“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, mid-February, 1921, New York City, New York

Edmund Wilson, 25, managing editor of Vanity Fair, was pleased when his friend from his Princeton University years, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 24, asked him to edit a draft of his second novel, The Flight of the Rocket.

Edmund Wilson article in Vanity Fair

At first Wilson felt that the story was a bit silly, just a re-hashing of Fitzgerald’s dramatic summer spent fighting with his new wife, Zelda, 20, in Westport, Connecticut.

But now that he has gotten farther into the manuscript, Wilson is beginning to see that Fitzgerald’s writing has matured and shows more emotional power than his previous fiction. Might want to change that title, though.

Earlier this month, Fitzgerald had written to his Scribner’s editor, Maxwell Perkins, 36, to assure him that he is “working like the deuce” on the novel, whose publication date has been postponed a few times already.

Literary Help and Encouragement

Dedication page of Fitzgerald’s second novel

Fitzgerald also mentioned that his income taxes are due and he’s about $1,000 short, signing the letter

Inevitable Beggar.”

Perkins wrote back to tell him that he is still owed a couple of thousand dollars in royalties from his hit first novel, This Side of Paradise.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I—1920 is available on Amazon in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Later this month I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in Paris and New York in the Osher programs at CMU and the University of Pittsburgh.

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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