Description

    F. Scott Fitzgerald. Taps at Reveille. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935. First edition, first state, with pages 349-352 uncancelled and the text unrevised on pages 350 and 351. One of only 5,100 copies printed. Octavo (approximately 7.5 x 5.125 inches; 190 x 130 mm.). [12], 407, [1, blank] pages. Original dark bluish green cloth linen-grain cloth with blind single-rule border on front cover and with spine ruled and lettered in gilt. Top and bottom edges trimmed. Minor rubbing to spine extremities; top corner of rear cover bumped, remaining corners very slightly bumped; cloth blister at lower edge of rear cover; slight soiling or discoloration to top board edges; top edge dust-soiled, with a few tiny scratch marks; endpapers browned slightly at the edges; old bookseller's price in pink pencil on front pastedown. Preliminary pages [9/10] and [11/12] (contents leaf and following fly-leaf) and pages 1/2 and 3/4 of text unopened; pages 403/404 and 405/406 still partially unopened. Tiny adhesion lower edge of page 259, with slight offset onto page 258; a few tiny marginal stains or paper flaws; small indentation in the lower corner of several leaves, the deepest impression on pages 207/208; a few leaves with tiny edge dings; the two center leaves of several gatherings with slight diagonal crease in the upper margin; printing flaw on page 381 (a vertical line in the outer margin). A near fine copy, the cloth exceptionally clean and the spine gilt bright. In the original color pictorial dust jacket by Doris Spiegel, with drawings of figures from the stories against an orange background on the front panel. The front flap has been clipped, but the $2.50 price is printed on the rear flap. Jacket with light wear and soiling mostly to edges and folds; spine faded slightly and rubbed, with a few small chips at extremities; quarter-inch tear to lower edge of front panel, and a small abraded area; artist's name on front panel mostly rubbed away; tiny tear to front panel at flap fold. An attractive, unrestored example. Bruccoli, Fitzgerald, A18.1.a1 ("First edition, only printing, first state"). From the collection of Donald Kaufmann.

    More Information:

    Taps at Reveille was Fitzgerald's fourth collection of short stories, and the last collection published during his lifetime. "From November 1934 to January 1935 Fitzgerald worked on assembling his fourth story collection. With some misgivings he titled it Taps at Reveille, expressing concern that women would not know how to pronounce 'reveille'...After considerable juggling of the contents, Fitzgerald settled on eighteen stories: five Basil stories ('The Scandal Detectives,' 'The Freshest Boy,' 'He Thinks He's Wonderful,' 'The Captured Shadow,' 'The Perfect Life'), three Josephine stories ('First Blood,' 'A Nice Quiet Place,' 'A Woman with a Past'), 'Crazy Sunday,' 'Two Wrongs,' 'The Night of Chancellorsville,' 'The Last of the Belles,' 'Majesty,' 'Family in the Wind,' 'A Short Trip Home,' 'One Interne,' 'The Fiend,' and 'Babylon Revisited.' Taps at Reveille was Fitzgerald's largest collection. Despite the two uncharacteristic Esquire stories, 'The Fiend' and 'The Night of Chancellorsville,' it was a balanced volume, beginning with Basil and Josephine and including strong stories from the Thirties...Published on 10 [i.e., 20] March 1935 in a printing of 5,100 copies, Taps was dedicated to Harold Ober. As was always the case with Fitzgerald's story volumes, the reviews were mainly favorable; but a $2.50 book of stories was a luxury item in 1935, and the collection was not reprinted" (Matthew J. Bruccoli, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald (2002), pp. 390-391).

    "F. Scott Fitzgerald's short-story collection Taps at Reveille has a complicated textual history. On 15 May 1934, a little more than a month after the formal publication of his novel Tender Is the Night, Fitzgerald wrote to Maxwell Perkins, his editor at Charles Scribner's Sons, offering four plans for a new book to be published in the fall. The practice at Scribners was to follow a novel or other major book with a collection of shorter pieces-usually, for fiction writers, a collection of short stories...Taps at Reveille was formally published on 20 March 1935 at $2.50 per copy. Scribners manufactured 5,100 copies of the first impression...The haphazard production and proofing of Taps at Reveille left marks on the published text. The stories were disfigured by numerous misspellings and typographical errors...Two slugs of linotype at 346.7-8 of the first edition were switched, creating a jumble of text. 'One Interne' was marred by two near-nonsensical passages. At 350.5-7 one finds: 'he need not base himself on the adding machine-calculating machine-probability machine-St. Francis of Assis machine any longer.' And at 351.29-30 the text reads: '"Oh, catch it-oh, catch it and take it-oh, catch it," she sighed.' Fitzgerald noticed these passages soon after publication and sent corrections to Perkins. For page 350 he asked that the text be made to read: 'need not base himself upon that human mixture of adding machines and St. Francis of Assis [sic] any longer.' And for page 351 he requested that the sentence read: '"Oh, things like that happen whenever there are a lot of men together."' So far as can be determined from the surviving evidence, the readings that displeased Fitzgerald were his own fault. Perkins, knowing that Taps at Reveille was unlikely to sell in high enough numbers to make necessary a second printing, had the corrections introduced into the remaining bound stock by having the printers prepare a second state of the first printing-a fussy and expensive business. The erroneous text was chiseled off the printing plates for pages 350 and 351 (a facing verso and recto). The corrected text, typeset and electrotyped, was mortised in. New leaves for pages 349-50 and 351-52 were printed...using the same paper stock that had been employed for the first state. These new leaves, which a bibliographer would call 'cancellantia,' or simply 'cancels,' were now run through a paper cutter and reduced to the trim size of the book...Next came handwork at the bindery: the leaves bearing the offending readings were removed from the remaining copies of Taps at Reveille with a cutting tool, leaving stubs in the gutters where these leaves had been. Glue was applied to the corrected leaves along the inner edges, and these leaves were inserted into the books by hand so that the inner edges would be glued to the stubs...For a descriptive bibliographer this creates a second state of the first impression; the copies with the uncorrected leaves bound integrally constitute the first state" (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Taps at Reveille (2014), The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by James L. W. West III, pages ix, and xv-xvii of the Introduction).

    Edith H. Walton's review, "Scott Fitzgerald's Tales," in The New York Times, March 31, 1935, offered mixed praise: "The characteristic seal of his brilliance stamps the entire book, but it is a brilliance which sputters off too frequently into mere razzle-dazzle...Scott Fitzgerald's mastery of style-swift, sure, polished, firm-is so complete that even his most trivial efforts are dignified by his technical competence. All his writing has a glamourous gloss upon it; it is always entertaining; it is always beautifully executed. Only when one seeks to discover what he has really said, what his stories really amount to, is one conscious of a certain emptiness. 'Taps at Reveille' will bore no one, and offend no trained intelligence, but when one remembers how fine a writer Mr. Fitzgerald could still be, it simply is not good enough" (http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/12/24/specials/fitzgerald-taps.html).



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