Late spring makes me excited for summer. And the thought of summer and of leaving the city makes me think about The Great Gatsby.
This week’s Throwback Thursday gift is a first edition of The Great Gatsby.
The author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, gave this to fellow writer and friend Harold Goldman.
Goldman and Fitzgerald worked together in Hollywood in the 1930s, after the book was first published.
They worked together on the film A Yank at Oxford which was released in 1938. In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby famously assets himself an ‘Oxford man’ (a half-truth) and says and all his ancestors were educated there (a full lie).
Not much is known about the friendship between the two writers but this gift suggests that they were close enough to joke around.
The inscription humorously reads: ‘For Harold Goldman, the original ‘Gatsby’ of this story, with thanks for letting me reveal these secrets of his past. Alcatraz Cell Block 17 (I’ll be out soon, kid. Remember me to the mob. Fitzgerald.)’
The name of the high-security prison, Alcatraz, was a nickname for MGM studios. Cell Block 17 is a reference to the office where the pair worked. It’s more than a hint at Fitzgerald’s feelings about the place.
When The Great Gatsby was published in 1925, critics called it a ‘dud’. It is now considered one of the greatest works of American literature.
The copy above was sold in 2015 at Bonhams’ ‘Voices of the 20th Century’ auction for $191,000, doubling the estimate.