Author’s rejection list

wilson-1-2This was sent by Edmund Wilson (or his secretary) to people who wrote to him. It is a measure of his fame at the time (1950s?) He is now remembered more for his association with other writers, especially Vladimir Nabokov and Scott Fitzgerald. G.B. Shaw used to send out something similar and also Evelyn Waugh. Apparently people would write to Wilson just to get a copy of the slip. The note on it reads: “I don’t [do] live readings either unless I’m offered a very large fee. EW”. These type of generic rejection/ fob-off lists have now graduated to email…any examples welcome.

Edmund Wilson regrets that it is impossible for him to:
Read manuscripts,
Write articles or books to order,
Write forwards or introductions,
Make statements for publicity purposes,
Do any kind of editorial work,
Judge literary contests, give interviews,
Take part in writers’ conferences,
Answer questionnaires,
Contribute to or take part in symposiums, or “panels” of any kind,
Contribute manuscripts for sales,
Donate copies of his books to libraries,
Autograph works for strangers,
Allow his name to be used on letterheads,
Supply personal information about himself,
Or supply opinions on literary or other subjects.

2 thoughts on “Author’s rejection list

  1. Angus

    Thanks for this – although I think Wilson probably wrote “unless” rather than “when”; whatever anyone says, he wasn’t a complete idiot. I have always felt he deserves praise for his essay “Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?” (1945) – the title alone never fails to cheer me up.

  2. Jot 101 Post author

    Thanks for this too Angus, have made the correction. I had forgotten that he went in for a bit of Agatha bashing. Great title as you say. N


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