Presentation Copy of Fitzgerald's First Book
FITZGERALD, F. SCOTT. (English) This Side of Paradise
New York: Scribner’s, 1920
Original green cloth. Near fine. Half morocco case.
FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINTING. Fitzgerald’s first novel, one of only 3000 copies. Presentation copy inscribed on the title page: “For Kenneth Brightbill from F. Scott Fitzgerald April 30th, 1921.” Brightbill and Fitzgerald seem likely to have been classmates, perhaps at the Newman School in New Jersey. Fitzgerald inscribed several of his early books to Brightbill.
This Side of Paradise, “when it was first published was considered a revelation of new morality of the young in the early Jazz Age; and it made Fitzgerald famous. The novel’s hero, Amory Blaine, is a handsome, spoiled young man who attends Princeton, becomes involved in literary activities and has several ill-fated romances. A portrait of the Lost Generation, the novel addresses Fitzgerald’s later theme of love distorted by social climbing and greed” (Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature).
Fitzgerald was still at university when he submitted the manuscript, then titled The Romantic Egoist, Scribner’s. This Side of Paradise was published on 26 March 1920. An immediate success, the book went through fourteen printings by 1922, helping to launch Fitzgerald’s literary career. The public loved the book, but the president of Princeton was not as pleased. John Grier Hibben wrote, “I cannot bear to think that our young men are merely living four years in a country club and spending their lives wholly in a spirit of calculation and snobbishness.”
This is an excellent early Fitzgerald presentation copy.