"FITZGERALD HAD FOUND HIS VOICE": FIRST ISSUE OF THE GREAT GATSBY IN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE UNRESTORED ORIGINAL DUST JACKET, THE CENTERPIECE OF ANY MODERN AMERICAN FICTION COLLECTION
FITZGERALD, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925. Octavo, original green cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell box. $278,000.
First edition, first issue, in the very rare first-issue dust jacket, of one of the most important and sought-after classics of modern literature. An exceptional copy of this great rarity, fine in an exceptionally lovely and entirely unrestored dust jacket.
In 1922, having already written This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and the Damned, Fitzgerald told his publisher Max Perkins, "I want to write something new— something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned" (Bruccoli, 198). The triumphant result three years later was The Great Gatsby, published just before what Fitzgerald called the summer of "1,000 parties and no work" (Fitch, 183). Noted critic Cyril Connolly called Gatsby one of the half dozen best American novels: Gatsby "remains a prose poem of delight and sadness which has by now introduced two generations to the romance of America, as Huckleberry Finn and Leaves of Grass introduced those before it" (The Modern Movement, 48). Fitzgerald "had put away the harsh smartness which he considered the greatest flaw of his earlier work. Here in its place was a taut realism but also a gossamer romance, a yearning and straining after the beauty that hangs by a thread, a lyric compassion. Fitzgerald had found his voice and at last done something truly his own" (Turnbull, 150-51).
The dust jacket of The Great Gatsby is in itself something of a legend. According to one account, the jacket was actually commissioned months before the book was completed and Fitzgerald was so inspired by the haunting image of the eyes that he wrote a scene around it ("For Christ's sake don't give anyone that jacket," he wrote to Perkins. "I've written it into the book"). Not only is the dust jacket one of the most recognizable of the 20th century, it is also one of the rarest. First-issue book, with "sick in tired" on page 205, and all five other points; first-issue dust jacket, with "j" in "jay Gatsby" on back cover hand-corrected. Bruccoli A11.Ia.
Book about-fine; the very rare dust jacket was preserved in its excellent state by folding it into quarters, leaving a faintly visible fold line horizontal across the panels and another one vertical along the spine, with shallow wear to spine ends and tiny chip to rear panel upper margin. A beautiful copy, very desirable in a bright and clean unrestored dust jacket.