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The Great Gatsby.
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FITZGERALD, F. Scott.

The Great Gatsby.

Published: London: Chatto & Windus, 1926

Stock code: 94421

Price: £100,000

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First English edition, in a sparkling example of the very rare first state dust jacket, unseen by Bruccoli, which reproduces the famous Cugat design of the first American edition, with a window left at the foot of the spine for the Chatto & Windus imprint, and the rear panel with Chatto & Windus printed advertisements. The jacket is priced 7s. net at the foot of the front flap. The unrivalled Matthew J. & Arlyn Bruccoli Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald at USC’s Thomas Cooper Library has only copies of later state jackets, price-clipped and repriced with an over-sticker. Bruccoli notes that the first English publication of The Great Gatsby is “not a new edition, but a separate printing in England from the plates of the American edition—the third printing of the first edition” (p. 64). Gatsby was first published in America in April 1925, with a second printing with six emendations in August 1925, the plates of which are used for the English printing. The deposit copies of the English printing at the British Library and the Bodleian were both received in February 1926, but the ownership inscription in this copy is intriguing evidence that copies were available earlier on the Continent. Elinor Castle Nef (1894–1953) was the first wife of University of Chicago professor John U. Nef, Jr. (1899–1988) and the daughter of a prominent Hawaiian family. She was a prolific diarist and letter writer, corresponding with many important artists and intellectuals of the 20th century. In November 1921, she and her husband left for France where John was to continue his studies, and lived in Europe for the next five years.

Octavo. Original blue linen-grain cloth, spine lettered in gilt. With the supplied dust jacket. Housed in a custom-made blue morocco-backed bookform folding case by the Chelsea Bindery. Ownership inscription of E. C. Nef, Paris, 1925, to front free endpaper. Extremities lightly rubbed, one corner bumped, a number of leaves creased at upper corner where previously turned down, still a very good copy of the book; the jacket, which was evidently stored separately, in fine, fresh, bright condition, with only a faint crease at the head of the front panel and three very small areas of wear at the spine ends and head of the front fold, a remarkable survival.

Bibliography: Bruccoli A 11.1.c.

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