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Quiz about Literary Rejection Notices
Quiz about Literary Rejection Notices

Literary Rejection Notices Trivia Quiz


"I regret the American public is not interested in anything on China", read an actual rejection letter to Pearl Buck, author of "The Good Earth". The following are rejection notices of famous works that I have made up- see if you can guess the work.

A multiple-choice quiz by bullymom. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
bullymom
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
141,181
Updated
May 06 23
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
7634
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: turaguy (9/10), Guest 174 (9/10), Guest 101 (7/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. "This story is way too morbid - teenagers in war, gas attacks, barbed wire, grenades, death ... no one will read it." Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. "Who could identify with this hero? He kills an old pawnbroker and her sister, is sentenced to Siberia, considers suicide, and falls in love with a prostitute."

Answer: (Three words (Name the literary work, not the character))
Question 3 of 10
3. "Who wants to read about a bunch of goofballs (30, to be exact) in a bar telling outlandish stories? One of them is supposed to be a knight, but he's wearing a skirt!" Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. "The whole book is about some guys trying to blow up some stupid bridge!" Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. "Who can sympathize with this main character? He's a loser who gets drunk and sells his own wife and daughter, then spends the rest of the book whining about it!" Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. "This story is completely unbelievable. Three idiots are sent to hell and choose to stay there!" Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. "This one either sounds like a country song or one of those TV talk shows. The mother is dying and wants to watch her coffin being made; the father gets remarried and gets new teeth as soon as his wife dies; the daughter is pregnant and gets what she thinks is an abortion pill, but it's a placebo; and the dopey sons nearly lose their mother's coffin, with her in it, in a fire and by dropping it into the river." Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. "This is way too depressing - the heroine is executed at the end. She is seduced by a scoundrel who impregnates her and she names the child Sorrow, of all things! Then the baby dies! Then she marries who she thinks is Mr. Right, but he leaves her to start a farm. She finds another lover, whom she stabs to death." Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. "There are two problems with this novel. First, it's set in the future, which people can't relate to. More important, the bad guys are firemen - nobody wants to read a book in which the firemen are the bad guys." Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. "Yuck! Who wants to read about a dirty old man who has an affair with his preteen step-daughter?!"

Answer: (One Word)

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Most Recent Scores
Jun 15 2024 : turaguy: 9/10
Jun 14 2024 : Guest 174: 9/10
Jun 11 2024 : Guest 101: 7/10
Jun 10 2024 : davejacobs: 8/10
Jun 09 2024 : MargW: 6/10
Jun 09 2024 : Dizart: 9/10
Jun 09 2024 : misdiaslocos: 8/10
Jun 03 2024 : Barbarini: 9/10
Jun 02 2024 : psnz: 10/10

Score Distribution

quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. "This story is way too morbid - teenagers in war, gas attacks, barbed wire, grenades, death ... no one will read it."

Answer: "All Quiet on the Western Front"

"All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque, published in 1929, is a grim account of life and death (mostly death) in the trenches in World War I Europe. It was heralded as being one of the few impartial portrayals of the World War. Erich Paul Remarque, born in Germany in 1898, was drafted in 1916, giving him real-life experience from which to construct his famous novel. Upon the death of his mother, Maria, he began using her name as his own middle name.
2. "Who could identify with this hero? He kills an old pawnbroker and her sister, is sentenced to Siberia, considers suicide, and falls in love with a prostitute."

Answer: Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoevsky's masterpiece "Crime and Punishment", published in 1867, is a gripping psychological portrait of a criminal and his beliefs. The crime is murder: the protagonist, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, is driven by poverty to kill an old pawnbroker in order to both gain material wealth and prove his moral superiority. However, as with many crimes, this one does not go as planned; the victim's lovable sister accidentally happens upon the scene, necessitating that she be done away with also. Wracked by guilt and psychological torture, Raskolnikov turns himself in and is sentenced to exile in Siberia.

Because of the feature of "doubling", or dual personality of the main character, this novel is considered one of the early "psychological" works. Dostoevsky himself was no stranger to crime and punishment, or at least the latter; at age 28, he was arrested by the Czar's secret police and sentenced to death for his part in a group that advocated revolutionary ideas. After serving time in Siberia, he served time in the military and was eventually pardoned. However, the experience left him understandably bitter, enabling him to produce such melancholy novels as "Crime.." and "The Brothers Karamazov".
3. "Who wants to read about a bunch of goofballs (30, to be exact) in a bar telling outlandish stories? One of them is supposed to be a knight, but he's wearing a skirt!"

Answer: "Canterbury Tales"

Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", written in 1380, is actually a collection of colorful tales told by 30 people gathered at an inn as a stop on their pilgrimage to Canterbury. The book takes the form of each character telling his or her story; "The Handmaid's Tale", "The Miller's Tale", etc.

As people often do while imbibing alcohol, the pilgrims try to outdo each other by telling the most outlandish and interesting story. One of the more interesting characters is the 20-year-old Squire, who is something of a "pretty boy" in a short gown that was considered shocking for the times. Little is known about English poet Geoffrey Chaucer (born c. 1340) other than that he served in the Hundred Years War and was likely acquainted with writers Boccaccio and Petrarch.
4. "The whole book is about some guys trying to blow up some stupid bridge!"

Answer: "For Whom the Bell Tolls"

Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" centers on American Robert Jordan, a dynamite expert, who finds himself fighting for the
Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War. The plot of the novel centers on Jordan's mission to destroy a major bridge in the Sierras. As do many other works by "Papa" Hemingway, this one reflects some of his real-life experiences. Hemingway actually covered the Spanish Civil War as a journalist, his experiences during which formed the basis for "For Whom the Bell Tolls", which is often considered his greatest work.
5. "Who can sympathize with this main character? He's a loser who gets drunk and sells his own wife and daughter, then spends the rest of the book whining about it!"

Answer: "The Mayor of Casterbridge"

The protagonist of Thomas Hardy's 1886 novel "The Mayor of Casterbridge" is Michael Henchard, an itinerant hay-trusser, who, while drunk at a fair, puts his wife and daughter up for auction. As do many people after they have sobered up, he regrets the grave mistake he has made and, for the rest of the novel, attempts to undo it.

He eventually does find his wife and daughter, and also becomes the Mayor of Casterbridge, hence the book's title. Originally trained as an architect, English author Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) wrote over 800 poems, several short stories and novels, and a long epic drama, "The Dynasts".

In 1910 he was awarded the order of Merit and thus became the greatest living man of letters in England.
6. "This story is completely unbelievable. Three idiots are sent to hell and choose to stay there!"

Answer: "No Exit"

Hell is the setting for Jean Paul Sartre's "No Exit", a one-act play which centers on man's inhumanity to man. The three main characters - Garcin, Estelle, and Inez - have been sentenced to hell (which is designed as a living room) after their deaths as punishment for their behavior during life.

The bizarre part comes at the end, when they choose to stay in hell. The final line, spoken by Garcin, is "Well, well, let's get on with it ..." The play, famous for the quote "Hell is other people", was first published and produced in 1944.

It is actually a brilliant observation on human psychology, as each of the wretched characters needs the others in order to exist. Existentialist Jean Paul Sartre (1905-80) published his first work, "Nausea", in 1938; the semi-autobiographical novel basically expresses his belief that exposure to a meaningless existence produces nausea.

In 1964, he was granted the Nobel Prize for Literature, but refused to accept it. Today, he is remembered as one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century.
7. "This one either sounds like a country song or one of those TV talk shows. The mother is dying and wants to watch her coffin being made; the father gets remarried and gets new teeth as soon as his wife dies; the daughter is pregnant and gets what she thinks is an abortion pill, but it's a placebo; and the dopey sons nearly lose their mother's coffin, with her in it, in a fire and by dropping it into the river."

Answer: "As I Lay Dying"

This fun book, "As I Lay Dying", was penned by William Faulkner, regarded as one of the greatest American novelists. The plot of this novel, set in the fictional Mississippi county of Yoknapatawpha, centers on a dying woman whose only wish is that she be buried with the rest of her family in a nearby town. The story is unique in that it is narrated by fifteen different people, one of whom is the dead woman herself. It follows the exploits of her family members and how they prepare for, and benefit from, her death. William Faulkner (1897-1962) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950.
8. "This is way too depressing - the heroine is executed at the end. She is seduced by a scoundrel who impregnates her and she names the child Sorrow, of all things! Then the baby dies! Then she marries who she thinks is Mr. Right, but he leaves her to start a farm. She finds another lover, whom she stabs to death."

Answer: "Tess of the D'Urbervilles"

Another good time from Thomas Hardy. This book centers on a girl named Tess and her discovery that she is descended from a noble family. As a result, her life changes drastically, and the irony is learned at the end of the novel when the reader learns along with Tess that she is not of noble birth after all.

The novel, published in 1891, is a commentary on the society and values of the day; in it, Hardy, a champion of the underclass, portrays Tess as a victim of the rigidity of the English nobility.
9. "There are two problems with this novel. First, it's set in the future, which people can't relate to. More important, the bad guys are firemen - nobody wants to read a book in which the firemen are the bad guys."

Answer: "Fahrenheit 451"

"Fahrenheit 451", the futuristic novel by American science-fiction master Ray Bradbury, is named for the temperature at which paper burns. This is appropriate, as the book is basically about burning books. "It was a pleasure to burn" is the opening line in this tale set in a dystopian 24th-century society in which books and anything intellectual have been banned.

The protagonist is Guy Montag, a firefighter who eventually rebels against this repressive society. Born in 1920, Ray Bradbury is the author of over 500 published works, and had the interesting task of helping to design the Spaceship Earth ride at Disney World's EPCOT Center.
10. "Yuck! Who wants to read about a dirty old man who has an affair with his preteen step-daughter?!"

Answer: Lolita

The infamous "Lolita" by Russian Vladimir Nabokov was, in reality, rejected by every American publisher he sent it to until the Parisian Olympia Press took a chance and printed 5,000 copies. The racy tale was virtually ignored until Nabokov's pal Graham Greene named it among the best three novels of 1955. "My poor Lolita is having a tough time," Nabokov wrote to Greene, referring to the novel's lukewarm reception in the Puritanical America of the 1950s. By 1960, however, "Lolita" had sold more than 14 million copies and spawned new words such as "nymphet" and "Nabokovian". The tale centers on the proverbial dirty old man with the silly name of Humbert Humbert who admittedly has a thing for "nymphets" as he calls them - preteen girls. He falls in love with one, Dolores Haze, aka Lolita, and marries her mother, in effect becoming the nymphet's guardian. The novel has been praised for its ability to turn a pedophile into a sympathetic character and to do so with wit and compassion.
Source: Author bullymom

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