Head and Shoulders:
An Introduction

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"Head and Shoulders" was the first Fitzgerald story to appear in The Saturday Evening Post (21 February 1920), but not his first sale-- having been preceded by five pieces in The Smart Set. He later wrote his literary agent, Harold Ober: "I was twenty-two [actually twenty-three] when I came to New York and found that you'd sold Head and Shoulders to the Post. I'd like to get a thrill like that again but I suppose its only once in a lifetime." The $400 fee was one-tenth of what the Post would pay for a Fitzgerald story in 1929.

Originally titled "Nest Feathers," this story was one of a group Fitzgerald wrote in the fall of 1919 after Scribner's accepted his first novel, This Side of Paradise. Fitzgerald's fiction has a curious way of anticipating his life: just as Horace is deflected by marriage from scholarship to entertainment, so would the author of "Head and Shoulders" soon be under pressure to provide literary entertainment after his own marriage to Zelda Sayre in April 1920. Fitzgerald selected "Head and Shoulders" for Flappers and Philosophers, his first story collection, published in 1920.

The text of Head and Shoulders.

Fitzgerald Centenary Comments

This page updated 22 July 1996.
Copyright 1996, the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.
URL http://www.sc.edu/fitzgerald/head/index.html