FITZGERALD, F. Scott (1896-1940). This Side of Paradise. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920.
8o. Original dark green cloth, spine lettered in gilt (a little wear to extremities, hinges shaken). Provenance: Christian Gauss, Princeton professor, friend and mentor to Fitzgerald (presentation inscription).
FIRST EDITION of the author's first book. AN IMPORTANT ASSOCIATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY FITZGERALD TO HIS MOST SIGNIFICANT PROFESSIONAL INFLUENCE WHILE AT PRINCETON, on the front free endpaper: "Dear Mr. Gauss, Behold the famous American 'novel about flappers written for philosophers.' 'Read 'em an' weep!' F. Scott Fitzgerald March 20th, 1920."
Fitzgerald entered Princeton in the fall of 1913, where he was conditionally admitted to the Class of 1917. With his energy primarily devoted to extra-curricular social and literary pursuits, his grades suffered miserably there. After repeated failed attempts to make-up for missed classes or failing grades, he would eventually drop-out and join the army rather than complete his degree.
Although he did not impress the faculty at Princeton, he did form an important friendship with a professor of French Romantic poetry, Christian Gauss (later Dean Gauss). Serving as a mentor, Gauss discouraged Fitzgerald from attempting to publish an early draft of the novel, and read parts of Fitzgerald's revision while the author was in the Army. He was instrumental in Scott's ultimately contacting Charles Scribner offering the manuscript for "The Romantic Egoist," as the novel was originally titled.
"Fitzgerald had known Charles Scribner at Princeton; and Christian Gauss suggested that Scott send 'The Romantic Egoist' to the venerable firm that published his own works as well as those of such eminent authors as Meredith, James, Stevenson, Barrie, Wharton and Galsworthy ... Fitzgerald used [Rupert] Brooke's poem 'Tiare Tahiti' for the title, epigraph and theme (age has nothing to tell the young in this world) of 'The Romantic Egoist,' which was published as This Side of Paradise" (Jeffrey Meyers, Scott Fitzgerald, New York, 1994, p. 36).
Fitzgerald was in residence at Princeton for the publication of This Side of Paradise, on March 26, 1920. He inscribed this copy to Gauss seven days before publication. The autobiographical Princeton set novel was an immediate success, and secured Fitzgerald's reputation as the voice of his generation.
"The novel's defiant tone had the same powerful impact on rebellious postwar youth as Salinger's Catcher in the Rye did in 1951, and it became a bible and guidebook as the Twenties began to roar. Like Eliot's Poems, Owen's Poems, Huxley's Limbo and Lawrence's Women in Love (all of which appeared in 1920), Fitzgerald's novel captures the spirit of dissillusionment that followed the Great War" (Meyers, p.56).
Fitzgerald and Gauss maintained their friendship for years. When Gauss was in Paris in 1925 Fitzgerald took considerable satisfaction in arranging "seminar-lunches" for Gauss, Hemingway, and himself. As perhaps a tribute, joke, or gesture of affection, Fitzgerald named a minor character after him in Tender is the Night, with the slightly changed spelling to "Gausse." Bruccoli A5.1.a.