Le petit journal des refusées

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Thanks to the wonderful lecture by Johanna Drucker last night at the Grolier Club, entitled “Graphic Hijinks in Gelett Burgess’s 1896 Le Petit Journal des Refusées,” we now know more about this unique magazine in Princeton University Library.

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Printed on oddly cut pieces of wallpaper, the journal was edited by Gelett Burgess (1866-1951) under the pseudonym James Marrion. Not content with one or two copies of this extraordinarily rare single issue magazine, Princeton owns three. Because each was hand printed, all three copies are slightly different.

To be considered for the journal, each poem or essay had to have been rejected by at least three other magazines. Drucker pointed to the advertisement in Burgess’s other magazine, The Lark, soliciting authors for Petit journal: “The Century is Coming to a Close! Hurry Up and Get Your Name in Print or You’ll be Left. There are 63,250,000 people in the United States. 50,000 have suffered amputation of both hands. For the remaining 63,200,000 writers, there are only 7000 periodicals.”

“It will be the smallest and most extraordinary magazine in existence. It will be printed on Black Paper with Yellow ink. The margins will be very wide, the cover almost impossible. The rates for insertion of prose articles will be only five dollars a page; poetry, ten dollars a page, but no manuscript will be accepted unless accompanied by a letter of regret at not being able to find the same available from some leading magazine. No manuscripts will be refused. Terms are cast, invariably, in advance. Each article in every paper will be blue penciled, and the author’s signature underlined. Each contributor will be allowed one hundred free copies of the number in which his article appears. Subscription to the Petit Journal de Refusées will be five dollars a year, single copies, ten cents.”

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Le petit journal des refusées (San Francisco : James Marrion, No. 1, July 1st, 1896). Only issue published.Cotsen Children’s Library (CTSN) Pams / Eng 19 / Box 080 11405 Rare Books (Ex) 0901.612; Rare Books: Robert Metzdorf Collection (ExMe) 0901.612

See also Johanna Drucker, “Bohemian by Design: Gelett Burgess and Le Petit Journal des Refusées,” Connexions. 1 June 2009.

Johanna Drucker, “Le Petit Journal des Refusées: A Graphical Reading,” Victorian Poetry 48.1 (2010): 137- 169.