The Great Gatsby.
"In memory of that week we went rowing in a bull-fiddle through the lovely lakes of Central Park": Exceptionally Rare Presentation Copy of The Great Gatsby; with a beautiful full-page inscription signed by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby.
FITZGERALD, F. Scott.
Item Number: 138936
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.
First edition, second issue of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece with all six second issue points present, including: “echolalia” on page 60, “southern” on page 119, “sickantired” on page 205, and “Union Station” on page 211. Octavo, original dark green cloth with gilt titles to the spine. Presentation copy, lengthily inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “For Theodore L. Liedemedt in memory of that week we went rowing in a bull-fiddle through the lovely lakes of Central Park, from Stravinski (Alias F. Scott Fitzgerald) May 1885 ‘Stuttgart.'” The recipient, Theodore L. Liedemedt, was a German-born musician and close personal friend of Fitzgerald’s. Kept in Liedemedt’s family for over ninety years, family lore has it that the two first met on board a transatlantic ship crossing in the 1920s (Fitzgerald traveled to Europe in 1921, 1924, 1928, and 1929). Liedemedt was a working musician who performed on some of those crossings. He died in 1929, just making it to 30. Fitzgerald, older only by three years, just outlived his friend, dying in 1940 at 44. A South New Jerseyian in the later part of his short life, Liedemedt arrived on American shores in 1915 during the First World War. He worked first on the crew of a German merchantman, interned in the Delaware River, then from June 1916 at a day job in Philadelphia. When the United States entered the First World War officially on April 6, 1917, Liedemedt was detained by the FBI on April 7. He was released a few days later when they found that he did not hare the political convictions of his home country and was, therefore, not a threat to the United States. Fitzgerald took up residence in New Jersey in in 1911 when he attended the Newman School, a Catholic prep school in Hackensack. After graduating he attending Princeton University, only a few miles from Liedemedt’s stomping grounds, where Fitzgerald abruptly left in 1917 to join the American Army. Having avoided active service in Europe he moved to New York City where he would begin his career as a writer. Fitzgerald and Liedemedt were never more than roughly 80 miles from each other, from Liedemedt’s landing in 1915 to his early death 14 years later. The nature of the inscription—knowing, familiar, full of inside references—points to an intimacy not documented in an other sources in Fitzgerald’s archives. In very good condition. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box made by the Harcourt Bindery. An exceptional inscription from Fitzgerald.
In 1922, Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Cyril Connolly called The Great Gatsby one of the half dozen best American novels: "Gatsby remains a prose poem of delight and sadness which has by now introduced two generations to the romance of America, as Huckleberry Finn and Leaves of Grass introduced those before it" (Modern Movement 48). Consistently gaining popularity after World War II, the novel became an important part of American high school curricula. Today it is widely considered to be a literary classic and a contender for the title "Great American Novel". In 1998, the Modern Library editorial board voted it the 20th century's best American novel and second best English-language novel of the same time period. It was the basis for numerous stage and film adaptations. Gatsby had four film adaptations, with two exceptionally big-budget versions: the 1974 version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, as well as Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 version starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carrie Mulligan. Fitzgerald’s granddaughter praised Lurhmann’s adaptation, stating “Scott would be proud.” Second printing, with “echolalia” on p. 60, “northern” for “southern” on p. 119, “sickantired” on p. 205, and “Union Street station” for “Union Station” on p. 211.