Norman Maclean and Rejection

I have to share this wonderful letter from Norman Maclean to Charles Elliot, of publishers Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.  Elliot wrote Maclean, after the massive success of A River Runs through It and Other Stories (University of Chicago Press, 1976), trying to solicit Maclean’s next manuscript.  Maclean’s scathing but humorous response to Elliot is influenced by the fact that  Alfred E. Knopf rejected the earlier book.

Maclean’s response: Letters of Note: The end of the world of books.

The letter was posted by Shaun Usher at his website, Letters of Note:  Correspondence deserving of a Wider Audience.  Thanks to Erin Block, of Mysteries Internal for pointing it out.

5 Responses to “Norman Maclean and Rejection”

  1. Tippets: Letters of Note: Norman Maclean, Allen’s Deal of the Week, Bristol Bay Op-Ed, Unlikely Tying Materials | MidCurrent Says:

    […] requested his second book after they had earlier refused A River Runs Through It.  [Thanks to The Literary Fly Fisher for the […]


  2. John Pitarresi Says:

    Kind of pompous on Maclean’s part, if genuine, don’t you think?


    • Kenov Says:

      Maybe. I think of it as more self-indulgent than pompous. I know I’ve written a few nasty letters to editors and reviewers in my mind (not that I’m comparing myself to Maclean). I doubt I’d feel any better, though, if I had ever actually sent one.


      • John Pitarresi Says:

        Got you. I think self-indulgent is the right term. I understand his feelings, but …


      • Kenov Says:

        Not that I haven’t met a few pompous writers as of late. And, yeah, not the classiest letter on Maclean’s part.


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