How even the best writers are affected by bad reviews


I have mentioned that I very much liked the writer Kenneth Gergen and especially his book,” The saturated society””

I think it’s  beautifully written and explains the bad side of post modernism but also how differently it could be used.He got a very good review on the Washington Post but later got a terrible one in the NYT.In an interview he told how this affected him badly until the man who wrote the review died ten years later,I’ll put a link in here later.

!He used to wake up at night with thoughts of what he’s like to do to this person.This shows how even someone of high quality can be wounded easily/

Most people who read English novels have heard of Virginia Woolf. She was highly acclaimed yet had breakdowns whilst awaiting reviews .Eventually she committed suicide during WW2.Her husband was Jewish and she was afraid of what would happen if the Germans invaded Britain.

But her mental health was fragile after losing her mother and favourite older sister in her teens and also possibly being sexually assaulted by her half brother.Despite al this she had  much happiness and is one  of the most highly acclaimed women writers of the 20th century…not much good  to her of course

Sylvia Plath a great poet  a generation after Woolf also committed suicide and later became known as one of the best poets of our time!scilW

Would you like to be a tormented genius and enter the literary canon or just be an ordinary,moderately happy person? Most of us are not so gifted in any case.

Some of us believe that others with more gifts,more money,more winning personalities are much happier,but it’s not true.Many geniuses are troubled.

On the other hand being troubled by itself will not make you a genius,alas.Everybody is troubled at times.Sometimes a poet may use it


Filed under authors, beautiful thoughts, books, interviews

6 responses to “How even the best writers are affected by bad reviews

  1. I totally agree with your view on this. All writers are affected (and receive) bad reviews. Even Hemingway has gotten some bad ones! I have a literary blog, so I find this inspiring as a writer. Keep writing, and best of luck!

  2. Thank you so much for this comment. I was really pleased that Kenneth Gergen openly admitted he felt terrible for ten years after that review. I suppose it partly depends on the stage of life we are at but putting oneself on the line in writing needs courage. Somehow we imagine good writers to know their own worth.I think Academia is a very nasty world…
    Virginia Woolff is a heroine for having written so much despite her mental health problems and fragility.
    It helps to know how others feel but not all have the courage to reveal their pains and hurts

  3. Keep writing. In the end the fact someone has read your work, even if they don’t like it, is proof it is worthy of time in the first place. If it were not they wouldn’t bother commenting at all. Take heart.

  4. Pingback: Book review:The society of timid souls by Polly Morland | How my heart speaks

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