ON PUBLISHING OR PERISHING I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top. -- English Professor, Ohio University
Posts: 954 | Registered: Feb 2006
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I remain most fond of the proverbial Chinese economic journal rejection letter. The letter has become so much part of publishing culture that its actual source genesis is unknown. It has become publishing culture lore. One feature that recommends it to folklore is that the source is unnamed in a friend of a friend stranger type genesis. A delightful piece of publishing lore for which I hope I will never see regarding works of my own.
"We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity."
This next one is new to me and deeply meaningful for writers in general.
"A work of art that one has to explain fails in so far, I suppose, of its mission." Henry James commenting on his novel The Awkward Age, 1898.
How often do writers explain the meaning of their works, meaning that ought be in the narrative itself and not as a corollary, secondary commentary? James' comment above is exquisite for its insight and tertiary (third) degree of explanation commentary.
Posts: 3398 | Registered: Jun 2008
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