FITZGERALD’S FIRST APPEARANCE IN A BOOK. A REMARKABLE COPY IN THE SCARCE DUST JACKET.
The summer of 1919 represented a time of crisis for the 22-year-old F. Scott Fitzgerald. He had left Princeton to enroll in the U.S. Army, but the war ended before he had seen any action; he had met and become infatuated with the socialite Zelda Sayre, but was rejected by her because of his lack of financial prospects. By early summer he quit his job in New York and returned to St. Paul to stake everything on completing his novel-in-progress (This Side of Paradise). Desperate for money, recognition, and Zelda, Fitzgerald called the summer of 1919 his “summer of despair,” but everything was about to change.
“That summer Fitzgerald achieved his first appearance in a book when Princeton Verse II was published. His three [poetic] contributions–’Marching Streets,’ ‘The Pope at Confession,’ and ‘My First Love,’” appeared on pages 81-84. “The pleasure of publication may have been diminished by the circumstance that all of his poems were signed ‘T. Scott Fitzgerald.’” (Bruccoli, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur, 102). The authorial credit also refers to Fitzgerald as part of the Princeton class of 1918, but he never did graduate.
The appearance in Princeton Verse II represents one of the final moments before Fitzgerald was catapulted to stardom. By July 26, he had completed the first draft of his novel, and on September 16 it was accepted by Scribner’s. His “summer of despair” was over–the novel, This Side of Paradise would be published in 1920 to great success, making Fitzgerald famous almost overnight.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1919. Octavo, original green cloth, original printed dust jacket; custom red cloth box. Cloth with mild crease to front board and a few spots of discoloration to rear board; gilt exceptionally bright. Dust jacket– which is almost always lacking– in nearly perfect condition with only tiny separation at extremities of folds. A remarkable survival, without question the finest copy we’ve seen.
Price: $5,900 .