Description

    Inscribed by F. Scott Fitzgerald to Hollywood Friend, Ned Griffith

    F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby. New York: The Modern Library, [1934].

    First Modern Library edition, with the first appearance of Fitzgerald's new introduction, inscribed and signed by Fitzgerald: "For Ned Griffith / from his friend / F. Scott Fitzgerald / Hollywood 1939." Octavo (6.5 x 4.125 inches; 165 x 112 mm.). xi, [3], 218, [6, publisher's ads] pages.

    Original publisher's blue cloth in original printed paper jacket encapsulated in mylar. Modern Library torchbearer emblem stamped in gilt on front board. Spine lettered in gilt. Modern Library endpapers printed in orange. Stanley Rose Bookshop ticket affixed to rear pastedown. Very subtle toning to outer margins. A 0.25 x 0.0625 inch hole to lower outer corner of front free endpaper. Lower outer corner of front board bumped, exposing pasteboard. Boards with sun fading, patterned according to the darker and lighter parts of the jacket through which the light filtered, leaving a kind of "ghost impression" of the jacket design on especially the front board. Front and rear flaps clipped; jacket is intact in the mylar but very badly faded, with significant chips and tears along the edges, and holes in the front and rear and spine panels. Overall a good copy in an acceptable jacket.

    A charming association copy with a signed, half-title inscription to Fitzgerald's friend Ned Griffith. In Every Book Its Reader (HarperCollins, 2005 ), Nicholas Basbanes recounts a conversation with renowned Fitzgerald collector Dr. Matthew Bruccoli about the instructional quality of Fitzgerald's inscriptions, using another one of the author's 1939 inscriptions to Ned Griffith (from Bruccoli's copy of Tender is the Night) as an example: "For Ned Griffith, who liked Gatsby, with a recommendation he dip into this at page 151, and if he is interested in those chapters, goes back and reads the story, with admiration, from F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hollywood 1939." Though not as directional, it is probable that the inscription in the present copy of Gatsby preceded the Tender inscription -- and possible that it preceded the Tender inscription by perhaps only several moments.

    The first Modern Library edition of The Great Gatsby was a resounding commercial failure, and many copies were remaindered with the caption "discontinued title" printed on the jacket's front panel. The present copy represents one of the earlier, non-remaindered copies, and like all of the first Modern Library editions of Gatsby, features Fitzgerald's new introduction, with his own, now-famous take on his masterwork: "I think it is an honest book, that is to say, that one used none of one's virtuosity to get an effect, and, to boast again, one soft-pedalled the emotional side to avoid the tears leaking from the socket of the left eye, or the large false face peering around the corner of a character's head. If there is a clear conscience, a book can survive -- at least in one's feelings about it. On the contrary, if one has a guilty conscience, one reads what one wants to hear out of reviews. In addition, if one is young and willing to learn, almost all reviews have a value, even the ones that seem unfair."


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    7th-9th Thursday-Saturday
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