Author(s): F. Scott Fitzgerald
This first edition ever published of Trimalchio, an early and complete version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby now appears in paperback. Fitzgerald wrote the novel as Trimalchio and submitted it to Maxwell Perkins, his editor at Scribner's, who had the novel set in type and the galleys sent to Fitzgerald in France. Fitzgerald then virtually rewrote the novel in galleys, producing the book we know as The Great Gatsby. This ur-version, Trimalchio, has never been published and is markedly different from The Great Gatsby: two chapters were completely rewritten for the published novel, and the rest of the book was heavily revised. Characterization is different, the narrative voice of Nick Carraway is altered and, most importantly, the revelation of Jay Gatsby's past is handled in a wholly different way.
"The Cambridge edition of Trimalchio is for scholars and Fitzgerald fanatics...Trimalchio has shown me a new way to love Gatsby. I'm compelled into a vast aesthetic contemplation: I dream of The Great Gatsby as it might have been, greater still-" Adam Begley, New York Observer "...the principle reason to read Trimalchio is to observe a masterpiece taking form through the process of revision. Even those not easily caught up in textual detective stories may take an interest in puzzling out the effect of the changes..." Scott Donaldson, Star Tribune "West provides a meticulous and comprehensive critical apparatus...this fine edition will be of significant interest to Fitzgerald scholars and students." Choice "West provides a meticulous and comprehensive critical apparatus...this fine edition will be of significant interest to Fitzgerald scholars and students." Choice "...I enjoyed every second of Trimalchio...had it been published as the legitimate text it would probably still be considered a masterpiece." Christopher Fischbach, Rain Taxi "Treat yourself to a copy...This new version is an earlier draft of Fitzgerald's novel, and it seems even better than the one finally published." Press Democrat "Fitzgerald enthusiasts are advised to acquire a copy immediately." The Times "Raw and edgy, Fitzgerald's prose practically dances across the page. For all of its subtle, flawed deviations from the finished work, the book possesses a charm that Fitzgerald never realized so completely again." Missouri Review
James L. W. West is Distinguished Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, where he is a Fellow in the Institute for the Arts and Humanistic Studies. His most recent book is William Styron, A Life (1998).
Chronology of composition and publication; Introduction: 1. History of the text; 2. Editorial principles; Trimalchio; Record of variants; Explanatory notes; Illustrations; Appendix 1. Perkins' letters of criticism; Appendix 2. Note on Trimalchio; Appendix 3. Note on eyeskip.