Bad Press: The Worst Critical Reviews Ever! by Laura Ward, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Bad Press: The Worst Critical Reviews Ever!

Bad Press: The Worst Critical Reviews Ever!

by Laura Ward
     
 

Here's a ferociously funny glimpse into the history of literary, theater, art, and general entertainment criticism. Excerpts of reviews are taken from magazines, newspapers, and, in at least one case, from the lips of a powerful European emperor. A complimentary review of most books, music recordings, or plays will often inspire audiences to accept them, but the

Overview


Here's a ferociously funny glimpse into the history of literary, theater, art, and general entertainment criticism. Excerpts of reviews are taken from magazines, newspapers, and, in at least one case, from the lips of a powerful European emperor. A complimentary review of most books, music recordings, or plays will often inspire audiences to accept them, but the review is usually forgotten while the work of art goes on to become famous. Readers won't find such reviews in this book, because the emphasis here is on fun. For sheer glee there is nothing like seeing a really venomous critic sharpen his or her claws on somebody's masterpiece. Sometimes the critics are right, but just as often they take journalistic pratfalls. Like many other Hapsburg Emperors who ruled the vast AustroHungarian Empire from its Vienna capital, Joseph II was a generous patron of the arts. But when he dismissed a Mozart symphony as "having too many notes," the rest of the music world could only smile. Henry James and Mark Twain were contemporary novelists, but neither writer understood or appreciated the other's genius. Twain once said of James: "Once you put down one of his books, you simply can't pick it up again." More scathing was the famous New Yorker magazine critic Dorothy Parker, who said of one now-forgotten book: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." Readers will chuckle as they read damning reviews of books, music, plays, television shows, movies, and even restaurants. It's pure entertainment, with just a drop or two of poison.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Quotes from the most devastating critical reviews ever probes historical magazines to provide the nastiest—and funniest—reviews ever are expertly compiled by Laura Ward. â?¦ Bad Press is enthusiastically recommended and highly entertaining."

Library Bookwatch, February 2004

"One of the great natural unfairnesses of life is that unkind reviews of books, plays, music—whatever—and especially vicious ones live on in memory and anthologies while favorable ones die young. Here, Ms. Wood, an irrepressible enthusiast for aesthetic savagery, has compiled a magnificent compendium of dismissals. Among my favorites: 'The triumph of sugar over diabetes'—George Jean Nathan on the writing of J.M. Barrie. 'I love Wagner; but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws' —Charles Baudelaire. And 'Farley Granger played Mr. Darcy with all the flexibility of a telegraph pole.' —Brooks Atkinson on a musical version of Pride and Prejudice. But these are just snippets. Some of the most entertaining and even intellectually provocative material comes in pieces far to long to quote here. A delightful romp of critical wickedness."
—Michael Pakenham, The Baltimore Sun, September 15, 2002

"Great, irresistible fun. Ward is hardly the first to compile a 'lexicon of invective' but she's done it better than anyone in quite a while..."
Buffalo News, November 2002

Kirkus Reviews
A prince, a gypsy, a scandal, billions of dollars . . . and, oh, yeah, triplet sisters separated at birth. Cheesy melodrama from the author of several just as shameless (For All the Wrong Reasons, 2002, etc.), featuring cardboard characters experiencing actual human emotions such as envy, lust, greed, and more! Able to leap entire continents in a single bound! Bold as a brass ashtray and just as tacky! To begin: after WWII, the blue-blooded Parigis of Italy don’t even have the lire to fix up their crumbling palazzo, let alone lord it over the local paisans. But second son Cosimo, an industrious type, doesn’t look down on work and makes bigga buckses in various enterprises, infuriating his jealous older brother and his lazy nephew Roberto. Years go by. Resentments seethe. Once grown, Roberto plans to murder his cousin Luigi, rape and kill his gypsy wife, burn down his mansion, and get all the money. But the gypsy, a spitfire with she-wolf eyes, curses Roberto: he’s doomed unless he promises to save her newborn daughters. It’s enough to make a deranged arsonist-killer-rapist lose his, ah, manhood, but when his rivals are safely dispatched, he does hand the babies over to an international baby-selling ring. Rose is adopted by a hard-working couple who own a deli in Hell’s Kitchen, Poppy by a rich Jewish lawyer and his wife in Los Angeles, while Daisy somehow winds up in England. Years go by. Rose gets an education and a real estate license—and learns a lot from sexy but down-to-earth Jacob Rothstein, scion of a New York real estate dynasty. Poppy likes to party, but being a punk rock groupie soon palls, and she moves into the management side of the music biz, eventually bedding her veryown congressman. Daisy, plump and bookish, becomes a bestselling writer. Soon, the three find they’re related, born as the contessas C., rightful heirs to an immense fortune. Is Roberto still alive? It’s payback time, fella. Formulaic glitz, generally lifeless.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780764155390
Publisher:
Barron's Educational Series, Incorporated
Publication date:
10/15/2002
Edition description:
1ST US
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.84(w) x 6.74(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author


Laura Ward has worked for many years as an editor for various book publishers in England. She lives and works in London, and still nurtures a shamefaced, but unflagging enthusiasm for the bad press over the good.

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