In September of 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald responds to a fan of his latest book, The Great Gatsby. Until H. L. Mencken reviewed it critics were largely unimpressed — as a result it barely sold. Since then it has sold millions of copies and is considered a classic.
Dear Miss Lane Pride (What a wonderful name!)
Thank you for your most kind and cordial letter — I think that my first books must have antagonized a lot of people because I know that so many approached this with suspicion and hostility; for the first months there were hardly any sales at all, and until Mencken spoke for it the reviews were angry and childish. Now of course it has become a best seller.
Let me tell you how much I appreciate your writing to me — and how much I hope that future books won’t send you scurrying back to your original opinion.
➥3 photos of what-the-hell-is-your-hair-doing Scott Fitzgerald
history meme; [1/7] pairings
the fitzgeralds; While at a country club, Fitzgerald met and fell in love with Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court justice and the “golden girl,” in Fitzgerald’s terms, of Montgomery youth society. He worked for the Barron Collieradvertising agency, living in a single room at 200 Claremont Avenue in the Morningside Heights neighborhood on Manhattan’s west side. Zelda accepted his marriage proposal, but after some time and despite working at an advertising firm and writing short stories, he was unable to convince her that he would be able to support her, leading her to break off the engagement. Fitzgerald was so low on finances that he took up a job repairing car roofs.The revised novel was accepted by Scribner’s in the fall of 1919, and Zelda and Fitzgerald resumed their engagement. The novel (This Side of Paradise) was published on March 26, 1920, and became one of the most popular books of the year. Fitzgerald and Zelda were married in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Their daughter and only child, Frances Scott “Scottie” Fitzgerald, was born on October 26, 1921.
"The things that we have done together and the awful splits that have broken us into war survivals in the past stay like a sort of atmosphere around any house that I inhabit. The good things and the first years together, and the good months that we had two years ago in Montgomery will stay with me forever, and you should feel like I do that they can be renewed, if not in a new spring, then in a new summer. I love you, my darling."