Young writers are often told to get used to rejection. And young writers, like nerds in high school, sometimes patiently wait until they get to show everyone who rejected them what those naysayers were missing out on. That day has come for Ernest Hemingway who, posthumously, won't be publishing his new story in Vanity Fair — around 90 years after they first rejected it.
"Harper’s Magazine has been picked to publish the literary lion’s 'My Life in the Bull Ring With Donald Ogden' in its October issue, despite a reported recent request to publish it by Graydon Carter’s Vanity Fair," Page Six reports.
Harper's makes mention of the Vanity Fair rejection in their October issue:
[The story was] submitted in 1924 to Frank Crowninshield, editor of Vanity Fair, for the magazine’s Literary Hors d’Oeuvres section. Crowninshield rejected the story, “with our regret that we cannot use it, clever and amusing as it undoubtedly is.”
Hem's son Patrick clearly still smarts from the rejection, saying earlier this year, “I’m not a great fan of Vanity Fair. It’s a sort of luxury thinker’s magazine, for people who get their satisfaction out of driving a Jaguar instead of a Mini.”
The strike-out for Vanity Fair is disappointing since the magazine has had a bit of an author-crush on the man known as Papa. In 2011, the magazine ran a feature, "The Hunt for Hemingway" about the author's Cuban estate and the treasures and possible literary finds it held; in 1999, Vanity Fair published a similar feature on a trove of telegrams and letters between Hemingway and Jane Kendall Mason.
Hemingway's posthumous career has been rich and controversial. Islands in the Stream, The Garden of Eden, True at First Light were all published after Hemingway died, and divided critics and scholars who had differing opinions on whether these books were fit enough for Hemingway's legacy. And next month,"My Life in the Bull Ring With Donald Ogden" will see publication along with The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 2, 1923-1925.
So, is Vanity Fair's loss Harper's Magazine's gain? What, exactly, did Harper's get? "My Life..." was written in 1924, around the same time he was finishing The Sun Also Rises and The Torrents of Spring. And according to the site Lit Reactor, the comedic story is probably more of a delight for Hemingway scholars and die-hard fanboys than casual fans of his fiction. "The five-page story, about a socialite in Hemingway’s circles, is a slightly humorous tale where the titular character comes face-to-face with a bull," they write. Considering the second most-popular story at Vanity Fair right now is about Kate Upton dishing about the nasty things modeling agencies told her, maybe the story is going to the right place.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.