Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ivy Compton-Burnett on Henry James: "A curious talent. One has to respect him. But how one would like to give him a push."

To the novelist Rosamund Lehman: "I've read your book, oh yes, I've read your book, and I've decided that one of us cannot be a woman."

When asked later about the same Lehman novel: "'If it had been half as long--which would have done no harm--and if she had taken out half the characters--which would have been an improvement--' Pause. 'Well, there wouldn't have been much left, would there?'"

On a novel by Olivia Manning: "It is really full of very good descriptions. Quite excellent descriptions. I don't know if you care for descriptions? I don't."

[from Hilary Spurling, Ivy (New York: Knopf, 1984), 467-70, passim.]


Mr. Hill said...

Those are hilarious.

Dawn Potter said...

She also didn't think much of Virginia Woolf or Iris Murdoch ("I don't think you need trouble [to read her novels]") and was sarcastic about Elizabeth Bowen ("People are always writing to tell her about the death of their hearts"). You might be relieved to know that apparently she did like Henry Green.