What Internet Commenters Would Say About Famous Writers


Sometimes I think what a shame it is that comment sections didn’t exist back when classic authors were writing their masterpieces. What a wealth of hilarious and insightful critiques we’re missing out on. As an editor, I sometimes like to play the little game of “Would this work have been published today if it was submitted blind?” or as an avid Internet-y person, “What would the comments look like on a piece like this nowadays?” Here’s how the Internet would react to these famous authors.

Jack Kerouac

What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.

On the Road

Internet: “At least you have a car you white, upper-middle class, male, privileged whiner!”


Virginia Woolf

Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.

A Room of One’s Own

Internet: “This is just typical feminazi BS. ‘Feminism’ needs to die.”


William Shakespeare

Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Macbeth (Act V, Scene V).

Internet: “wut?”


David Foster Wallace

Am I a good person? Deep down, do I even really want to be a good person, or do I only want to seem like a good person so that people (including myself) will approve of me? Is there a difference? How do I ever actually know whether I’m bullshitting myself, morally speaking?

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

Internet: “Just another navel-gazing oversharing douchebag. Please kill yourself.”


Haruki Murakami

Holding this soft, small living creature in my lap this way, though, and seeing how it slept with complete trust in me, I felt a warm rush in my chest. I put my hand on the cat’s chest and felt his heart beating. The pulse was faint and fast, but his heart, like mine, was ticking off the time allotted to his small body with all the restless earnestness of my own.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Internet: “It seems like you like cats a lot, bro.”


Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

Pride and Prejudice

Internet: “#whitegirlproblems”


J.D. Salinger

I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.

The Catcher in the Rye

Internet: “You seem like a self-obsessed idiot and a bad person. Also, why aren’t there any black people in this?”


Ernest Hemingway

So, Robert Wilson thought to himself, she is giving him a ride, isn’t she? Or do you suppose that’s her idea of putting up a good show? How should a woman act when she discovers her husband is a bloody coward? She’s damn cruel but they’re all cruel. They govern, of course, and to govern one has to be cruel sometimes. Still, I’ve seen enough of their damn terrorism.

The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber

Internet: “This is blatant misogyny! I can’t believe a clearly sexist toolbag like you was ever published.”


Hunter S. Thompson

We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Internet: “This is advocating drug use. Are we supposed to think you’re cool because you brag and boast about all the drugs you do? Get a life.”


Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child.


Internet: “Dude, that’s messed up. What happened to keeping some thoughts to yourself? This generation just wants to share every thought they have. You’re definitely going to regret writing this.”


Jonathan Safran Foer

…it wasn’t the bombs and burning buildings, it was me, my thinking, the cancer of never letting go, is ignorance bliss, I don’t know, but it’s so painful to think, and tell me, what did thinking ever do for me, to what great place did thinking ever bring me? I think and think and think, I’ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Internet: “9-11 was an inside job.”


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Then my friend’s wiry arms were round me, and he was leading me to a chair. “You’re not hurt, Watson? For God’s sake, say that you are not hurt!” It was worth a wound – it was worth many wounds – to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.

— Sherlock Holmes, The Three Garridebs

Internet: “Gay.”

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