January 13th, 2009


Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach was rejected 140 times before it was eventually published. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind was rejected 38 times. Watership Down by Richard Adams: 26 rejections

Fact: Virtually every debut novelist who appears on the best seller list had his or her book turned down numerous times before an editor finally accepted it.

Now lets just imagine that Richard Bach gives up after the 140th rejection. His surrender effectively validates the rejectors’ opinions. But the 141st submission that leads to an acceptance proves all the rejectors wrong.

Incredible that 139 editors were so mistaken about a book. But they were. Which illustrates the fact that the vast majority of people in the publishing industry really have no clue what’s good, what’s bad. Or more precisely, what will sell and what will not.

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James Joyce

From: Today in Literature

Joyce's Death and Wake

by Steve King

On this day in 1941 James Joyce died in Zurich at the age of fifty-eight, from peritonitis brought on by a perforated ulcer. Even without the dislocation of WWII, Joyce's last years were beset with difficulties -- the schizophrenia of his daughter, his son's floundering career and broken marriage, his own poor health, ongoing battles over Ulysses and new worries about Finnegans Wake. "Though not so blind as Homer, and not so exiled as Dante," writes biographer Richard Ellmann, "he had reached his life's nadir."

Most troubling to Joyce was Lucia. He had shuffled her from doctor to doctor and clinic to clinic looking for some sort of hope, or some support for his refusal to accept the bleak conclusions at which everyone but him eventually arrived. Latest on this list was Carl Jung, and his attempts to treat Lucia in the mid-1930s had ended with the double diagnosis that she and her father were like two people heading to the bottom of a river, one falling and the other diving. Joyce had a psychological style that was "definitely schizophrenic," however reclaimed or transformed his books were by literary genius: "In any other time of the past Joyce's work would never have reached the printer, but in our blessed XXth century it is a message, though not yet understood."

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