Rejection Letter From A Chinese Editor

Would have surely made the author feel sorry for the editor:-)

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The following is said to be an exact translation of the letter sent by a Chinese editor to a would-be contributor whose manuscript he found it necessary to return:

Illustrious brother of the sun and moon: Behold thy servant prostrate before thy feet. I kowtow to thee, and beg that of thy graciousness thou mayst grant that I may speak and live. Thy honored manuscript has deigned to cast the light of its august countenance upon us. With raptures we have perused it. By the bones of my ancestors, never have I encountered such wit, such pathos, such lofty thought. With fear and trembling I return the writing. Were I to publish the treasure you sent me, the emperor would order that it should be made the standard and that none be published except such as equaled it. Knowing literature as I do, and that it would be impossible in…

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7 Responses to Rejection Letter From A Chinese Editor

  1. theotheri says:

    Oh my goodness! Do you think the editor accidentally put the manuscript into the acceptance pile instead of the rejection pile, and so returned it with the wrong accompanying message? I mean, I well acquainted with subtle cultural differences, but this impresses me as beyond the pale.

    Be interested in your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tskraghu says:

      Did a bit of digging. Not much background material avail and some behind pay-walls. But what I did gather is writing rejections was considered a fine art at least in some quarters even in the West. Today it might be a slip with a box ticked.

      This specimen perhaps exemplifies the oriental politeness prevailing then, some vestiges of which we get to see even today.

      To me, it’s straight out of P G Wodehouse’s idyllic world.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. theotheri says:

    Thank you for the insight, I have learned in my life that even between cultures that speak the same language that what one culture considers politeness is often experienced by the other as intrusive on the one hand, and as distancing by the other.

    Liked by 1 person

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