Monday, May 19, 2014

New Yorker Rejection: So Sad, Not That We Don't Like Sad, Just...Well, No

Here's one from the New Yorker archives of confusing rejections*:
Dear Mr. Irwin Shaw:

We have a feeling in general that a story so ambitious, so sad, of such generally dismal setting, hardly has a place in a more or less cheerful or humorous magazine. We think, however, that you write with considerable distinction and we want you to do more at once and send them all to us.

I did not mean to indicate above that we do not publish stories of tragedy, but that we are perhaps more demanding and critical in such cases than we are in our lighter moments. After all, I suppose that it is perfectly justifiable, and that the grimmer aspects of life require more delicate handling than the more comic.

John Mosher
The New Yorker, 1935

*Courtesy: The New Yorker and the World It Made by Ben Yagoda (Scribner, 2000)

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