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"The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" first appeared in The Smart Set (June 1922). Originally titled "The Diamond in the Sky," this classic novelette was rejected by the Post and other mass-circulation magazines, even after Fitzgerald cut it from twenty thousand words to fifteen thousand. (The amputated words are lost.) He further tightened the story by cutting another eight hundred words when he polished it for his collection Tales of the Jazz Age. Editors found it baffling, blasphemous, or objectionably satiric about wealth. The Smart Set paid Fitzgerald only $300 when his Post price was $1,500 for a long story. Fitzgerald was discouraged by the editorial reaction to this story "into which I put three weeks real entheusiasm. . . . But by God + Lorimer, I'm going to make a fortune yet." When he collected it in Tales of the Jazz Age Fitzgerald explained that "Diamond"
was designed utterly for my own amusement. I was in a mood characterized by a perfect craving for luxury, and the story began as an attempt to feed that craving on imaginary foods.
One well-known critic has been pleased to like this extravaganza better than anything I have written. Personally I prefer "The Off-Shore Pirate."
This page updated 21 January 1998.
Copyright 1998, the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.