September 9, 2007

"Very dull... a dreary record of typical family bickering, petty annoyances and adolescent emotions."

"Even if the work had come to light five years ago, when the subject was timely, I don’t see that there would have been a chance for it."


rhhardin said...

I read it and can report it was in fact dull.

ricpic said...

The fact that some of Knopf's rejects have become classics doesn't mean that they were particularly well written.
Try reading any of Kerouac today; or Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room:" barely bearable.

Theo Boehm said...

I didn't know Cedarford worked as a reviewer for Knopf all those years ago.

Yes, those Jews and their troubles are sooo dull.

Maxine Weiss said...

I just dedicated a post on my blog to Althouse.

I'm concerned about the forth-coming "Althouse Meet-up" and Althouse refusal to invite everyone on over to her living space.

What's she hiding?

Tim said...

Amazing. It would be interesting to see such notes from a contemporary newsroom from the editorial staff regarding which stories, with approved perspectives, were printed and which ones were not.

Unlike "Diary of Anne Frank," I think some (many?) of us would not be surprised at what made the cut, and what didn't.

rcocean said...

This stuff still goes on. Ann Coulter had a bestseller in 1998, "The Case Against Bill Clinton". She then wrote "Treason" and every publisher rejected it.

One publisher rejected it because the book "Didn't move the national debate forward".

She only got it published in 2002 -after years of trying -because an eccentric editor pushed the book. It was a best seller of course, all of them are.

Maxine Weiss said...

Everyone attending the meet-up:

Demand Althouse invite you to her place. You have a right to see where she lives and be invited in!

Insist she throw open the doors. Don't accept anything less!

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I believe the record holder for rejections by a classic book is Zen and the Art of Motorocycle Maintenance with 120+, according to a bio of Robert Pirsig at the American Society of Authors and Writers (

Maxine Weiss said...

Richard: Wouldn't you be insulted if somebody invites you to her city?, and then you traverse land and sea.... only to find out that you aren't good enough to be invited in to her private living quarters.

How insulting! ---To be kept at arm's length by forcing readers/commenters to gather at some "restaurant"....knowing full well what everyone really wants is to get a look at the Althouse private living space.

I wouldn't stand for it.

Palladian said...

Althouse, is it time to get a restraining order?

stepskipper said...

Yeah, talk about "petty annoyances and adolescent emotions".

Zeb Quinn said...

It can't help but make you wonder about those masterpieces out there that were never permitted to see the light of day, remaining forever rejected.

Kirk said...

Maxine, how to put this tactfully: you're back to supremely boring. Especially in the context of a piece about publisher's rejection notices, perhaps you need to be reminded that a writer can hardly commit a greater sin?

Maxine Weiss said...

This absolutely relates.

The Publisher's rejections; and Althouse's refusal to allow readers/commenters into her home.

Banished to a restaurant by Althouse...and banished to the slush pile of classic books.

Not off-topic at all.

Kurt said...

I hope that Maxine gets that bee out of her bonnet before too long... I don't know what she's talking about, nor do I care.

As far as the article linked above, I think ricpic said it well enough. About 15 years ago there was a book that compiled famous rejections of various books from various publishers. The implied thesis of the book was that all those publishers were too dimwitted to recognize true genius when they saw it. Perhaps. But it may also be that the editor of a compilation of that sort is too dimwitted to recognize the weaknesses in some books that others have called classics or works of genius.

Peter Palladas said...

“His frenetic and scrambling prose perfectly express the feverish travels of the Beat Generation. But is that enough? I don’t think so.”

Well quite. As Truman Capote said of Kerouac "That's not writing, it's typing."

Neal Cassady's 'The First Third'. Read that, forget Kerouac.

Revenant said...

Kerouac's writing was basically crap, yeah -- but it sold well. The editors made a mistake, from a business perspective at least, when they rejected it.

Pogo said...

Revenant's right.
Publishers want to sell books. They aren't grading essays.

There are two questions for each submission, and they are not necessarily related issues:
1) Will people buy this?
2) Is this a good book?
Question 2) might get the nod for 1000 copies, and its merits known but to a highly literate few. Bragging rights. Status.

But Question 1) pays the light bill.

bill said...

Am I the only one who thinks Maxine is actually Althouse playing with the narrative?

lee david said...

Maxine, you are quite tiresome and have been for some time. Lay off, MacDuff.

Peter Palladas said...

Am I the only one who thinks Maxine is actually Althouse playing with the narrative?

...that would greatly concern me, as I was told that I am but a projection of Maxine's yearning to be an heiress in a Henry James novel.

So that's three characters in search of an author. Four more required for full set.