article by alan levinovitz (in the millions) looks at the history of the blurb from roman times to now.
the template was set by erasmus of rotterdam’s puff for his friend and fellow humanist thomas more:
“All the learned unanimously subscribe to my opinion, and esteem even more highly than I the divine wit of this man…”
george orwell excoriated blurbs, describing them as:
“disgusting tripe,” quoting a particularly odious example from the Sunday Times:
“If you can read this book and not shriek with delight, your soul is dead.”
the ubiquity of blurbs by generous writers like (say) salman rushdie makes some readers wonder about their sincerity.
even so, a blurb from a famous writer for a new one must increase sales, otherwise no one would bother.