Over at the Atlantic:
Publisher Arthur Fifield must have been very proud of this lampoon of [Gertrude] Stein’s — admittedly confounding, provocative — style. At the time, 1912, she was only beginning to enter the literary scene and hadn’t yet established the reputation that would draw in great artists, writers, and personalities through the rest of her career and life. The manuscript in question might not have amounted to much, but after being rejected by Fifield, she did become an accomplished, bestselling author, with titles like The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Moreover, her expat Paris living room became the epicenter of a rich art world, one her famed contemporaries visited for contacts, review, and social company — and one whose fruits are, today, examined and reexamined by theorists, academics, and critics worldwide.
The letter reads:
Dear Madam, I am only one, only one, only one. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain. Only one being. Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your M.S. three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.”