F. Scott Fitzgerald: Trimalchio: An Early Version of 'The Great Gatsby'

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 25, 2002 - Fiction - 216 pages
This is the first edition ever published of Trimalchio, an early and complete version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald wrote the novel as Trimalchio and submitted it to Maxwell Perkins, his editor at Scribner's, who had the novel set in type and sent the galleys to Fitzgerald in France. Fitzgerald then virtually rewrote the novel in galleys, producing the book we know as The Great Gatsby. This first version, Trimalchio, has never been published and has only been read by a handful of people. It is markedly different from The Great Gatsby: two chapters were completely rewritten for the published novel, and the rest of the book was heavily revised. Characterization is different, the narrative voice of Nick Carraway is altered and, most importantly, the revelation of Jay Gatsby's past is handled in a wholly different way. James L.W. West III directs the Penn State Center for the History of the Book and is General Editor of the Cambridge Edition of the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. He is the author of William Styron: A Descriptive Biography (Random House, 1998).
 

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As the title explains, Fitzgerald's initial take on what we know as Gatsby was somewhat different when he first delivered the manuscript to Scribner editor Max Perkins in 1924. Perkins made several ... Read full review

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it is a fantastic book

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Contents

Acknowledgments
vii
Illustrations
ix
Chronology of composition and publication
xi
Introduction
xiii
Editorial principles
xix
TRIMALCHIO
3
Record of variants
147
Explanatory notes
165
Illustrations
179
Perkins letters of criticism
185
Note on Trimalchio
190
Note on eyeskip
191
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

F(rancis) Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 24, 1896. He was educated at Princeton University and served in the U.S. Army from 1917 to 1919, attaining the rank of second lieutenant. In 1920 Fitzgerald married Zelda Sayre, a young woman of the upper class, and they had a daughter, Frances. Fitzgerald is regarded as one of the finest American writers of the 20th Century. His most notable work was the novel, The Great Gatsby (1925). The novel focused on the themes of the Roaring Twenties and of the loss of innocence and ethics among the nouveau riche. He also made many contributions to American literature in the form of short stories, plays, poetry, music, and letters. Ernest Hemingway, who was greatly influenced by Fitzgerald's short stories, wrote that Fitzgerald's talent was "as fine as the dust on a butterfly's wing." Yet during his lifetime Fitzgerald never had a bestselling novel and, toward the end of his life, he worked sporadically as a screenwriter at motion picture studios in Los Angeles. There he contributed to scripts for such popular films as Winter Carnival and Gone with the Wind. Fitzgerald's work is inseparable from the Roaring 20s. Berenice Bobs Her Hair and A Diamond As Big As The Ritz, are two short stories included in his collections, Tales of the Jazz Age and Flappers and Philosophers. His first novel The Beautiful and Damned was flawed but set up Fitzgerald's major themes of the fleeting nature of youthfulness and innocence, unattainable love, and middle-class aspiration for wealth and respectability, derived from his own courtship of Zelda. This Side of Paradise (1920) was Fitzgerald's first unqualified success. Tender Is the Night, a mature look at the excesses of the exuberant 20s, was published in 1934. Much of Fitzgerald's work has been adapted for film, including Tender is the Night , The Great Gatsby, and Babylon Revisited which was adapted as The Last Time I Saw Paris by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1954. The Last Tycoon, adapted by Paramount in 1976, was a work in progress when Fitzgerald died of a heart attack on December 21, 1940, in Hollywood, California. Fitzgerald is buried in the historic St. Mary's Cemetery in Rockville, Maryland.

James L. W. West is Distinguished Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, where he is a Fellow in the Institute for the Arts and Humanistic Studies. His most recent book is William Styron, A Life (1998).

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