In March of 1933, a twenty-three-year-old Eudora Welty wrote a winning letter to the New Yorker asking for a job: “How I would like to work for you! A little paragraph each morning—a little paragraph each night, if you can’t hire me from daylight to dark, although I would work like a slave. I can also draw like Mr. Thurber, in case he goes off the deep end. I have studied flower painting.” Also: “I recently coined a general word for Matisse’s pictures after seeing his latest at the Marie Harriman: concubineapple. That shows you how my mind works—quick, and away from the point. I read simply voraciously, and can drum up an opinion afterwards.” They didn’t hire her.
Mary McCarthy and Elizabeth Bishop both disliked J.D. Salinger’s novels. “I don’t like Salinger, not at all,” McCarthy sniffed. “That last thing isn’t a novel anyway, whatever it is. I don’t like it. Not at all. It suffers from this terrible sort of metropolitan sentimentality and it’s so narcissistic. And to me, also, it seemed so false, so calculated. Combining the plain man with an absolutely megalomaniac egotism. I simply can’t stand it.” Norman Mailer disliked Salinger too, but also McCarthy . . . and Kerouac, and Gore Vidal; while Vidal had it in for Hemingway, who had it in for Faulkner, who had it in for Twain. The Huffington Post maps the aesthetic grudges of twenty-five writers.
Philip Roth, as we know, is finished with the whole shebang: writing books, giving readings, doing interviews—except, well, that “extended interview” that the Colbert Report has scheduled for July.
Vellum turns your Twitter feed into a reading list, ranking the articles according to those most shared (and, we hope, read?) by the people you follow.