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Tony Grist

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Writers I Admire But Dislike [Nov. 28th, 2013|12:09 pm]
Tony Grist
So they've let C.S Lewis into the Abbey. Fair enough. I can see how he merits a place. I read a lot of his stuff back in the day and found him witty and entertaining and moreish. But he left a metallic taste in the mouth.  However much I admired him I couldn't like him. This was the case even when we shared a theology.

The list of writers I admire but dislike is long and various. It has nothing to do with lit crit and everything to do with personality. It doesn't have much to do with ideology either. I deplore Chesterton's Roman Catholic triumphalism but love the man.  Ezra Pound was a bona fide fascist but that doesn't top me being fond of him.  Aldous Huxley- on the other hand- even though we probably agree on almost everything- affects me much as Lewis does. I find him coarse.

Here are some other writers whose greatness I concede but wouldn't want to curl up with in the inglenook.

Ernest Hemingway; I admire his prose style no end, but what a brute!

Jane Austen:  I've read everything once and once is enough. I find her chilly

D.H Lawrence: What an insufferable person-  all that ranting and raving.

P.G. Wodehouse: A great original but I don't find him funny.

James Joyce:  I think "The Dead" may be the greatest short story ever penned, but I can't be doing with its author.  There's something cold and clammy about him.

Kingsley Amis: He leaves me feeling I need to go take a shower.

And so on. I could fill pages. Though I'd like to think the list of writers I love in spite of everything would be longer.
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Comments:
From: cmcmck
2013-11-28 12:28 pm (UTC)
Lewis was a great writer on early literature though. 'The Discarded Image' is still very hard to better and 'The Allegory of Love' remains a wonderful thing.

It's the same with composers though, isn't it? Britten the paedophile, Gesualdo the double murderer and Puccini the fascist fellow traveller............
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-11-28 01:52 pm (UTC)
With music it's much easier to put the personality of the artist to one side.
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From: cmcmck
2013-11-28 02:02 pm (UTC)
Not sure about that. I suspect that I find it the other way about- novelists impinge on my consciousness less than their writing, but composers, no. I loathe Wagner only partly because I don't much like his overblown music and even though Daniel Barenboim states quite rightly that the man is anti semitic but his music isn't.

Gesualdo's heartbreaking music at least shows a man attempting to atone for what he has done- it can literally tear me apart at times.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-11-28 04:50 pm (UTC)
Perhaps all we're doing here is exhibiting personal bias. Literature means a great deal more to me than music does.
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From: cmcmck
2013-11-28 04:54 pm (UTC)
Could be- I'm the other way about unless it's poetry or old and middle English writing.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2013-11-28 10:55 pm (UTC)
I'd never heard of Gesualdo before now and looked him up...sweet Jesus on a bicycle. That's one hell of a story. Thank you for that! Must check out his music.
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2013-11-28 06:54 pm (UTC)
CS Lewis is actually quite high on the list of writers I'd like to take afternoon tea with.

Writers who creep me out a bit although I admire them: Kingsley Amis, Evelyn Waugh.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-11-29 08:56 am (UTC)
I wouldn't have wanted to deal with Waugh IRL but I find his writerly persona quite agreeable.
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