University of Virginia Library



This article represents an expanded form of a paper read at the Bibliography Section of the 1957 Modern Language Association meetings.


Marvin Mudrick, "Conrad and the Terms of Modern Criticism," Hudson Review, VI (1954), 421.


Gordon N. Ray, "The Importance of Original Editions," in Nineteenth-Century English Books, by Gordon N. Ray, Carl Weber, and John Carter (1952), p. 22. See also "Henry James Reprints," TLS, Feb. 5, 1949, p. 96.


C. S. Evans of the editorial department of Heinemann wrote Conrad on 2 Sept., 1920, about Donkin's inconsistent dialect: "I have queried the spelling of 'Hymposed,'" and so on. (See Life and Letters [London: Heinemann, 1927], II, 247-248, for the exchange with Evans.) J. D. Gordon in Joseph Conrad: The Making of a Novelist (1940), p. 139, et passim, discusses many of the revisions of the text. It might be possible to defend the use of an early text for The Nigger, but no reason is given in The Portable Conrad.


Though I cannot pretend to have examined them all, I know of only one independently produced paperback novel with good textual apparatus. This is Rinehart Editions' Lord Jim, which contains a collation of the four main texts. Riverside's Pride and Prejudice has a good text, but again Chapman's edition lies behind it. There must be, I am sure, many more good texts beside Lord Jim in the higher class of paperbacks, and even in the cheaper ones. But what publishers draw them to our attention, and what publisher doesn't (apparently) feel that a properly edited paperback novel will frighten away the common reader by its appearance?


Furthermore, it would be difficult to defend the choice of first-edition text, as one might for The Nigger of the "Narcissus," or Roderick Hudson, since James was writing in his intricate manner by 1902.


See J. W. Nichol, "Melville's 'Soiled Fish of the Sea,'" AL, XXI (1949), 338-339.


See John Carter, op. cit., p. 53 et passim; reasons for the lack of bibliographical study are also discussed.


Robert C. Slack, "The Text of Hardy's Jude the Obscure," N-CF, XI (1957), 275. Italics added.


William T. Hutchinson, "A Definitive Edition of Moby-Dick," AL, XXV (1954), 472-478.


See Fredson Bowers, Principles of Bibliographical Description (1949), p. 356 ff, for a discussion of these reasons on the part of the bibliographer. One should admit, furthermore, that the non-professional bibliographers, the scholarly readers and editors, may have reasons which are indefensible, but are nevertheless reasons. I daresay one would be shocked to know how many trained men feel today that novels aren't really "literature"; or that modern printing is either perfect or too complicated ever to be fathomed.


F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Tycoon, in Three Novels (1953), p. 157. Italics added.


See instalments 8, 9, 10 (Chapters XII and XIII, XIV and XV, XVI and XVII). The Pip-Magwitch strand is early developed as much as can be without giving away the plot. Pip loves Estella early, but is apprenticed back to Joe by the beginning of chapter XIII. The glad tidings of Great Expectations don's come until instalment 11. Without Orlick, more than four chapters would have to deal with domestic bliss and withdrawal. Orlick is introduced and attacks Mrs. Joe, all in the ninth instalment. At the other end of the book a similar situation obtains. The reconciliation with Miss Havisham comes in instalment 30; that with Joe is brief enough not to be needed until after instalment 33. Estella is not brought in until the end. Instalments 31, 32, 33 are needed, therefore, to make the 36 weekly unit structure complete—but they cannot all contain the secret plan to get Magwitch down stream. The reader cannot go boating with Pip, Startop, and Herbert for two entire instalments before the disastrous attempt to get Magwitch out of the country; so instalment 32 is devoted to Orlick's attempt to kill Pip. In other words, serial publication took Dickens to melodrama, but not quite in the crude form that one's unsubstantiated suspicions would indicate.


There are, it is encouraging to note, signs of change. In the last year or two, one has the feeling that perhaps six or eight articles appeared on the texts of 19th- or 20th-century novels. For example, see Linton Massey, "Notes on the Unrevised Galleys of Faulkner's Sanctuary," SB, VIII (1956), 195-208 or Matthew J. Bruccoli, "A Collation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise," SB, IX (1957), 263-265. The latter article is especially interesting in pointing out changes between impressions of editions. Having mentioned Dickens, I must add that Mrs. Tillotson has followed up her remark (op. cit.) that we have no Victorian texts, and "no means, short of doing the work ourselves, of discovering how (and why) the original edition differed from the text we read." I refer of course to John Butt and Kathleen Tillotson, Dickens at Work (1957); on the importance of part publication, it deals mainly with novels other than Great Expectations. While it also illustrates how long it takes for a general appreciation of the importance of bibliographical facts to culminate in a specific study, the book makes my comments on Dickens, so to speak, unspeakable.


The first edition has had three impressions: April, 1925, August, 1925, and August, 1942. I have collated three copies of the first impression, including Fitzgerald's personally corrected volume now located at Princeton. The August, 1942 impression I have not examined. I would like to record here my special thanks to Lawrence D. Stewart of Beverly Hills, California, for most kindly checking my collation against his copy of the rare second impression. The second edition of Gatsby is that printed with The Last Tycoon and certain stories, as supervized by Edmund Wilson It uses as copy-text the August, 1925 first edition. I have collated three impressions, 1941, 1945, 1948. The sub-edition of Gatsby, as printed with Tender is the Night and The Last Tycoon, in the Three Novels volume, has been collated in three impressions, 1953, 1956, 1957. The parent company, Scribner's, has permitted several reprints, which I have not examined thoroughly. There is also a recent (1957), third edition of Gatsby, by Scribner's, a paperback, called "Student's Edition." I shall refer to these editions of Gatsby by the short but obvious forms of First, Last Tycoon or LT, Three Novels or TN, Student's Edition or SE. For convenience I shall give the line in a page reference by a simple decimal; as TN 31.30, for Three Novels, p. 31, line 30.


My thanks are due to Princeton University Library for permitting me to examine both Fitzgerald's own copy of Gatsby and the surviving manuscripts. Doubtless I should add that since my special concern is the printed texts, I did not rigorously collate the mass of MS, TS, and galleys. I would like also to thank Wallace O. Meyer of Scribner's, Harold Ober, Edmund Wilson, Malcolm Cowley, and Dan C. Piper for their advice and for patiently answering my queries about the changes in the texts.


The comment is a trifle misleading, because the reading "orgastic" stands in MS, galleys, and first edition. Perhaps this is another example of Fitzgerald's well-known weakness in matters of spelling, grammar, and so on; at any rate, it can hardly be called a "proof error."


Arthur Mizener, The Far Side of Paradise (1951), p. 336, n. 22. Mizener points up the generally sad fate of Fitzgerald's texts by mentioning that the reprints of The Modern Library, New Directions, Bantam (first version), and Grosset and Dunlop all have the word "orgastic." One therefore assumes they reprint the first edition, though at least the Modern Library reprints the second impression. The later Bantam edition and The Portable Fitzgerald both use the faulty Last Tycoon as copy-text.


See, for example, the word "today," in LT, p. 280 line 36 and TN, p. 116 line 36; but "to-day" (as in First, p. 184 lines 7 and 10) is kept three lines later—LT p. 281.1, TN p. 117.1. In addition to forty-two such changes, there are six more which are nearly as minor: the word "sombre" is changed to "somber"; "armistice" to "Armistice," as examples. All these, and the change in the spelling of a name (Wolfshiem to Wolfsheim) which was usually but not always wrong in the first edition, are not included in my statistics.


See LT 203.4 and TN 39.4. The other changes in the August, 1925 First are as follows:

  • April, 1925 it's driver p.165.16
  • August 1925 its driver
  • April some distance away p.165.29
  • August some distance away.
  • April sick in tired p.205. 9 & 10
  • August sickantired
  • All four are, presumably, authorial.


See "lyric again in," First 62.17, LT 204.12. "lyric in," TN 40.12. Cf. "turbulent," First 20.17, LT 178.25, TN 14.25; "turbulence," First 7.28, LT 171.3, TN 7.3


See First, 35.21: Her eyebrows had been plucked and then drawn on again at a more rakish angle, but the efforts of nature. . . . LT 188.7 and TN 24.7 remove the comma.


First 111.14 and LT 234.5 When I try . . . TN 70.6 when I try . . .


First 115.25 generating on the air. So LT 236.33. TN 72.33 generating on the air


The sentence "It just shows you," mentioned above as an error begun in LT.


First 141.6, LT. 253.38, TN 89.38. Tom Buchanan is speaking and by closing a paragraph with quote marks, LT and TN give the reader the momentary impression that the next sentence and paragraph beginning "Come outside . . ." is by someone else. First 139.26, LT 253.7, TN 89.7 represent the obverse. "The bles-sed pre-cious. . . spoken by Daisy loses the quotation mark in LT and TN.


See First 153.8, LT 261.14, TN 97.14. TN alone reads "Biloxi, Mississippi." I realize that the line can be interpreted in other ways, that for example, Fitzgerald wished an obviously fictional town. But I cannot agree that Fitzgerald was so ignorant of Southern geography as to put the city in the wrong state. I am all the more certain that Fitzgerald meant it as a joke because there is other geographical wordplay in the same scene, and it is only four pages earlier that Tom snorts that Gatsby must have been an Oxford man—"Oxford, New Mexico."


The statement is not quite accurate: there are one or two other violations of this order, minor ones very late in the book. For example, the giving of Michaelis's testimony, p. 124 of TN is apparently after the scene on pp. 119 ff.


The scene was, in the manuscript, at the place where it is referred to in the chapter now numbered VIII, pp. 112 of TN. Fitzgerald then changed it to its present position, ending at TN 76, LT 241, First 121—Chapter VI.


Since I have mentioned Conrad so often, it might not be amiss to add Conrad's name to the list of influences mentioned by Cowley in the introduction to Three Novels. (See Fitzgerald's introduction to the Modern Library Gatsby and The Crack-Up for his interest in Conrad.) The time scheme of Gatsby is, of course, Conradian, as well as the narrator. And there are quite a few passages that echo Conrad—the closing section on the old Dutch sailors' feelings in New York might be a twist on parts of "Heart of Darkness." "In the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men," p. 4 of TN's Gatsby, is just one of the verbal echoes of Conrad. More pertinently, the intra-chapter break was a device very much used by the older author. For a detailed examination of this relationship, see R. W. Stallman, "Conrad and The Great Gatsby," TCL, I (1955), 5-12.


See First 121.26, LT 240 foot, TN 76 foot; First 163.26, LT 267 foot, TN 103 foot; First 192.16, LT 285 foot, TN 121 foot; First 214.21, LT 299.21, TN 135.21. In all but the last of these the break in the page comes at the turn-over of the page and, unfortunately, no space was left for it.


For the suppressed intra-chapter breaks, see TN 126.31 and SE 167.26; TN 132.24 and SE 175.19; TN 136.24 and SE 181.7. The other improvement is at TN 89.7 and SE 117.3, where SE returns to First to get the quotation marks of "The bles-sed . . ." as spoken by Daisy, correctly once more. SE 175.1 does not restore Nick's sentence "It just shows you." but it does "correct" the quotation marks that were wrong in the preceding sentence in TN 132.9.


I should add that the collation of these three editions has of course not been reproduced in full here — and there are several places in the text that call for emendation though there are no changes between editions. For example, Tom brings the car to a dusty spot under Wilson's sign. (So in First 147 and TN 93.23 and SE 123.7). Should it be a dusty stop?