William Faulkner (1897–1962) and Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961), both winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature, carried on a refined and complex literary rivalry.
At times, they shared professional respect; at other times, each thought himself the superior craftsman and spoke disparagingly of the other. Faulkner thought Hemingway’s stripped-back prose was too simple and unadventurous.
William Faulkner once said: “You (Ernest Hemingway) had no courage, never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”
Hemingway replied: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.
“Did you read his last book?” he continued. “It’s all sauce-writing now, but he was good once. Before the sauce, or when he knew to handle it.”