Edmund Wilson vs Vladimir Nabokov
Nabokov and Wilson (or Volodya and Bunny, as they called each other in letters during their years-long friendship) fell out over Wilson’s negative review of Nabokov’s translation of Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. Their relationship, already bruised from Wilson’s chilly response to Lolita (“I like it less than anything else of yours I have read,” Wilson had written to Nabokov. “Nasty subjects may make fine books; but I don’t feel you have got away with this… The various goings-on and the climax at the end…become too absurd or horrible to be tragic, yet remain too unpleasant to be funny.”), hit a wall, as Nabokov struck back, writing that Wilson was a “commonsensical, artless, average reader with a natural vocabulary of, say six hundred basic words.” They didn’t speak again for years.
Richard Ford vs Colson Whitehead
A full two years after Whitehead panned Ford’s A Multitude of Sins in the New York Times, Ford spat on him at a Poets & Writers party. Oh yes. Apparently, Ford approached Whitehead and exclaimed, “I’ve waited two years for this! You spat on my book.” The he proceeded to spit on Whitehead, and, rather ironically, call him a kid who needed to grow up. Later, Whitehead quipped, “This wasn’t the first time some old coot had drooled on me, and it probably won’t be the last. But I would like to warn the many other people who panned the book that they might want to get a rain poncho, in case of inclement Ford.”