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    A Great American Novel, Inscribed

    F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925. First edition, first printing, inscribed by the author on the front-free endpaper: "For Tatnall Brown / from one, who / is flattered at / being remembered / F Scott Fitzgerald / Hollywood, 1939." Octavo (7.4375 x 5.125 inches; 189 x 130 mm.). [vi], 218 pages. Publisher's dark bluish-green textured cloth, spine lettered in gilt, front board lettered in blind; top edge of text block trimmed, others rough-trimmed; in the original dust jacket, designed by Francis Cugat, second-state with the "J" of "Jay Gatsby" correctly capitalized, with the same printed price and ads as the first-state. Spine gently leaning; crown softly pushed; some light wear to spine ends; corners lightly worn and gently tapped; small circular blemish to the rear board (about three-eighths inches in diameter). Top of text block lightly dust-soiled; Tatnall Brown's bookplate tipped to the front paste-down, with some faint offsetting opposite; endpaper edges very faintly toned; bottom corner of rear endpapers worn with minimal paper loss. Dust jacket front panel lightly rubbed; edges worn with an occasional short closed tear (the largest about three-quarter inches and just barely affecting the "T" of "The"); crown chipped with minor paper-loss not affecting the lettering; folds worn with light chipping at edges and some minor flaking, bottom of front flap fold splitting with a one and five-eighths inches closed tear; rear panel with some trivial marginal soiling. A near fine copy in a very good, unsophisticated dust jacket. Bruccoli A11.1.a; Connolly 48 ("one of the half-dozen best American novels"). From the James C. Seacrest Collection. Ex-Maurice Neville, sold in his sale (Sotheby's, 2004, Part 1, lot 61).

    After a few years struggling in Hollywood to see his projects realized, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer terminated F. Scott Fitzgerald's contract in 1939 after a single screen-writing credit. While he finally had his name attached to a film, Frank Borzage's Three Comrades, it was not the film he intended; in a letter to his sister-in-law, he wrote, "Three Comrades is awful. It was entirely rewritten by the producer." (Gore Vidal. The Second American Revolution and Other Essays. New York: 1982. p. 17). This was at a time when Fitzgerald was clearly concerned about his legacy. In a letter written to his editor at Scribners, Maxwell Perkins, on Christmas Eve in 1938, Fitzgerald asked, "I have come to feel somewhat neglected. Isn't my reputation being allowed to slip away? I mean what's left of it." (John Kuehl and Jackson R. Bryer, editors. Dear Scott/Dear Max. New York: 2016. accessed online). Inscribed at his professional nadir, no longer with MGM and his books were out of print and languishing in warehouses, Fitzgerald clearly summarized his feelings about his state for Tatnall Brown in this copy of his most popular book. Fitzgerald died the next year at the age of forty-four. Tatnall Brown was a banker and former Dean of Haverford College.


    More Information:

    Printing points: "chatter" on p. 60, line 16; "northern" on p. 119, line 22; "it's" on p. 165, line 16; "away" on p. 165, line 29; "sick in tired" on p. 205, lines 9-10; and "Union Street station" on p. 211, lines 7-8.

    Henry Tatnall "Tat" Brown, Jr., was a noted book collector. Many books in his collection were inscribed, often by soliciting signatures from contemporary authors. He co-authored with Guy Redvers Lyle A Bibliography of Christopher Morley (1952), with whom he was close friends. He served as Dean of Haverford College from 1929 to 1942.





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    7th Wednesday
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