreement between himself and his public - that he reserves movie rights and is allowed an occasional photograph in the papers.."


A Review of ''Beautiful and the Damned'' (The Independent, 1922)

One of the first reviews of F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel, The Beautiful and Damned (1922). The reviewer was impressed:

"'The Beautiful and the Damned' is a real story, but a story greatly damaged by wit."


Hemingway's 'Death in the Afternoon' (Saturday Review of Literature, 1932)

In 1932, one of the few English speaking fans of bull-fighting was given the task of reviewing Ernest Hemingway's (1899 1961) Death in the Afternoon, and came away thinking:

"Ernest Hemingway, in the handling of words as an interpretation of life, is not a brilliant and ephemeral novillero, but a matador possessed of solid and even classic virtues."


E.E. Cummings on T.S. Eliot (The Dial Magazine, 1920)

A review of T.S. Eliot's (1888 1965) second collection, Poems (1919), as reviewed by E.E. Cummings (1894 1962) in the well respected magazine of the arts, THE DIAL. It was in this volume that Eliot's well remembered series of quatrains first appeared: "Sweeney Among the Nightingales", "Sweeney Erect" "The Hippopotamus" and "Mr. Eliot's Sunday Morning Service".

Cummings at that time was living in Paris and writing his first book, The Enormous Room, which would be published in 1922. The review of that work can be read here.


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