University of Virginia Library

The Corrections Lists for F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise
James L. W. West III

F. Scott Fitzgerald liked to make lists, "hundreds of lists: of cavalry leaders and football players and cities, and popular tunes and pitchers, and happy times, and hobbies and houses lived in and how many suits since I left the army and how many pairs of shoes . . . ."[1] And there are the famous lists in his writings: the list of New England schools in This Side of Paradise, the list of homosexuals in a rejected manuscript fragment of Tender is the Night, the guest list in The Great Gatsby.[2] This article, however, will deal with a different kind of list, a list (or in this case several lists) of changes that Fitzgerald wanted made in the plates of his first novel, This Side of Paradise. These lists, which Fitzgerald sent to Scribners during the spring and summer months after the March 1920 publication of This Side of Paradise, were recently found in the Scribner Archive at Princeton University Library. They supply new bibliographical evidence about the printing history of This Side of Paradise and establish Fitzgerald's attitude toward the faulty text of that book. For the student of textual problems, they also demonstrate that once a flawed text is in print, it is difficult for an author or his publisher to repair it.


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This Side of Paradise has a sloppy text. There are worse texts: prepublication cutting and tampering marred Look Homeward, Angel and Absalom, Absalom! and post-publication corruption damaged The Great Gatsby and The Wild Palms, but in the category of careless error This Side of Paradise is probably unequalled. Fitzgerald was a notoriously bad speller, and his grammar and punctuation were idiosyncratic to say the least. Examination of the manuscript of This Side of Paradise (among the Fitzgerald Papers at Princeton) reveals that many of the errors in the printed version of the novel were carried over intact from the manuscript. But a collation of this manuscript with the first printing of This Side of Paradise has also brought to light numerous additional mistakes that are almost surely attributable to typist and compositorial error or to careless copy-editing and proofing. Not all of the errors in the printed version, then, are Fitzgerald's.[3]

The mistake-riddled first printing of This Side of Paradise was published on 26 March 1920, and Fitzgerald was not long in hearing about the condition of his text. On 1 April 1920 Robert Bridges, editor of Scribner's Magazine, typed up the following office memo which listed eleven blunders:

THURSDAYm, APRIL 1st, 1920.

  • Page 28: Line 10: "Ex-Ambassador" should be "Ex-Minister."
  • Page 80: Line 7 from bottom: "Cambell" Hall should be "Campbell" Hall
  • Page 128: Line 13: "Dachari" should be "Daiquiri"
  • Page 226: Line 2 from bottom: "Benêt" should be "Benét"
  • Page 228: "I restless" should be "I am restless" (?)
  • Page 229: "Kerenski" should be "Kerensky"
  • Page 229: "Gunmeyer" should be "Guynemer"
  • Page 232, "Gouveneer" should be Gouverneur".
  • Page 294: "Mackeys" should be "Mackays".
  • Page 304, Line 19: "God's" should be "Gods" (plural
I also think the Dedication is wrong and that "Sigorney" should be spelled "Sigourney"; but I can't prove it.

Robert Bridges.[4]


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Fitzgerald, in New York in early April to marry Zelda Sayre, followed Bridges' list with a list of his own. On the backs of sheets of stationery from the Biltmore Hotel — Fitzgerald and his bride were honeymooning there — he wrote down 29 changes that he wanted made in the plates. Of these alterations, 19 corrected errors in spelling, punctuation, and word usage, and the other ten were stylistic. This is not the conventional accidental-substantive distinction; there are mixtures of accidentals and substantives in both categories:

    Corrections for This Side of Paradise

  • On Dedication page Substitute Sigourney for Sigorney
  • On page 6, line 7. change raconteur to the fem. gender
  • On page 17 Should be two quotation marks in front of Casey Jones.
  • On page 18, line 26. change Rhinehart to Rineheart
  • On page 3, (1st sentence in the book), put a comma after trait and one after few.
  • On page 51, line 9. Change Litt. to Lit.
  • On page 51, line 29, Change Cumizza to Cunizza
  • On page 56, line 2 Change Litt. to Lit.
  • On page 80, line 29 Change Cambell to Campbell or whatever correct spelling is.
  • Page 116, line 6. Substitute metier for flare
  • Page 117, Line 30 Substitute Lit. for Litt.
  • Page 119, line 4 One dot is outside the parenthesis
  • Page 180, line 24 Substitute shimmee entheusiasticly. for tickle-toe on the soft carpet
  • Page 182, line 27 Substitute the word utterly for the word just
  • P. 184, line 1 Should be unimpeachable instead of impeachable
  • P 199, 4th line from bottom Change juvenalia to juvenilia
  • Page 224, line 24 Change Jenny to Jennie
  • Page 224, line 25 Change Mckenzie to Mackenzie
  • P. 228, line 23 Change I restless to I am restless
  • P 229, line 17 Gunmeyer is not the correct Spelling of this name.
  • Page 234, line 8 juvenilia instead of juvenalia
  • Page 235, line 14 delete comma after sight
  • P 235, line 23 should read was dead and sound not yet awoken—Life cracked like ice!—one brilliant ect (In other words, the word life should be capitalized but not the word one)
  • P 240 Are the genders right in fifth line of poem?
  • P 251, Line 9 Stretch! should be Scratch!
  • P 296, line 27 deep should be much [5]

Scribners now had one list from Bridges and one from Fitzgerald. Maxwell Perkins, Fitzgerald's editor, apparently directed the printers at the Scribner Press to make the changes in these lists, for on 8 July 1920 he wrote to Fitzgerald that the corrections were made "in the earliest


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edition [i.e., printing] we could catch."[6] This was the fourth printing of May 1920. However, not all of the changes that Fitzgerald had asked for were made. No alteration was made in the French poem on page 240 (Fitzgerald would dictate a specific spelling change in a later list), and the spelling error "juvenalia" for "juvenilia" was left standing on both pages mentioned by Fitzgerald.

So matters stood through May and June and two more printings of This Side of Paradise. By now the book was attracting notice and selling well. Word of its success spread to England, and W. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. of London agreed to bring out an edition for the English market. News of the planned fresh typesetting reached Fitzgerald in Westport, Connecticut, where he and his wife were living for the summer, and caused him to write the following letter to Perkins:

Westport, Conn.
July 7th 1920
Dear Mr. Perkins:

In regard to this English edition of Paradise I want to ask you a favor. It seems to me that if the book appears there in a land of much more intense scholarship with approximately 100 mispellings and misprints it would hurt it.

You already have at least two lists of corrections Mr Bridges + mine + I am putting down herewith another list of additional ones some Harvard scholar sent me. I have gotten several letters recently which indicate that it is rather a mistake to let the book go thru edition after edition without corrections. Of course almost all the mistakes were mine but it was rather humiliating this morning to get a letter wondering whether "they left the mistakes in just as they did in the Young Visitors to keep the spirit of the original."[7]

At the end of this letter, Fitzgerald put down his second list of corrections, some of which had already been made in the plates and others of which were new:

    Corrections (3d list)[8]

  • [page] 4 Change Margaritta to Margherita
  • " 7 " Ashville to Asheville
  • " 120 " Dachari to Daiquiori
  • " 154 " Cecelia to Cecilia
  • " 176 " Johnston to Johnson
  • " 229 " Gunmyer to Guynemer
  • " 232 " Gouveneer to Gouveneur

  • 258

    Page 258
  • " 233 " Bennet to Bennett
  • " 240 " langeur to langueur
  • " 242 " Celleni to Cellini
  • " 252 " tens to teens
  • " 300 " bon to borne

If you can't find the other two lists I may be able to get another thorough list from some one.


All of the new errors mentioned in this second Fitzgerald list were changed in the Scribners plates. The new readings appeared in the seventh impression of August 1920. On 8 July 1920, Perkins wrote a letter to Fitzgerald telling him what was being done about the upcoming English edition:

As for the English edition, as they will set the book up, most of these corrections should be made by their proofreaders, — that is, unless proofreading in England has sunk to the level to which the war has somehow brought it here. We have virtually had to undertake to read typographically in the Editorial Department now, and that is a very different thing from the ordinary editorial reading which is done by way of making suggestions and criticism. It is purely the mechanical and therefore irksome. But to make sure that the English catch the mistakes, I will get together the lists you have sent and the one we have made and send a complete list to their editorial department.[10]
Perkins had on hand one list from Bridges and two from Fitzgerald, and he apparently conflated the three and sent the resulting list to Collins in London. This conflated list is not in the Scribner Archive at Princeton, but judging from the English publisher's reply to Scribners, one error was again not mentioned:

28th July 1920.
Messrs Charles Scribner's Sons.,
Fifth Avenue at 48th Street,

We are very much obliged to you for the corrections that you have sent us for "THIS SIDE OF PARADISE". We will read the book very carefully for press in any case and will see that these are incorporated. We notice one mistake which you have not given in your list which is, that the author repeatedly uses the word juvenalia instead of juvenilia.[11]


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On this side of the Atlantic, new criticism of the text of This Side of Paradise was appearing. Franklin P. Adams in his New York Tribune column "The Conning Tower" for 6 July 1920 attacked Fitzgerald for writing a book that was "sloppy and cocky; impudent instead of confident; and verbose. It is doubtful whether the Scribner proofreading is at fault for the numerous errors; and if they are the author's, they indicate a sloppy carelessness that it will pay Mr. Fitzgerald to overcome." Adams followed his remarks with a list of errors which he evidently got from a first, second, or third printing of This Side of Paradise, since some of them had by that time been changed in subsequent printings:

He speaks, for example, of "Frank on the Mississippi." The book is "Frank on the Lower Mississippi," as any slippered pantaloon who used to read Harry Castlemon will recall. Other instances of Mr. Fitzgerald's disregard for accuracy follow:
  • Ashville [Compton] McKenzie
  • Collar and Daniel's "First-Year Latin" Fanny Hurst
  • Mary Roberts Rhinehart Lorelie
  • cut a swathe "Ghunga Dhin"
  • [Swinburne's] "Poems and Ballades" flambuoyant
  • "Jenny Gerhardt" "Come Into the Garden, Maude"
  • flare [for flair]
  • [Arnold] Bennet
  • Gouveneer Morris[12]

Fitzgerald was undoubtedly troubled by these fresh evidences of error in his book. His response was another letter to Perkins and another list of errors:

Westport, Conn.
July 16th, 1920
Dear Mr. Perkins:

Last week in the Tribune F. P. A. balled out my book and gave a long list of mispellings — I find by looking at the sixth edition that many of those first list of corrections havn't been made — for instance juvenalia (twice) in the section called "Tom the Censor" in "Experiments in Convalescense." I really think it has been a mistake to let it go so long.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

F Scott Fitz


Page 260

F.P.A. finds the following new misspellings

Frank on the Mississippi should be Frank on the Lower Mississippi
Chap I

Collar + Daniel's First-Year Latin (mispelt)
Chap I

Cut a swathe (mispelt) Chap II

Poems + Ballades should be Poems + Ballads
(Chap II)

  • Fanny Hurst should be Fannie Hurst
  • Lorelie (mispelt)
  • Ghunga Dhin (mispelt)
  • Flambuoyant (mispelt)
  • Come Into the Garden, Maude. (mispelt?)[13]

But F.P.A. was not through with This Side of Paradise. In his 14 July 1920 column he published a second collection of errors from the book — this list supplied him by someone with the initials "C. W."

  • inexplicably (for inextricably) Christie Mathewson
  • Mont Martre confectionary
  • tetotalling Lyoff Tolstoi
  • Samuel Johnston Juvenalia
  • Celleni forborne
  • stimulous born (for borne)

Fitzgerald, still anxious to patch up his novel, sent a postcard to Perkins three days later giving his fourth and last list of errors:

Westport, Conn.
July 17th 1920

F.P.A. is at it again. Here is his latest list

  • Old New Ones
  • juvenalia Christie Mathewson
  • born for borne confectionary
  • Cellini Lyoff Tolstoi
  • Samuel Johnston forborne
  • inexplicably for inextricably
  • Mont Martre
  • tetotalling
  • stimulous

Havn't my copy of the book so don't know where these occur

F Scott Fitzgerald[14]

Perkins, with Fitzgerald's third and fourth lists in hand, did some checking and wrote back to Fitzgerald on 30 July 1920. His letter indicates that he, too, wanted to mend the text of This Side of Paradise:


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I was disappointed to find you were right about the corrections you named not having been made in the sixth edition. I am sending you a list of the corrections that were made and I am sending a list of those that still should be made to our press for the next edition.[15]
For his third and fourth lists, however, Fitzgerald had not given Perkins page or line references to the readings, and probably for this reason only one of the new errors from these last two lists was located: "Ghunga Dhin" at 18.22 was changed to "Gunga Dhin." Also, the correct reading "Rinehart" at 18.26 (which itself was a plate change over erroneous "Rhinehart" of the first three printings) was altered again between the sixth and seventh printings to read "Rineheart," the wrong spelling Fitzgerald had suggested in his first list. These two changes, like the ones from Fitzgerald's third list, appeared for the first time in the seventh printing of the book. That ended the work on the plates of This Side of Paradise; the novel finished out its run and these plates were probably stored. When they were resurrected in 1947 for a new printing, only a little type batter had been added.

Here we might pause and count up the number of corrections lists that seem to have been made. They are: (1) Robert Bridges' list of 1 April 1920; (2) Fitzgerald's first list, probably compiled in early April 1920; (3) the list "some Harvard scholar" sent to Fitzgerald; (4) Fitzgerald's second list, made for the English edition and included in a 7 July 1920 letter to Perkins; (5) Perkins' conflated list which he sent to Collins in London probably in early July 1920; (6) F.P.A.'s first list in his column for 6 July 1920; (7) Fitzgerald's third list, occasioned by F.P.A.'s first list — this list was sent to Perkins on 16 July 1920; (8) the list put together by "C. W." and published in F.P.A.'s column for 14 July 1920; (9) Fitzgerald's fourth list, occasioned by "C.W.'s" list—this list was sent to Perkins on 17 July 1920; (10) Perkins' "list of the corrections that were made" which he told Fitzgerald he was going to send to him; (11) Perkins' "list of those that still should be made" which he told Fitzgerald that he would send "to our press for the next edition."

With so much effort going into the making of lists, one wonders what happened to the plates. The machine collation below tells the story. There are no unexplained changes; each plate variant is mentioned in at least one of the lists given above:[16]


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First  Fourth  Seventh 
Line  Printing  Printing  Printing 
3.1  trait  trait, 
3.2  few  few, 
4.1  Margaritta  Margherita 
6.7  raconteur  raconteuse 
7.33  Ashville  Asheville 
17.3  'Casey-Jones   "Casey-Jones  
18.22  "Ghunga Dhin,"  "Gunga Dhin," 
18.26  Rhinehart  Rinehart  Rineheart 
28.10  ex-ambassador  ex-minister 
51.9  Litt.  Lit. 
51.29  Cumizza   Cunizza  
56.2  Litt.   Lit.  
80.29  Cambell  Campbell 
116.6  flare  metier 
117.30  Litt.   Lit.  
119.4  Booth . . .).  Booth . . .) 
120.13  Dachari  Daiquiri 
154.--  Cecelia  Cecilia 
176.36  Johnston  Johnson 
180.25  tickle-toe   shimmy  
on the soft carpet   enthusiastically  
182.27  just   utterly  
184.1  impeachable   unimpeachable  
224.24  Jenny  Jennie 
224.25  McKenzie  Mackenzie 
226.35  Benêt  Benêt 
228.23  I restless  I am restless 
229.13  Kerenski  Kerensky 
229.17  Gunmeyer  Guynemer 
232.21  Gouveneer  Gouverneur 
233.14  Bennet  Bennett 
235.14  sight,   sight  
235.23  life   Life  
235.24  One   --one  
240.28  langeur   langueur  
242.26  Celleni  Cellini 
251.9  Stretch!  Scratch! 
252.34  tens  teens 
294.23  Mackeys  Mackays 
296.27  deep  much 
300.27  born  borne 
304.19  God's  Gods 

But this chart only shows changes. Some errors were corrected in one spot but left standing in another. For example, "Bennet" at 233.14 was


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altered to "Bennett" but a second "Bennet" referring to the same English novelist was left at 224.25. "Ashville" at 7.33 was corrected to "Asheville" but another "Ashville" five lines above at 7.28 was untouched. Other errors mentioned by Fitzgerald were not corrected: for instance, "flambuoyant" at 49.15 was left alone, and "Juvenalia" at 234.8 and 235.2 and "juvenalia" at 199.29 were never changed. And there are errors in the text of the first edition that were not noticed by any of the list-makers. See, for example, the readings at 139.21 and 233.8.[17]

As late as 1922, at least one critic was still chiding Fitzgerald and Scribners about the errors in This Side of Paradise. In his first essay on Fitzgerald, Edmund Wilson wrote of the novel, "it is one of the most illiterate books of any merit ever published (a fault which the publisher's wretched proofreading apparently made no effort to correct). It is not only full of bogus ideas and faked literary references but it is full of English words misused with the most reckless abandon."[18] Fitzgerald was embarrassed by the text of This Side of Paradise. In the novel he had flaunted his familiarity with books, poems, critics, authors, and philosophers. He had attempted to balance his showiness with a good dose of irony, but the misspelled words, incorrect titles, and wrong names undercut his attitude more than he had intended. Indeed, these mistakes were the beginning of Fitzgerald's largely undeserved reputation for pseudo-intellectuality, a reputation that is still brought out and aired occasionally today.

Fitzgerald remained aware of the errors in This Side of Paradise for the rest of his life. He once inscribed a copy of the novel: "This book is a history of mistakes — something never retracted yet, in a way, to be ashamed of, by a conscientious worker . . . Scott Fitzgerald."[19] In 1938 he tried to persuade Scribners to bring out a new impression of the novel, and having given up hope of getting the errors expunged from the plates, was toying with the idea of writing a "glossary of absurdities and inaccuracies"[20] for the printing. No new impression was issued, however, and no


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such glossary seems to survive. Fitzgerald's scheme to turn errors into assets apparently died with him in 1940.

Today, there is still no reliable text of This Side of Paradise available. Scribners preserved most of the errors in the last printing of the first edition when they re-set the novel in 1960. In fact, the 1960 Scribners edition — distributed as a Scribner Library paperback and widely used by students, teachers, and even by publishing scholars — is worse than the 1920 text it is based on. A collation of the first printing of Scribners 1920 against the clothbound B-11.60[H] printing of Scribners 1960 reveals some 187 variants, a figure that does not include minor features of typography. Of the 187 changes, 40 enter the 1960 text legitimately from plate alterations in the first edition. Twenty-four of the remaining 147 variants are substantive, but only two of these substantive changes — at 127.26 and 270.22 of the 1960 text — can be classed as corrections. The other 22 changes are new corruptions. As might be expected, the 1960 text preserves "Juvenalia" at 218.25, "Juvenalia" at 219.17, and "juvenalia" at 186.20.

The errors in This Side of Paradise are significant. They figure in the initial reception of the book and in its subsequent critical reputation. One might even say that the mistakes have become a part of the history of the novel. But as has been noted, not all of the errors in the book are Fitzgerald's. Blame for the mistakes has to be distributed all along the line of textual transmission. Fitzgerald deserves some of the blame, but as he wrote years later of the errors in This Side of Paradise: — "My God — did they expect me to spell? If I was such a hot shot couldn't the proof-readers do the spelling?"[21]

The errors in This Side of Paradise should not be perpetuated. We are not getting the flavor of Fitzgerald's idiosyncratic spelling and word usage. We are instead getting a book marred by the careless error of most of the people — Fitzgerald included — who were involved in its original publication.



F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack-Up," Esquire, (February 1936), p. 8. Reprinted in The Crack-Up, ed. Edmund Wilson (1945), pp. 71-72.


This Side of Paradise (1920), p. 25; for the rejected fragment see Matthew J. Bruccoli, The Composition of Tender is the Night A Study of the Manuscripts (1963), pp. 44-45; The Great Gatsby (1925), pp. 73-76.


No typescript of This Side of Paradise appears to survive, but there are errors in the published text that could only have been made by non-authorial hands. For example, on page 183 of the first edition, the sentences and paragraphs are badly jumbled because whoever typed the section misunderstood Fitzgerald's marginal notes in the manuscript.


Copyright © 1972 by Charles Scribner's Sons. From an Office Memo prepared by Robert Bridges of Charles Scribner's Sons. Used by permission of Charles Scribner's Sons. (I have preserved all errors and irregularities in this list and the many errors in the lists and letters that follow.)


Reproduced with the permission of Harold Ober Associates, Incorporated. Copyright © 1972 by Frances Scott Fitzgerald Smith.


Copyright © 1972 by Charles Scribner's Sons. Excerpt from letter dated 8 July 1920, Maxwell E. Perkins to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Used by permission of Charles Scribner's Sons.


The Young Visiters (1919) was written by a nine-year-old girl named Daisy Ashford. Her errors in spelling and word usage were preserved in the book, as the title shows.


Fitzgerald was counting Bridges' list as number one, his own first list as number two, and this list, his second, as number three.


The first paragraph of this letter has been published in Dear Scott/Dear Max The Fitzgerald-Perkins Correspondence (1971), p. 31. The second paragraph of the letter and the list of errors are reproduced with the permission of Harold Ober Associates, Incorporated. Copyright © 1972 by Frances Scott Fitzgerald Smith.


Copyright © 1972 by Charles Scribner's Sons. Excerpt from letter dated 8 July 1920, Maxwell E. Perkins to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Used by permission of Charles Scribner's Sons.


Reproduced with the permission of Collins—Publishers; London, England. Despite these promises, the English edition was no better than the American edition. Collins' text departs from the Scribners first printing in some 850 readings, not counting minor features of house styling. Most of the variants are what one usually finds between an American and an English text, but others are clearly errors or editorial sophistications.


The bracketed information was supplied by Adams and appears here as it did in his column.


Reproduced with the permission of Harold Ober Associates, Incorporated. Copyright © 1972 by Frances Scott Fitzgerald Smith.


Reproduced with the permission of Harold Ober Associates, Incorporated. Copyright © 1972 by Frances Scott Fitzgerald Smith.


Copyright © 1972 by Charles Scribner's Sons. Excerpt from letter dated 30 July 1920, Maxwell E. Perkins to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Used by permission of Charles Scribner's Sons. Neither list mentioned in Perkins' letter survives in the Scribner Archive, but some notice of the new errors must have been sent to the printers since one of the new mistakes from Fitzgerald's fourth list was located and altered in the plates. See the next two sentences of this article for details.


This collation was first done by Matthew J. Bruccoli and published in his article "A Collation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise," SB, 9 (1957). That collation, done on an early Hinman Machine, turned up 31 variants. The present collation, done in August 1970 on Professor Bruccoli's Lindstrand Comparator and checked against copies of This Side of Paradise in his Fitzgerald collection, has brought to light 11 new variants.


A partial record of Fitzgerald's attempt to mend the errors in This Side of Paradise survives in his personal copy of the novel. A first printing of the first edition, this copy has Fitzgerald's comments and corrections marked in it. Professor Bruccoli has prepared a full table of these markings and has published it in the 1971 Fitzgerald/ Hemingway Annual.


"The Literary Spotlight," Bookman, 55 (March 1922), 22.


Quoted from a 1961 House of Books catalog in Fitzgerald Newsletter, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli (Washington: Microcard, 1969), p. 80. No date is given with the inscription.


Fitzgerald to Perkins, 24 December 1938, Scribner Archive, Princeton. Fitzgerald was especially anxious during his last years to give his old books new life. In his last letter to Perkins, written on 13 December 1940, eight days before his death, he appended a postscript asking how much it would cost for him to purchase the plates of This Side of Paradise. Both of these letters are printed in The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Andrew Turnbull (1963), pp. 280-281 and 290-291.


From an unpublished typescript version of Fitzgerald's 1937 essay "Early Success," Fitzgerald Papers, Princeton. Reproduced by permission of Harold Ober Associates, Incorporated. Copyright © 1972 by Frances Scott Fitzgerald Smith.