Monday, November 19, 2012

Famous Literary Truces: Epic Feuds That Fizzled

by . Posted on Flavorpill - Saturday Nov 17, 2012

This week, the literary world was abuzz with the news of the reconciliation of Salman Rushdie and John le Carré after fifteen years of enmity, though we have to admit, we’re a little disappointed. You just don’t get that many good literary feuds these days, what with all the excessive apologizing and proper behavior (or maybe it’s just that there’s not enough drinking), and Rushdie is one of the last living writers ready for a dust-up, even if it’s just with Facebook. Still, we know our mothers would tell us that it’s better to be friends than enemies, so after the jump, we present a short list of famous literary feuds that went sweet and ended in truces. Click through to get the warm and fuzzies, and let us know who we missed in the comments.

Salman Rushdie vs. John le Carré
This feud, which The Guardian has called ”one of the most gloriously vituperative literary feuds of recent times,” goes back a whopping fifteen years, when Rushdie wrote a letter to the British newspaper suggesting that le Carré had no right to complain about being accused of anti-semitism, since he had “rather pompously, joined forces” with Rushdie’s “assailants” in the early struggle over The Satantic Verses. Barbs were exchanged as the writers seethed at each other, but now, it seems they’ve come to a peace agreement.
Last month, Rushdie sang le Carré’s praises at the Cheltenham literature festival, and expressed his regret over the argument. ”I wish we hadn’t done it,” he said. ”I think of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as one of the great novels of postwar Britain.” Le Carré responded in The Times, saying “I too regret the dispute,” and “if I met Salman tomorrow? I would warmly shake the hand of a brilliant fellow writer.” He also pretty much pats himself on the back for taking his original position, though. Oh well, water under the bridge.

V.S. Naipaul vs. Paul Theroux
Here’s another fifteen-year feud recently put to rest (perhaps they have an expiration date we don’t know about?). The longtime friendship between the two writers hit a bump when Theroux found out that Naipaul had put a lovingly inscribed copy of one of Theroux’s books up for sale online, and his friend told him to “take it on the chin.” (Naipaul, you might remember, is not the nicest man around) Theroux responded in grand form, writing an entire memoir, Sir Vidia’s Shadow, bitterly taking down his former friend. Last year, however, the feud came to a rather polite end, as the pair shook hands nicely at a book festival the Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye. The Hay Festival Handshake was a truce heard ’round the world. Naipaul even looks a little touched.
Photo credit: Daniel Mordzinski, via The Telegraph

More at Flavorpill

No comments: