The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
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The Great Gatsby

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

Details
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
FITZGERALD, F. Scott (1896-1940). The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.

Extraordinary presentation copy to 'the original “Gatsby”': first edition, first printing, inscribed by the author. Inscribed copies of The Great Gatsby are very rare: we are able to trace just two other presentation copies of the first printing in auction records in over 40 years. The present inscription is by far the most exciting and suggestive to have appeared at auction: ‘For Harold Goldman / The original “Gatsby” of this story, with thanks for letting me reveal these secrets of his past. / Alcatraz / Cell Block 17 / (I’ll be out soon, kid. Remember me to the mob. Fitzgerald)’.

Fitzgerald’s friendship with Harold Goldman is mostly undocumented, yet the playful warmth of the inscription suggests that the two knew each other well. The gift of this book would seem to date from their shared stint at MGM as screenwriters, during which time they worked on the 1938 film A Yank at Oxford starring Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh. As his inscription makes clear, Fitzgerald was less than satisfied with his time in Hollywood, ‘Alcatraz’ referring to the MGM lot and ‘Cell Block 17’ to his office in the writers’ building.

Set on the North Shore of Long Island and Manhattan, and inspired by the extravagant social scene Fitzgerald observed during his eighteen-month residence in Great Neck over 1922-24, The Great Gatsby tells the tragic story of the American Dream gone awry as seen through the eyes of Nick Carraway. The novel went through several failed starts prior to 1924, but it was not until Scott and Zelda had escaped the New York social scene to the Riviera in May 1924, that the author seriously set himself to work on what would become his masterpiece. Although the finished work was admired by virtually all the eminent literary figures of his day, sales did not meet expectations and only barely paid off his advance from Scribner's. Bruccoli A11.1.a; Connolly, The Modern Movement 48.

Octavo. (A few small stains, two short closed tears, one expertly repaired). Original linen-grain green cloth, titled in blind to front board, spine lettered in gilt (lacking the dust-jacket, hinges slightly weak, cloth lightly rubbed and scraped in places, a little faded); custom morocco-backed chemise and slipcase. Provenance: Harold Goldman (Hollywood screenwriter, 1889-1956; authorial inscription on the front free endpaper) – by descent to his daughter, sold Bonhams NY, 16 June 2015, lot 99.

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