“At a conservative estimate, one million dollars will be spent by American readers for this book. They will get for their money 34 pages of permanent value. These 34 pages tell of a massacre happening in a little Spanish town in the early days of the Civil War…Mr. Hemingway: please publish the massacre scene separately, and then forget For Whom the Bell Tolls; please leave stories of the Spanish Civil War to Malraux…”
“This book offers not pleasure but mounting pain; as literature it lacks the reserve that steadies genius and that lack not only dims its brilliance but makes it dangerous in its influence.”
Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.
“A brief, presumably interesting report of an experience or incident, especially a humorous account reflecting human foibles; confidential tale or piece of gossip, or an unknown biographical or historical particular; digressive episode. Adj. anecdotal; n anecdotist, anecdotalist.
‘He joked with Baitsell about the formalities, laughed at the red ribbons attached to the will, told a couple of anecdotes about old Newport and Harry Lehr’s will, and finally signed his name in a great, flourishing hand.’” Louis Auchincloss, Powers of Attorney
Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.