Novelists, poets and playwrights live double lives, sharing the real world with everyone else while spending a good deal of time in a universe of their own making. When they fall out with each other, they are able to kindle feuds and antagonisms as passionate and public as workers in any trade.
Richard Bradford’s highly entertaining audiobook looks at some of the closest and most complex relationships in literary history, examining their dramatic effects on literature itself. Who was the object of the infatuation which drove a wedge between Coleridge and Wordsworth? Where did Thackeray utter the single sentence that ended his tentative friendship with Dickens? Why did differing opinions lead to the cessation of letters between Amis and Larkin? How did Hemingway use and abuse Stein and her friends in Paris? What American literary ambition lay at the heart of the brutal competition between Capote and Vidal?
From Tolstoy’s deferred duelling and Dostoevsky’s defamatory fiction, to J. C. Squire’s qualms with Modernism and Salman Rushdie’s run-in with Islam, this is an enjoyable romp through the world of the fiercest writers’ rivalries and the most bizarre literary stand-offs.