First Edition of Taps At Reveille; Inscribed by F. Scott Fitzgerald To His Secretary
Taps at Reveille.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott.$45,000.00
Item Number: 3024
New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1935.
First edition, first state, with pages 349-52 uncancelled and with “catch it” reading on page 351. Octavo, original cloth. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “For Isabel Owens Hoping we’ll both be able to look back to this winter as a bleak exception, in a business way from F. Scott (“Old Scrooge”) Fitzgerald.” The recipient, Isabel Owens worked full-time as Fitzgerald’s Baltimore secretary from 1932-36. She continued part-time in this role until his death in 1940. In addition to her secretarial duties, Owens acted as a foster mother to the Fitzgeralds’ daughter Scottie and companion to Zelda. In near fine condition with the spine gilt bright in a very good dust jacket with some expert restoration to the folds. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. A wonderful association copy.
Taps at Reveille was published in 1935 and is a collection of 18 short stories, the final collection of short stories Fitzgerald published. He chose for inclusion in this volume what he considered his best short stories from the previous decade. The Freshest Boy, Crazy Sunday, and Babylon Revisited are the more popular short stories. Edith Walton reviewed the collection in The New York Times (1935): "Basil Duke Lee [in The Freshest Boy] is a bright, sensitive, likeable boy, constantly betrayed by a fatal tendency to brag and boss. He knows his failing, especially after the minor hell of his first year at boarding school, but again and again he is impelled to ruin an initial good impressionMr. Fitzgerald is always miraculously adept at describing adolescent love affairs and adolescent swagger." Walton considered Babylon Revisited, however, "probably the most mature and substantial story in the book. A ruefulfarewell to the Jazz Age, its setting is Paris and its tone one of anguish for past follies." In 1954, the short story was cinematized by MGM and starred Elizabeth Taylor and Roger Moore's as his Hollywood debut. The Oscar winning title song, by Jerome Kern, featured first in Lady Be Good (1941) but it was popularized by its play in this beloved drama. Film critic Bosley Crowther praised it when she said, "Where Fitzgerald did it in a few words-in a few subtle phrases that evoked a reckless era of golden dissipation toward the end of the Twenties' boom-Richard Brookshas done it in a nigh two-hour assembly of bistro balderdash and lush, romantic scenes" (Crowther, 1954). Consequently, Taps at Reveille both sheds light on the literary and cinematic climate of the decade and provides insight into some of Fitzgerald's final publications. Fitzgerald dedicated Taps at Reveille to his literary agent Harold Ober, who worked also for writers of Walton's status - J.D. Salinger and William Faulkner.