F Scott Fitzgerald and an America in decline

2017_19_f_scott_fitzgSarah Churchwell at The New Statesman:

F Scott Fitzgerald’s publishing career lasted just two decades, from 1920 to 1940, when he died aged 44. But in that brief time he published four novels, a play and 178 short stories (some of which he compiled into four collections), while leaving an unfinished novel as well as many incomplete stories, fragments, notes, screenplays and film scenarios. Most have gradually trickled into print over the 77 years since his death, and with the publication of I’d Die For You, the trickle all but ends: these are the last known uncollected stories from the archives.

Despite the collection’s subtitle (And Other Lost Stories) most of these were not, as their editor Anne Margaret Daniel notes, lost: they were just unpublished. Some have been sitting in various archives since Fitzgerald’s daughter, Scottie, first donated her parents’ papers to Princeton University Library in the early 1950s; other drafts turned up over the years and were preserved, but not published. Seven more were found among family papers in 2012, and now the Fitzgerald estate has decided to publish them all in an authoritative edition, perhaps motivated by inflated recent claims about the “discovery” of “long-lost” Fitzgerald stories by means of the remarkable stratagem of going to a library and reading the catalogue. This happened in 2016 with a 1939 story called “Temperature” (which, as Daniel wrote at the time, Fitz­gerald noted should be “Filed Under False Starts”) and in 2015 with “Ballet Shoes” (1936), which was misleadingly publicised as a “fragment of a lost novel”.

more here.

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