Famous Authors' Harshest Rejection Letters

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Cheer up, aspiring writers: Even the greatest authors in history had their share of failure

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It's hard to imagine that the definitive icons of literature could have been subject to the same iciness of the high-gated publishing-house "no" machines that we know all too well. Of course, even down-to-earth publishers can miss a great work sitting on their desks; with thousands of titles of varying merit clogging editors' mailboxes, it's impossible to skim every page of every slush-pile manuscript, let alone give it its proper consideration. Furthermore, some of our most adored geniuses churned out well-spotted crap before maturing into the artists we remember.

Prescience is no hard science, but hindsight can be a kick in the shins nonetheless, especially for the editors who sent these rejection letters to writers who would later become the bestselling, influential giants of their day—and ours.

This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

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