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Like Fire Engines

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Among the flotsam that drifts about the internet, coming to surfers’ occasional notice, is Arthur C. Fifield’s mocking rejection letter to Gertrude Stein of 19 April 1912: ‘Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.’ It received a flurry of attention in February 2011, and again a few weeks ago. Time perhaps for it to be joined by a note T.S. Eliot sent to Stein 15 years later, on 8 September 1927:

I am very sorry to return these chapters, but in any case I should not be able to use them for a very long time… The flow of contributions through The Criterion has lately been very much held up by one or two controversies which, like fire engines, must take precedence.

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