Literary Rejection Letter


American writer Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946) received the following quaint rejection letter from editor A. J. Fifield:

I am only one, only one, only. 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 MS 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.

She remarked that the writing style of the letter astounded and bothered her a the same time. No one could blame her, I suppose.


Ann La Farge, Gertrude Stein, 1988

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

20 thoughts on “Literary Rejection Letter

  1. I can only hope the editor was having the second worst day of his life when he wrote that.

    Years ago I received a rejection letter from an editor for a magazine that doesn’t exist anymore and it was the nicest thing I’d ever gotten. He critiqued and proofed my story for me, gave pointers, and then encouraged me by saying, “make the fixes and keep trying. It’s a really good story.”

    I need to see if I can hunt it down and frame it.

    Liked by 4 people

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