"FROM F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, THE WELL-KNOWN AUTHOR": INSCRIBED TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE
FITZGERALD, F. Scott. Tales of the Jazz Age. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922. Octavo, original dark green cloth. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $35,000.
First edition, presentation copy inscribed on the front flyleaf, "For Jeannette Baker, from F. Scott Fitzgerald, the well-known author."
Fitzgerald's second collection of stories includes his masterpieces "A Diamond as Big as the Ritz" and "May Day." It was Fitzgerald's claim that he had coined the term "Jazz Age." Always retaining his affection for this era, Fitzgerald would later write, "It is the custom now to look back on the boom days with a disapproval that approaches horror. But it had its virtues, that old boom: Life was a great deal larger and gayer for most people and the stampede to the Spartan virtues in time of war and famine should not make us too dizzy to remember its hilarious glory" (Turnbull, 225). Nineteen thirty-nine, the year before his death, was a tough year for Fitzgerald. He had been living in California since 1937, and his early experience writing for Hollywood was turning ambition to discontent. He was struggling to write for the screen, or to make some money writing for the magazines. His books weren't selling, he was often ill and he had bouts of binge drinking. But by the end of the year he'd begun what would become his last novel, The Last Tycoon. Andrew Turnbull writes of Fitzgerald around this time, "Schooled by suffering—some self-inflicted, some not—he had attained a knowledge of himself and of the human condition that may truly be described as tragic" (Turnbull, 308-309). "Scribners' records show three printings of The Jazz Age in 1922." The printings were not differentiated by the publisher, however the textual correction of "and" to "an" on page 232, line 6, "was probably made in the third printing" (Bruccoli), indicating that this copy is from either the first or the second printing. Without original dust jacket. Bruccoli A9.I.a. The recipient, Jeannette Baker, has presented this copy with an ink inscription beneath Fitzgerald's: "To Jennifer Lee Blair (?), on her birthday, Oct 1, 1964, from her mama, Jeanette Baker Lee, in remembrance of innocent fun of the jazz age 42 years ago."
Upper corner of "A Table of Contents" clipped, just touching letterpress on page [viii]. Front inner paper hinge expertly reinforced; spine head pulled, very faint discoloration to front board. A very good copy, inscription and signature large and clear. Scarce and desirable inscribed.