Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Harshest Rejection of Them All

"We were not amused."
Gertrude Stein's rejection letter merits a special place among rejections, if only because the publisher put so much effort into it. 

This parody demonstrates the defining character flaw of publishers: they believe they are the final arbiters of literary taste. Notwithstanding the possibility that, in this case, Fifield may have been right, one hardly needs to point out that being a music critic does not make you Rachmaninov. Or even a Rach knock-off.

The letter reads:

Dear Madam,

I am only one, only one, only one. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain. Only one being. Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your M.S. three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.

Many thanks. I am returning the M.S. by registered post. Only one M.S. by one post.

Sincerely Yours,

A.C. Fifield

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