“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, January 10, 1920, in New Orleans, LA

F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, is eagerly anticipating receiving the galleys for his first novel, This Side of Paradise, so he can correct them during his self-imposed writing retreat here in New Orleans. He is writing to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, 35, at Charles Scribner’s Sons in Manhattan, about his next novel:

I want to start it, but I don’t want to get broke in the middle and…have to write short stories again—because I don’t enjoy [writing stories] and just do it for money…There’s nothing in collections of short stories is there?”

perkins in suit

Max Perkins

A week later, Perkins writes back confirming Fitzgerald’s suspicions, but offering some encouragement:

It seems to me that [your stories] have the popular note which would be likely to make them sell in book form. I wish you did care more about writing them…because they have great value in making you a reputation and because they are quite worthwhile in themselves…Still we should not like to interfere with your novels…”

Perkins believes it’s a good idea to follow an author’s novel with a short story collection, increasing sales of both.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about Max Perkins and his relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and others in both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University’sOsher Lifelong Learning programs.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his writers, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.


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