F. Scott Fitzgerald's First Draft of 'The Great Gatsby'

March 27, 2015 3:55 PM

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Once upon a time, there was a bright, successful young novelist. He had had great acclaim, and sales, with This Side of Paradise (1920), published when he was only 23 years old. He followed it with The Beautiful And Damned (1922), which didn't impress as many people, and did not sell quite as well. What would be his next novel? Or would he now stick to his short stories, which were popular and could be collected in book form? Or, perhaps, he'd write plays, as he'd done before in high school and college, and with which he longed to have a hit or two?

Initially, Fitzgerald thought he'd write about an earlier time period next. He wrote to his editor at Scribner's, Max Perkins, "Its locale will be the middle west and New York of 1885 I think. It will concern less superlative beauties than I run to usually and will be centered on a smaller period of...

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