The Wisdom of Max

The great editor Maxwell Perkins (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wolfe, etc) wrote, on July 17th 1944, to one Alice D. Bond:

As a matter of fact, I think the percentage of the very good books – the really notable books – that are declined is higher than the percentage of the highly competent mediocrities. The reason is that the books of the greatest talent are almost always full of trouble, and difficult, and they do not conform to the usual standards. They are often strange. They are different, as were ‘This Side of Paradise’ and ‘Look Homeward, Angel.’

Amen.

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