Typed letter signed ("Scott" in pencil) to Gilbert Seldes in New York.1307 Park Avenue, Baltimore, 31 May 1934 Stock Code: 44748
Tender is the Night "seems to go pretty well"A fine and longish letter in which Fitzgerald discusses Seldes's edition of Ring Lardner, a possible evening of one-act plays, and reviews of Tender Is the Night: "Just read the Lardner collection First and Last. At first I was disappointed because I had expected there would be enough stuff for an omnibus and I still feel that it could have stood more weight. However, looking over those syndicate articles I realize what you were up against - even many of those which you were compelled to use are rather definitely dated and I think you did the best you could with the material at hand. Anyhow, I've had a further hunch on the matter which is this: the short-one-act plays at the end do stand up but they would not play in any conventional sense because so much of the nonsense is embodied in the stage directions, but if they were done, as I believe one was, for the Authors' League Fete or the Dutch Treat Club with Robert Benchley and Donald Ogden Stewart clowning the whole business I believe they would play very well.
"Now doping along on the subject, it seems to me an evening of five nonsense plays would be monotonous no matter how funny they were, but just suppose taking over the technique of the Grand Guignol, two of those plays were alternated with something macabre. When the Grand Guignol failed in N.Y. it seems to me that I remember that all the plays were plays of horror and the minute the novelty wore off it closed up shop...mightn't some enterprising producer be interested in a thoroughly balanced program if we could get the material together? I don't know whether there are any good horror one-acters in America but we might pick up a couple of the Grand Guignol hits very cheaply or get somebody to dredge something out of Edgar Allen sic Poe. What do you think of this idea?... I am terribly tied up in work and also not being on the spot could not efficiently go into it. I hand you the suggestion for what it is worth and I wish you would let me know what you think of it...
"My novel Tender Is the Night, published on 12 April seems to go pretty well. I haven't been able to make up my mind entirely how good it is because most of the reviewers have been so entirely cuckoo in their effect of saying in one line that the thing comes off entirely because it is technically so well done and others say it comes off in spite of all its technical faults. No two reviewers - and I am speaking only of the big shots - agree who was the leading character. Malcolm Cowley in the New Republic seems to be chiefly impressed by a man who only appears once in the whole picture - in any case my total impression is that a whole lot of people just skimmed through the book for the story and it simply cannot be read that way. In any case, your review in the New York Evening Journal and Mabel Dodge Luhan's enthusiasm in a letter to the editor of the New York Herald-Tribune of 6 May praising the novel made it all worthwhile to me." Tender Is the Night received mixed reviews and Fitzgerald was disappointed by this critical response and by what he saw as lacklustre sales, although the novel made the best-seller lists for that April and May.
3 pages (280 x 215 mm), double-spaced on three sheets of beige paper, a one-word pencilled revision and two typographical corrections by Fitzgerald, some slight marginal creasing.
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