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Literary Grudge Matches

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I just read this article about the rivalry between A.S. Byatt and Margaret Drabble that I thought BGOers would find interesting.  I've heard of both, but never read either, and I certainly didn't know they were sisters.  I think many of you have read one or both of them and it's possible that this is all old news.  On the other hand, it opens up the interesting topic of literary rivalries.

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/rivalries/2013/08/literary_grudge_match_a_s_byatt_margaret_drabble_their_mother_and_their.single.html

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Interesting article. I've read some of AS Byatt's novels, and I have "The Drabble" on my shelf - I didn't know they were sisters though. Previous references to the feud must have passed me by. *oblivious*

 

Anyway, if Byatt and Drabble's work is "Big Brother", then aren't articles about them just the literary equivalent of "Big Brother's Bit on the Side"? ;)

 

The thing about the article that most shocked me were the sales figures for Possession. I guess I knew literary fiction isn't exactly mass-market, but with sales of about 93,000 in the UK and 100,000 in the US, I think "extreme niche" would be nearer the mark. To give a meaningless comparison (but I have the website open for other research), 322000 people went to watch Premier League football in the UK on the weekend just gone. 

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There are not just literary grudge matches out there, but actual Literary Death Matches.

 

I had heard the grudge between Byatt and Drabble. Another spat that springs to mind which I know has been documented in book form is between Paul Theroux and V S Naipaul. The former's Sir Vidia's Shadow is a memoir of their friendship and subsequent falling out. I saw Theroux speak at this year's Hay Festival at which he said the two have now made up.  

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Yes I was aware of the Drabble sisters' feud.

 

Another I'm aware of is the Martin Amis/Julian Barnes one. Barnes ended his last letter to Amis with a resounding '---- off'.

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    • By chuntzy
      I ordered this recent book from the library because I'd enjoyed some of Margaret Drabble's novels in the past but mainly because of the subtitle 'A Personal History with Jigsaws'.
       
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