Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Beautiful and the Damned. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922. First edition, first state. Rebound in ¼ leather and cloth boards, with raised bands, gilt titles, and tooling to the spine. Gilded edges. New archival cloth slipcase.
Presented is a first edition, first state of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and the Damned. The book was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in New York in 1922. It is presented here, rebound, in gorgeous blue ¼ leather and cloth boards, with raised bands, gilt titles, and gilt tooling to the spine, and a new archival slipcase.
The Beautiful and the Damned was Fitzgerald’s second novel, following his debut This Side of Paradise. The book is an exploration of the nouveau riche, New York City nightlife in the 1920s, and the inner dynamics of two young and reckless newlyweds. Semi-autobigraphical, Fitzgerald modeled the characters of Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert on himself and his new spouse Zelda Fitzgerald and the story draws circumstantially upon the early years of Fitzgeralds' tempestuous marriage.
Fitzgerald started writing The Beautiful and the Damned in August of 1920, while in Westport Connecticut. Having reflected upon the criticisms of his debut novel This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald sought to improve upon the form and construction of his prose in this second book. He relied heavily on editorial suggestions from his friend Edmund Wilson and his editor Max Perkins. Remarking upon Fitzgerald's improved craftsmanship, literary critic H. L. Mencken wrote in his The Smart Set review: "There are a hundred signs in it of serious purpose and unquestionable skill. Even in its defects there is proof of hard striving. Fitzgerald ceases to be a wunderkind, and begins to come into his maturity."
Metropolitan Magazine serialized the manuscript in late 1921, and Charles Scribner's Sons published the book in March 1922. Scribner's prepared an initial print run of 20,000 copies.
The book was received with mixed critical reviews, yet it sold to the public well enough to warrant additional print runs of 50,000 copies.
“There is a profounder truth in The Beautiful and Damned than the author perhaps intended to convey: the hero and heroine are strange creatures without purpose or method, who give themselves up to wild debaucheries and do not, from beginning to end perform a single serious act; but you somehow get the impression that, in spite of their madness, they are the most rational people in the book.... The inference is that, in such a civilization, the sanest and most creditable thing is to forget organized society and live for the jazz of the moment” (Edmund Wilson, Literary Spotlight, 1924).
Rebound in blue ¼ leather and cloth boards with raised bands, gilt titles, and tooling to the spine, gilded edges, new endpaper. Conservation to the half title page. Interior pages are healthy with only light toning, no marks or staining. First Edition, first state. "Printed by the Scribner Press, New York, U.S.A." on the copyright page. Presented with a matching archival slipcase with a portrait of Fitzgerald inlaid on the front.
Dimensions: Book 7 3/4" H x 5 3/4" W x 1 1/2" D. Slipcase: 8 1/4" H x 5 7/8" W x 2 1/8" D.