March 22


McSweeney’s has published my letter to dead authors!

Dear readers, I am excited.

UPDATE: three days after it was published, the piece has over 900 likes and 100 tweets. Thank you to everyone who has read it.

McSweeney's, famous online source of intellectual funnies, recently accepted an “open letter” from me. It went online this morning.

My letter points out that teaching English Literature would be much easier if we could only send letters back in time, and warn the authors of the literary canon about the terrible mistakes they were about to make…

Dear Canonical Authors:

I regret the impersonal nature of this form letter, but time-travel technology is still very basic in the early 21st century, and my message is an urgent one.

Let me say, firstly, that I’m a huge fan of your work. I was painfully shy as a child, and so I did most of my living through books: your books. At the same time, however, I hope it’s okay if I offer a few editing suggestions.

Here’s the problem: in my era, your work is taught in a wide range of introductory college classes, and some of your artistic choices are creating real difficulties for my students. It’s making my job almost impossible. So I have a few requests. No, not requests—polite demands.

Click here for the full piece.

So far, the piece has attracted over 300 facebook likes, and thirty-something tweets. So it's not viral, but maybe a level or two down from that: bacterial, perhaps, or fungal.

In other words, very cool.

Best wishes,




comedy, Mcsweeney's, open letter, open letter to canonical authors

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    • Thank you, Kay. It’s a long road, isn’t it? But this is a pretty good stage, too.

  • Peregrine says:

    Why don’t you post the entire piece on this site? I am not on Facebook or twitter and would like to read it. Peregrine

    • Peregrine says:

      Mr. Wallace, I read your letters to dead authors and suggest that you write one to Faulkner. I hate his stories, long, run on sentences, subject matter, etc. I was forced to read him in an English class and detested every word. I thought his works were revolting, disgusting, and should not be required reading. Peregrine

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