He’s just bad! I didn’t read him in school, but afterward. I had a book by him about Shakespeare that was very interesting (but now that I look back on it — right in there with his self-centered, pompous ass nature). My first intro to how bad he was consisted of his criticism of J.K. Rowling as a “bad writer” and he gave a specific example. His reason for saying she was a bad writer because she repeated a specific phrase, “he stretched his legs” instead of writing “took a walk.” I got a text copy of the first Harry Potter book and searched it for that term. It turned out that the phrase was only used once, in the first 3 pages. So he hadn’t even read the book; he just said that.
This is a link to his famous Alice Walker trashing Paris Review interview. It’s from the 90s. He brags about being a named chair at both Harvard & Yale. I’m pretty sure he never even read “The Color Purple.”
I forgot: I defined him — he’s a tool.
The Color Purple is an amazing book because it tells Celie’s story in her own words and to my knowledge, it’s the first big, bestselling book to tell a story about someone like Celie and her genuine courage. That book was published in 1982, around the end of the time publishers were “taking chances” and a book like it could become a bestseller.
The list now? Would be very embarrassing in the 70s or the 80s. Now, it’s all James Patterson, Bill O’Reilly, Danielle Steele.