F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Letter to a Fellow Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald

June 21st, 1927

Ellerslie, Edgemoor, Delaware

Dear Charlie: My reason for the long delay is the unusual one. That, owing to a review I’d read, I didn’t approach “Heart in a Hurricane” with high expectations. I’m happy to say that I was absolutely wrong. It is a damn good piece of humorous writing from end to end —much better than anything of its sort I’ve read in years. The character is quite clear—clearest, if I may say so, when his tastes are least exhaustively cataloged. And the three girls are all recognizable and thoroughly amusing. Best of all is the background. I liked the scene in the Colony, in the tough dive and at the houseparty—and forgave such episodes as the false [thug?] and such epigrams as—but looking over the pages I don’t find any that are so bad! I wish you’d try something with a plot, or an interrelation between two or more characters, running through the whole book. Episodes held together an “idea,” in its fragilest sense, don’t give the opportunity for workmanship or for really effective effects. I take the liberty of saying this because there is so much talent and humor and discernment in the book as a whole.

Remember, if George comes down here we’d love to have you too. This sounds rude—but you know what I mean. Sorry I was so drunk & dull the other night.

With Many Congratulations and Cordial Good Wishes,

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Years Later: Dear Charlie: We are at last at peace in the wilderness with nothing to drink but rasberry shrubb, medeaeval mead and applejack. Pray gravity to move your bowels. Its little we get done for us in this world. F.S.F.

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2 thoughts on “F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Letter to a Fellow Author

  1. Quite diplomatic with his criticism, considering he was critiquing a friend’s work–a friend whose work was not remotely threatening. I’m thinking he wouldn’t have been so generous to Hemingway–but then Hemingway would never have asked Fitzgerald for a “review.”

    Here’s the link to the Archives of American Art if you’d like to see the handwritten letter in full:
    http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/images/detail/f-scott-fitzgerald-letter-to-charles-green-shaw-6066

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