Edmund Wilson's all-purpose "get lost" letter


Edmund Wilson's all-purpose bugger-off reply. (Via Tim Ferriss)


  1. I’d love to see one for doctors.

    – Look at your rash
    – Discuss your bowel movements…

  2. yeah, but only if below it had a.

    –for a broad spectrum anti-biotic because I’m not an idiot and know when I have a bad infection my ownself.

    — I really am not that trustworthy with painkillers but this time my d**m hand is broke… K’

  3. Notice that this is accomplished without the outright rudeness and open hostility that entires such as “No I Will Not Read Your Fucking Screenplay” seem to revel in.

    There’s something to be said for a little bit of class.

    1. Notice that this is accomplished without the outright rudeness and open hostility….

      He saved those for his paid journalism, as in his woeful, sadly ignorant attack on Nabokov’s Eugene Onegin translation. Here’s how he ends:

      Finally, it ought to be said that these volumes have been admirably produced. They are not, like so many American books, tastelessly bound and too heavy, with pages of type so wide that the eye finds it an effort to follow the line. The ordinary New York publisher would no doubt have crammed all the material into a single volume which would have been cumbersome to carry around, to travel with, to read in bed. But these volumes, with their narrow measure and their sharp and distinguished type, together with their sky-blue covers and their titles stamped in gold on red, are among the most attractive books that have recently been brought out in this country.

      What a jerk! And imagine, trying to school Nabokov on Russian literature! Should have sent the form letter, Bunny!

      Nabokov’s delightful, devastating reply is also at the NYRB site, worth reading. Wilson’s problem was that he could hide his assholishness successfully to himself: Nabokov, wonderfully, never bothered to hide, ever.

  4. Wow. I’ve read about a French author who had a similar kind of automated answer.. I check my books to see who came up with it first. :)

  5. I’d swear that I’ve seen something similar to this, maybe on BB.

    Also, lectroid: despite the F-word, “I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script” was, in fact, a very polite essay which cited a specific situation in which Josh Olsen went out of his way to critique the work of an acquaintance and, for his troubles, got called a dick. The title is just his way of being as blunt upfront as Wilson is above.

  6. Now Edmund Wilson will be getting all manner of requests from people wanting these nifty all-purpose “get lost” letters.

  7. Simon Singh’s book on Fermat’s Last Theorem had a pair of good examples along these lines. Prominent math professors would get inundated with crackpot “proofs,” so one of them printed up cards that read, “The first error in your submission occurs on line ______ of page _____ thereby invalidating the entire proof.”

    But that wasn’t nearly as good as the guy who had a form letter saying, “Your work is so advanced that I do not feel myself qualified to pass judgment on it. Instead, I refer you to the acknowledged expert on such work,” and then the name and mailing address of the previous crackpot to write in.

    1. wow that rules.

      i know i keep talking about Cantor tonight, but there’s a guy out there somewhere who has this “proof” that C = aleph_naught. i wish i was well known enough to have him send it to me to review so i could rip this idea off.

      (if your reading, dude, every point in your “tree” is rational. it’s the “end” of the branches that we’re interested in. brush up on the concept of a limit. first year calculus might help. (sorry bb. had to vent.))

Comments are closed.