Reception of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Work, This Side of Paradise

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Reception of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Bestseller, This Side of Paradise

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the first draft of his first novel in army training camps between the years 1917 and 1918. The working title was The Romantic Egoist. By February of 1918, Fitzgerald had submitted his first full draft of the novel to Charles Scribner’s Sons only to have it be rejected. In October of 1918, Fitzgerald submitted a revised version to Scribner’s and again it was rejected. Finally, in 1918 the third version of The Romantic Egoist re-titled This Side of Paradise was accepted and published by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

This Side of Paradise made Fitzgerald a literary celebrity before his twenty-fourth birthday. The book sold out in a mere
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Burton Rascoe wrote: “it is sincere, it is honest, it is intelligent, it is handled in an individual manner, it bears the impress, it seems to me, of genius.” The Chicago Evening American called the novel “human” and “complicated” and added that Fitzgerald was surely one writer to be watched in the future. While This Side of Paradise received wide critical acclaim from most critics, there were some who criticized it. The novel was first published with a series of mistakes including misspellings of names, book titles, political figures, movie stars, sports heroes and even martyrs. Over the next four months Fitzgerald embarrassingly attempted to render the mistakes by sending his editor Mathew Perkins several lists of corrections. Although some errors were corrected many remained in the novel. Almost all the reviewers of the book in 1920 noted the spelling and grammar mistakes, but most dismissed them in light of Fitzgerald’s apparent literary talent. One of those unwilling to dismiss the errors was Franklin P. Adams who wrote that the novel was “sloppy and cocky; impudent instead of confident; and verbose.” The New York Tribune and the Los Angeles Sunday Times added that there is “nothing solid and
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