Facts About Fitzgerald

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Zelda Fitzgerald’s Save Me the Waltz

Zelda Fitzgerald’s only published novel (1932) is heavily autobiographical, and Fitzgerald was upset by her appropriation of material he intended to develop in Tender Is the Night. After she made revisions, Scribners published the novel on October 7. It was not well received; readers and critics had difficulty with the author’s idiosyncratic prose style.


submitted by: Robert W. Trogdon / [Index]


Fitzgerald’s Annotations on a Book by Edmund Wilson

Fitzgerald annotated his copy of Wilson’s This Room and This Gin and These Sandwiches: Three Plays (New York: New Republic, 1937). Fitzgerald’s note on page 75 indicates that Wilson incorporated material from the plan for The Great Gatsby into the play “The Crime in the Whistler Room.” Fitzgerald first met “Bunny” Wilson when both were students at Princeton and worked together on the Nassau Literary Magazine. Wilson remained a friend and adviser throughout Fitzgerald’s lifetime, providing, as Fitzgerald put it in “Pasting It Together,” “my intellectual conscience” (The Crack-Up, p. 79). After Fitzgerald’s death Wilson edited the unfinished novel published by Scribners in 1941 as The Last Tycoon and the collection The Crack-Up published by New Directions in 1945.


submitted by: Robert F. Moss / [Index]


Fitzgerald’s Annotation in a Copy of Taps at Reveille

Inscribed to Tony Buttitta

Tony Buttitta operated a bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, where he developed a friendly acquaintance with Fitzgerald. In Buttitta’s copy of Taps at Reveille, Fitzgerald marked out a paragraph from “Babylon Revisited” that he had “stripped” from the story for use in Tender Is the Night. Fitzgerald customarily used descriptions from magazine stories for his novels. If he chose the story to be collected in a volume, he would remove the portions that he put into his novels. In a 15 April 1935 letter to Maxwell Perkins, Fitzgerald noted this specific repetition in “Babylon Revisited”: “Just found another whole paragraph in ‘Taps,’ top of page 384, which appears in ‘Tender is the Night.’ I’d carefully elided it and written the paragraph beneath it to replace it, but the proof readers slipped and put them both in” (Life in Letters, p. 279).

Babylon Revisited,” one of Fitzgerald’s most-celebrated stories, appeared in The Saturday Evening Post (21 February 1931), which placed it first in the issue. On its surface this story of a reformed alcoholic widower trying to regain custody of his daughter in Depression-era Paris would not appear to conform to the Post’s wholesome image. Yet the story does fulfill the Post’s moral requirements. Although the hero tries to reform so that he can win back his child, he cannot escape his indirect responsibility for his wife’s death. Charlie Wales remains haunted by his reckless behavior but also attracted by the remembered allure of Twenties Paris, as he recalls “The men who locked their wives out in the snow, because the snow of twenty-nine wasn’t real snow. If you didn’t want it to be snow you just paid some money.”

In his assessment of Post editor George Horace Lorimer, Fitzgerald explained how a tragic story might meet the magazine’s requirement for optimism: “He made a sharp distinction between a sordid tragedy and a heroic tragedy—hating the former but accepting the latter as an essential and interesting part of life” (Letters, p. 565).

submitted by: Park Bucker / [Index]


Ring Lardner Typescript with Holograph Note by Fitzgerald

The Lardner-Fitzgerald friendship, which began in the fall of 1922, continued after the Fitzgeralds left Great Neck, Long Island. Lardner wrote the couple a Christmas poem, which Fitzgerald annotated.


Fitzgerald replied:

You combed Third Avenue last year

For some small gift that was not too dear

—Like a candy cane or a worn out truss—

 To give to a loving friend like us

You’d found gold eggs for such wealthy hicks

 As the Edsell Fords and the Pittsburgh Fricks

The Andy Mellons, the Teddy Shonts

The Coleman T. and Pierre duPonts

But not one gift to brighten our hoem

—So I’m sending you back your God damn poem.

(F. Scott Fitzgerald Poems, p. 140)

submitted by: Robert F. Moss / [Index]


Tender Is the Night Serialization in Scribner’s Magazine

Tender Is the Night was serialized in Scribner’s Magazine from January to April 1934. The division into monthly installments probably harmed the novel’s reception by obscuring the structure of the novel. Fitzgerald suspected that some critics read it only in serial form. In a copy of the novel sent to Dorothy Parker in care of The New Yorker, Fitzgerald wrote, “Dear Dotty/This is better/than the magazine/Love Always/Scott” (Life in Letters, p. [254]).

Edward Shenton’s pen-and-ink “decorations” for the serial also appeared in the first edition of the book.


submitted by: Mary Sidney Watson / [Index]


Unrevised Galley Proofs for The Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald had several tentative titles, including “Trimalchio,” for the novel that was published as The Great Gatsby. Trimalchio is the name of the wealthy and ostentatious party-giver in The Satyricon, Petronius’s satirical portrait of early Rome. Other tentative titles included “Trimalchio in West Egg,” “Gold-Hatted Gatsby,” and “The High-Bouncing Lover.” The latter two titles were adapted from the novel’s epigraph, supposedly written by Thomas Parke D’Invilliers (the fictional counterpart of poet John Peale Bishop, Fitzgerald’s Princeton classmate). The epigraph, which was actually written by Fitzgerald, reads: “Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;/If you can bounce high, bounce for her too,/Till she cry ‘Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover,/I must have you!” Fitzgerald, acting on advice from Maxwell Perkins, revised and restructured the novel in the galleys, bringing it to its final brilliance. The fifty-seven galley pages in the Bruccoli Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald are the only located unmarked set of original galleys. The misspelled holograph title change is not in Fitzgerald’s hand.


submitted by: Michael Cody / [Index]

Fitzgerald Centenary Comments

This page updated April 1, 2005.
Copyright 1996, the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.
URL http://www.sc.edu/fitzgerald/facts/facts10.html