Dear Miss Plath,
I’m sorry we decided against these poems. We like the second section of AMNESIAC very much, but cannot see any relation between it and the first section. Perhaps we’re being dense. But would you think over the possibility of printing the second section alone under that title? If you would care to resubmit it that way, we’d be happy to consider it again.
A rejection letter sent to Sylvia Plath.
Witold and Rita Gombrowitz with Psina
Klosterneuburg near Vienna, on the River Danube. Water color by Adolf Hitler (1911)
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the triumph of Vienna was a sense of civilization. One of the consequences of cultural success can be political naivety. The lesson still applies today, when so many members of the international intelligentsia - which, broadly interpreted, means us - continue to believe that culture can automatically hold civilization together. But there is nothing automatic about it, because nothing can be held together without the rule of law.
Clive James, Cultural Amnesia