Home culture Gertrude Stein Gets a Snarky Rejection Letter from a Publisher (1912)

Gertrude Stein Gets a Snarky Rejection Letter from a Publisher (1912)

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Gertrude Stein Gets a Snarky Rejection Letter from a Publisher (1912)

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Gertrude Stein con­sid­ered her­self an exper­i­men­tal writer and wrote what The Poet­ry Foun­da­tion calls “dense poems and fic­tions, often devoid of plot or dia­logue,” with the result being that “com­mer­cial pub­lish­ers slight­ed her exper­i­men­tal writ­ings and crit­ics dis­missed them as incom­pre­hen­si­ble.” Take, for exam­ple, what hap­pened when Stein sent a man­u­script to Alfred C. Fifield, a Lon­don-based pub­lish­er, and received a rejec­tion let­ter mock­ing her prose in return. Accord­ing to Let­ters of Note, the man­u­script in ques­tion was pub­lished many years lat­er as her mod­ernist nov­el, The Mak­ing of Amer­i­cans: Being a His­to­ry of a Fam­i­ly’s Progress (1925). You can hear Stein read­ing a selec­tion from the nov­el below.


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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Gertrude Stein Sends a “Review” of The Great Gats­by to F. Scott Fitzger­ald (1925)

No Women Need Apply: A Dis­heart­en­ing 1938 Rejec­tion Let­ter from Dis­ney Ani­ma­tion

Alice B. Tok­las Reads Her Famous Recipe for Hashish Fudge (1963)



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