“Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors,” Ernest Hemingway once wrote, with typical pugnacity. But are the critics sometimes right? In this occasional series we'll examine the early careers of now-beloved authors to see what the critics first made of them.
Carrie, the high-school revenge fantasy that launched a thousand tampons, started out in Stephen King’s mind as a short story. He intended to place it, according to his memoir On Writing, with the magazine Cavalier. (Cavalier was a Playboy/GQ precursor that is still published today in a slightly less exalted form.) He’d been writing a lot [...]