Catnapped and Doggone
January 17, 1816
Dear Mrs. Shelley:
I am in receipt of your submission for publication; however, I regret to inform you that we do not consider Frankenstein suitable for publication.
Your portrayal of a societal outcry against a monster assembled from pieces of other humans by a respected scientist is simply too fantastical to allow for a reader’s suspension of disbelief. Even if it were scientifically feasible, the creation of a life in a laboratory is morally reprehensible and would never be tolerated by the religious community; and, may I say, rightly so. Such tampering with the will of God shall be, and will be, deemed blasphemous.
The scientist’s treatment of the monster as some sort of slave is out of step with the current trend toward liberation of the peasant class as evidenced by Estonia’s recent proclamation of freedom for serfs, a political position that is gaining ground throughout Europe. Further, your assumption that a band of locals would take up arms against an outsider given the recent peace following the Napoleonic Wars is an incitement to return to such aggressive behavior one neighbor against another after we have learned that such prolonged battles yield no good. The reading public is, frankly, tired of war.
Might I suggest that you read some of your contemporaries to develop greater appreciation of the reading audience? Jane Austen has become a successful girl writer by understanding that the female audience available to a female author is not interested in violence or fantastical scientific imaginings but wants to read about gentle romance and the successful marriage of women of position or integrity. Perhaps you should turn your work toward this more ladylike subject. Your current subject is simply too ghoulish for the market.
On one further subject, I must caution you. We are well aware of your reputation with regard to your personal situation. Such public censure shall certainly keep you from achieving your goal of publication if you continue to use your own name. A nom de plume, and an intermediary, may very well serve you in your endeavors. We certainly could not consider publication of any work attached to a public scandal or those associated with one. We have our own reputation to protect.
Editor, Publishing House with No Imagination
Thanks for reading.