A dissertation submitted

to Kent State University in partial

fulfillment of the requirements for the

degree of Doctor of Philosophy


Ross K. Tangedal

May 2015

© Copyright

All rights reserved

Dissertation written by

Ross K. Tangedal

B.A., State University, 2008 M.A., Montana State University, 2010 Ph.D., Kent State University, 2015

Approved by

Robert W. Trogdon, Professor, Ph.D., English , Doctoral Advisor

Wesley Raabe, Associate Professor, Ph.D. , Department of English

James L.W. West III, Professor, Ph.D. , Department of English

Diane Scillia, Professor, Ph.D. , Department of Art History

Kim Gruenwald, Associate Professor, Ph.D. , Department of History

Accepted by

Robert W. Trogdon, Chair, Ph.D. , Department of English

James L. Blank, Dean, Ph.D. , College of Arts and Sciences






AUTHOR’S NOTE ...... x

INTRODUCTION A Safe Distance: Writers, Authors, and Prefaces ...... 1

CHAPTERS I. How to Write Introductions: , , and Prefatory Manipulation

I: A Few Straggling Notes: Willa Cather’s Introductions to My Ántonia.....36

II: Piano Tuning, Barbers, and a Mule: Ring Lardner’s Prefaces for the Scribner Boys ...... 57

II. It Was All I Had: F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Anxiety of Authorship

I: For Bait to the Hesitant: The Preface to and “The Author’s Apology” ...... 85

II: Run as They Read: A Table of Contents to ...... 107

III: An Arduous Precision: Defense, Justification, and Apologies in the ...... 134

III. My Word Yes a Most Pleasant Business: Ernest and the Functions of Authorship

I: Breaking Forelegs: Exploring the Preface...... 164


II: Excuse the Preface: Introductions for Other Writers ...... 191

III: I Hope that I am Very Prejudiced: Authority Reconsidered ...... 214

IV. Doing the Impossible: , , and the Retrospective Foreword

I: Rarities and Relics: James Gould Cozzens’s Late Career Forewords.....249

II: Highly Vocal Ghosts: Toni Morrison’s Reprint Forewords ...... 282

CODA ...... 321



For CJ Tangedal, wife, best friend, and constant blessing & In memory of Dr. Michael D. DuBose friend, scholar, and gentleman.



First and foremost, this project would not have been possible without the guidance, insight, and good humor of my dissertation director, Robert W. Trogdon. His steadfast belief in my abilities forms the bedrock of my academic life, and the countless hours spent working on this project have been the most rewarding experience because of his confidence in me. He is my biggest influence, greatest teacher, and soundest reviewer.

I hope I got it right, Boss. Wesley Raabe graciously provided much needed stylistic and argumentative commentary throughout composition, and James L.W. West III offered me the sagest advice during the process: don’t lose momentum. Their tutelage goes well beyond this project, and I owe them a debt of gratitude and thanks for their sound commentary, trust, and excitement. I would also like to thank Diane Scillia and Kim

Gruenwald for their enthusiasm and valuable commentary; my colleagues at Kent State

University for letting me discuss this project at length with them; Sara Kosiba for her belief in my work; Kevin Floyd for his guidance and support; editors Suzanne del Gizzo and Kirk Curnutt for agreeing to publish portions of this project in The Hemingway

Review and The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review; the Society and the F.

Scott Fitzgerald Society for supporting my work; and the Kent State University English

Department for supporting my research.

I wish to thank the following for granting me access to archival materials: Susan

Wrynn, curator of the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library; and

Don Skemer, curator of manuscripts at Library. I wish to thank the vi

following organizations for awarding me research grants crucial to the completion of this project: the Ernest Hemingway Foundation & Society for awarding me the Lewis-Smith-

Reynolds Founders Fellowship; the John F. Kennedy Library for awarding me the Ernest

Hemingway Research Grant; the Department of English at Kent State University for awarding me the Kenneth R. Pringle Dissertation Fellowship; and the Graduate Student

Senate of Kent State University for awarding me the Dissertation Research Grant for work at Princeton University Library.

I owe the sincerest thanks to my family for their ongoing love and support. I thank my parents, Jerry and Kathy Tangedal, for buying their five-year-old son a complete

Encyclopedia Britannica in 1991 and for giving him the template for hard work and dedication; my siblings, Reanne and Ryan Tangedal, for supporting and humoring their brother all these years; my cousin, Jordan Tangedal, for motivating me in Fall 2010; my in-laws, Rich and Cheryl Boberg, for their ongoing kindness and enthusiastic interest in my work; and the rest of my extended family and friends for their continued support.

More than anyone, this dissertation belongs to my wife, Catherine “CJ” Tangedal. Her love, patience, and belief in my work made this happen, and I cannot imagine any work of mine without her influence. She is my dream forever coming true, and my reason for everything. This is for her.



Willa Cather

MÁ My Ántonia. Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1918.

NUF Not Under Forty. : Alfred A. Knopf, 1936.

SL The Selected Letters of Willa Cather. Eds. Andrew Jewell & Janis Stout. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. Print.

WCIP Willa Cather in Person: Interviews, Speeches and Letters. L. Brent Bohlke, ed. Lincoln, NE: U of P, 1986.

Ring Lardner

HWSS How to Write Short Stories (with Samples). New York: Scribner’s, 1924.

LN The Love Nest and Other Stories. New York: Scribner’s, 1926.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

BD . New York: Scribner’s, 1922.

GG . New York: Scribner’s, 1925.

TAR . New York: Scribner’s, 1935.

TITN . New York: Scribner’s, 1934.

TJA Tales of the Jazz Age. New York: Scribner’s, 1922.

TSOP This Side of Paradise. New York: Scribner’s, 1920.

Ernest Hemingway DIA . New York: Scribner’s, 1932.

FC The Fifth Column and the First Forty-nine Stories. New York: Scribner’s, 1938.


FTA . New York: Scribner’s, 1929.

FWBT . New York: Scribner’s, 1940.

GHOA . New York: Scribner’s, 1935.

IOT In Our Time. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1925. New York: Scribner’s, 1930.

Letters 2 The Letters of Ernest Hemingway. Ed. Sandra Spanier et al. Vol. 2. 1923- 1925. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

MAW Men at War. New York: Crown Publishers, 1942.

MF-RE : The Restored . Ed. Seán Hemingway. New York: Scribner’s, 2009.

SAR . New York: Scribner’s, 1926.

SL Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters, 1917-1961. Ed. . New York: Scribner’s, 1981.

TOS . New York: Scribner’s, 1926.

James Gould Cozzens

BLP By Love Possessed. New York: Brace, 1957.

MNN Morning Noon and Night. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1968.

Toni Morrison

SOS Song of Solomon. 1977. New York: Vintage International, 2004.



This is the first full-length study of authorial introductions of the twentieth century. Therefore, the author draws heavily from unpublished materials from the Archives of Charles Scribner’s Sons Publishing Company, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Gould Cozzens at Princeton University Library and from the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library. All quotations from the letters and personal writings of this study’s case authors, editors, and others have been transcribed as accurately as possible. The correspondents’ errors in spelling and punctuation have been retained; diplomatic transcription has been used in cases of unpublished archival material. No emendations have been made.



A Safe Distance: Writers, Authors, and Prefaces

The general history of the paratext, punctuated by the stages of a technological evolution that supplies it with means and opportunities, would no doubt be the history of those ceaseless phenomena of sliding, substitution, compensation, and innovation which ensure, with the passing centuries, the continuation and to some extent the development of the paratext’s efficacy. – Gerard Genette1

A piazza must be had. – Herman Melville2

Authorial introductions, prefaces, and forewords have been part of literature for centuries, dating back to Rabelais’ prologue to Gargantua (1534), which instructs readers to imbibe spirits and eat heartily while reading. However, authorial prefaces are rarely the focus of analysis; scholars and readers find them secondary, auxiliary, or unnecessary in regards to the primary text to which they are attached. Though several scholars brand authorial prefaces as biographical material, very few recognize the space as more than secondary. The dominant field of inquiry regarding all prefatory materials (not just prefaces) is narratology, with Gerard Genette’s Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation the standard survey of the field. Paratexts, as defined by Genette, “ ‘surround’ and

‘extend’ a book, in order to present it, in the usual sense of this verb but also in the strongest sense: to make present, to ensure the text’s presence in the world, its ‘reception’

1 Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation. 1987. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997. 14.

2 “The Piazza.” The Piazza Tales: and Other Pieces, 1839 –1860. Eds. Harrison Hayford, Alma A. MacDougall, & G. Thomas Tanselle. , IL: Northwestern UP/Newberry Library, 1987. 2.


and consumption in the form (nowadays, at least) of a book” (1). Placement, date of publication, and structure are keys to understanding the form, as are the various publishing circumstances which call for their composition. Prefaces are windows into professional authorship, as the business of literature informs their existence. Authors and publishers recognized the space as more than secondary to their literary endeavors, resulting in pieces designed to make public a writer’s agency. To borrow Genette’s phrasing, writers and publishers wanted to “ensure a text’s existence in the world” by creating a variety of paratextual components, and no component was more closely related to a writer’s authority than the preface.

Prefaces serve the needs of the author function fully, with public consumption the major goal. These devices serve as frames to the text proper, alter strategically meaning, intention, and reception prior to the consumption of a literary product, and assist in the increased sales of books. However, these pieces do not exist solely to promote the sale of books. Authorial prefaces promote and represent a certain type of authorship that is integral to the growth of authority in twentieth century American letters. These pieces help us trace the authorial careers and artistic moves of several writers not only biographically but also textually. Why were certain books given prefaces and others not?

Why did authors choose to remove, replace or revise prefaces and prologues in subsequent editions of specific texts? What can be said for an author’s legacy in the context of his or her prefaces? How much direction is given in them, and where can that direction help or hinder certain readings of texts? Can the preface in production change the textual makeup of the given text, and can that text be permanently altered because of it? Do unpublished or unfinished/aborted prefaces say as much about an author’s


professional attributes as his/her published texts? These questions are paramount in understanding the business of literature in the twentieth century. Authorial introductions serve as hallmarks of compromise, as each offers a specific glimpse into the profession of authorship and the business of literature in an immediate and compartmentalized way.

Through the examination of both published and unpublished prefaces in several existing textual forms (manuscript, typescript, galley proof, serial, first and subsequent editions, reprints, editions, etc.), we see writers struggle with, manipulate, and access their authority in order to make public their personal artistic expectations and evolve from writers to authors.

Prefaces add value to a literary product as a marketing and advertising mechanism in order to sell the same work twice, but this time with added features which may be – from an authorial and publishing standpoint – attractive to prospective readers. Value is also added in terms of reception and reading. Prefaces offer direct links between authors and readers, giving the latter assurance, confidence, and added direction. They also provide authors with the opportunity to brand their work for market, to adhere to William

Charvat’s terms of professional authorship. In deciding to write prefaces which provide a new or amplified reading of the text proper, writers choose to participate in a professional zone of commerce where writing “is produced with of extended sale in the open market” and where “the problem of the professional writer is not identical with that of the literary artist; but when a literary artist is also a professional writer, he cannot solve the problems of the one function without reference to the other” (Charvat 3). Therefore the authorial preface, much like book publication, inhabits a choice every writer must make when tasked with becoming a public author. Where private concerns once dominated,


public personas now hold forth, as Michel Foucault finds that authors “are unique in that they are not just the authors of their own works. They have produced something else: the possibilities and the rules for the formation of other texts” (217). How these texts, their prefaces, and their writers collectively inhabit the authorial space proves dynamic, perplexing, and fascinating.

Joshua Kopperman Ratner argues for extended discussion of prefaces in regards to authorship, publication, and reception: “Literary history has been content to declare the death of the author; we have not paid enough attention to the ways that this death excited and upset writers in the early . This is partially because we have not paid enough attention to what writers said about the subject of authorship in paratexts” (9-10).

The relationship between authors, authorship, and readers through paratextual interplay prompts Ratner to conclude that “we have failed to read paratextually—to think explicitly about how paratexts engage readers, and what it means that paratexts so regularly ooze across and infiltrate their way into the body-text” (10). Ratner’s study complicates our general understanding of paratextual value, generally described through the prism of book publication, by bringing to bear the enormous weight of periodical publication and epitextual proliferation in the nineteenth century. Ratner argues that “a book-centric, author-centric exploration of the paratext like Genette’s over-emphasizes literary production, distribution, and reception as author-controlled. Authors certainly desired that level of control and used their own paratexts to try to pre-empt outside epitextual reception” (6). Control is paramount in the production of paratexts, whether authorial or editorial.


To a point I agree with Ratner, for publication as a business spreads control over several participants and generally leaves the author with the least amount of power.

Twentieth century authors continued to battle over control of both textual and public authorities, with anxieties similar to those expressed by authors like Nathaniel

Hawthorne.3 For Ratner, authors chose paratextual experimentation as a means of both authorial survival and reader engagement, two factors which translated into the twentieth century. The complicated relationship between authors and their authority/authorship in a burgeoning literary marketplace filled with both skilled and unskilled readers drove writers to intensify their individual paratextual expression. Genette notes that “the original assumptive authorial preface, which we will thus shorten to original preface, has as its chief function to ensure that the text is read properly” (197). Whether engaging in preface writing or not, an author’s main goal is to be read; to slightly augment Genette, authorial centrality befits the paratextual goal of public consumption. In any case, the spatial dynamics of the authorial preface require a degree of control in order to be published. In the twentieth century prefaces were usually excised prior to publication, which left texts ripe for authorial definition.4 Generally authors chose to preface reprints and new editions of the same work years after initial publication, a practice crucial in asserting authorial control over printed material that was already available to the public.

If a writer’s control was compromised in the first edition, reprints allowed for a return to

3 Ratner provides an extended coda centered on Hawthorne’s paratextual responses to John Neal, in which he clearly distinguishes himself from the other author (Ratner 232-45).

4 For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald cut prefaces to Tender Is the Night and Taps at Reveille, and may have cut his preface to This Side of Paradise; he also wished to revise a published introduction to the Modern Library edition of The Great Gatsby, but sales prevented the edition from warranting a prefatory revision. 5

authorial centrality, and many writers achieved (or attempted to achieve) some level of textual control through a variety of paratextual devices.

Writers were able to find spaces for authorial reconstitution, from titles and epigrams to epilogues and headings. Franco Moretti argues that “as the market expands, titles contract; as they do that, they learn to compress meaning; and as they do that, they develop special ‘signals’ to place books in the right market niche” (141).5 From the eighteenth century onwards, authors, editors, and publishers utilized paratextual space as a key component in book marketing, reader engagement, and authorial creation. James

L.W. West III defines the twentieth century author as “simultaneously an artist and an impresario, an aesthete and an entertainer, a thinker and a businessman” (American

Authors 5). In order to function successfully within the literary marketplace, authors needed to encompass various roles. Pierre Bourdieu describes the literary field as “a field of forces, but it is also a field of struggles tending to transform or conserve this field of forces” (337), just as Michel Foucault defines the author as “the result of a complex operation that constructs a certain being of reason that we call ‘author’” (213). According to Bourdieu, “the fundamental stake in literary struggles is the monopoly of literary legitimacy, i.e., inter alia, the monopoly of the power to say with authority who are authorized to call themselves writers” (343). Foucault complicates authority further, noting that “these aspects of an individual which we designate as making him an author are only a projection […] of the operations we force texts to undergo, the connections we make, the traits we establish as pertinent, the continuities we recognize, or the exclusions we practice” (213-14). In order to establish a market niche, writers became authors

5 “Style, Inc. Reflections on Seven Thousand Titles (British , 1740-1850).” Critical Inquiry 36.1 (2009): 134-158.


because the projection, to borrow from Foucault, was enacted for a specific publication purpose; such projections continue to display the complicated web of literary creation integral to publication and market consumption. Rather than displaying literary production as a linear model (AuthorPublisherReader), both Bourdieu and Foucault express authority in more complex terms. With his “communications circuit,” Robert

Darnton claimed that the cycle of publication “runs from the author to the publisher (if the bookseller does not assume the role), the printer, the shipper, the bookseller, and the reader. The reader completes the circuit because he influences the author before and after the act of publication” (233). Whether a struggle, a projection, or a circuit, the terms of authorship in the literary marketplace require delineation, for the force of book production results in a product of multiplicities, compromises, and change.

Writers and authors, both part of Bourdieu’s “field of struggle” and Darnton’s

“communications circuit,” are inhabited by a singular artistic mind. As a private figure the writer enacts the physical act of writing, while the public author is presented to a readership in the form of literary publication. Where these two functions meet (the text) provides a canvas of compromise and of authorial positioning. Over time the dynamic of the preface continued to confound critics and readers alike, as authors chose to either utilize the space fully or ignore the space altogether. Genette argues that “more than a boundary or a sealed border, the paratext is, rather, a threshold, or…a ‘vestibule’ that offers the world at large the possibility of either stepping inside or turning back…[It is] a zone not only of transition, but also of transaction: a privileged place of pragmatics and a strategy, of an influence on the public” (2). Publicly the paratext “is at the service of a better reception for the text and a more pertinent reading of it (more pertinent, of course,


in the eyes of its author and his allies)” (2). Consequently, authors of the twentieth century were given access to new markets in the wake of the reprint culture that had expanded the century prior. Meredith McGill chronicles the rampant effects of literary piracy which helped build – for better or worse – America’s literary identity.6 She notes:

“Antebellum struggles over the right to reprint domestic and foreign texts demonstrate that literary property is never simply or only a matter of individual property rights, but rather of systems of circulation in which persons, corporate bodies, and the state have complicated and often conflicting interests” (276). Without the copyright laws of today, which grant significant control to authors and their works, publishers treated literary works as purely public entities, reprinting works by Dickens, Poe, and Hawthorne while granting authors little control over their reprinted work. Essentially these reprints forged a uniquely public literary community in which texts flowed between publisher and reader.

The losers in the game – the authors – pressed for stringent copyright restrictions, resulting in books as authorial property as opposed to a publicly owned good by the end of the nineteenth century. McGill argues that the reprint culture from 1834 to 1853 helped grow the national literature, for “in establishing a public sphere based on the general accessibility of printed texts but defined by the stutter of locally interrupted circulation, and in its disaggregating response to the challenges posed by economic development, the system of reprinting represents the Jacksonian form of national culture”

(108). Access was paramount, and texts were readily available for readers to purchase at low prices. British texts were predominantly reprinted since no international copyright

6 American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834-1853. Philadelphia: U o f Pennsylvania P, 2002. Print. 8

law restricted their reprinting. James J. Barnes argues that “as a country, nineteenth- century America was akin to a present-day underdeveloped nation which recognizes its dependence on those more commercially and technologically advanced, and desires the fruits of civilization in the cheapest and most convenient ways. Reprinting seemed easy and inexpensive, and so America borrowed voraciously” (50). In doing so the reprint policy “partook of a curious blend of protectionism and free trade: protection for American industry but not American authors; to reprint British works but not to import them” (235). This relationship produced a decentralized literary market, in which “the mania for cheapness won out over the interests of the literary community” (152). Reprinting various texts produced an anti-authorial vacuum in which writers were separated from their texts, a separation wrought with antagonism between author and publisher.

In the unregulated transatlantic reprint market authorship shifted, for “in rejecting authorship as a governing principle for the production and distribution of literary texts, the culture of reprinting does not eliminate authors so much as suspend, reconfigure, and intensify their authority, placing a premium on texts that circulate with the name of authors attached” (McGill 17). The name of the author was important, not the writer. This separation echoes the splitting of private and public writing functions crucial to authorship, and as professions became more identifiable than before, “American writers began to lose their sense of authority and audience, to retreat from society and to see themselves as alienated, misunderstood figures” (West, American Authors 19-20). Instead of authorial control, authorial manipulation in the public reading sphere fueled “the fiercely competitive reprint publishers who pioneered American book marketing


techniques, trumpeting the names and fortifying the reputations of authors as a means of distinguishing their editions from rival reprints” (McGill 17). This was generally done without the input of the author, as publishers were able to separate an author from his or her work and effectively marginalize the creator from the creation while still using the name to sell the book. West argues that “part of the problem has been lack of public identity” for authors at the turn of the century (American Authors 20), and McGill concludes that “the antebellum culture of reprinting gives us access to a long history of

American skepticism about tight controls over literary property” (277). Both West and

McGill forecast the intense attention to publishing dynamics that authors gave their work in the twentieth century. As Anglo-American copyright became law in 1891, the protection of authors and their properties hampered the reprint market, but authorship continued to professionalize as new markets developed. The twentieth century saw new forms of literary growth, predominantly in four forms: the formation of literary clubs (the

Book-of-the-Month Club and the Literary Guild), the proliferation of affordable reprint series (such as the Modern Library), the paperback revolution, and new trade editions with authorial introductions. Though the free-for-all reprint culture of the mid-nineteenth century ceased, a new reprint standard took shape in the twentieth century. Continued attention to audience, exposure, and authority fostered a new interest in authorial introductions as a means of creating and expanding authorship in the new century, with writers and publishers taking advantage of this phenomenon to sell books and grow authority.

Though the reprint boom served as a catalyst for the twentieth century preface, at the turn of the century two literary icons famously turned to the authorial preface: Henry


James and . Conrad’s preface to The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ (1897;

1914) provided writers with a clear evocation of authorial direction, commitment, and intention; James’s prefaces to his twenty-four volume collected New York Edition of the

Novels and Tales of (1907–09) allowed the author to create a new self, a public figure dedicated to art, creation, and to setting the record straight.7 Michael

Anesko argues that “in writing his prefaces James had one of the rarest opportunities ever afforded to an artist: the chance to supply the [kind] of intelligent criticism his work deserved, but which it had failed to elicit from contemporary readers or men of letters”

(4). As James was nearing the end of his life, the author chose to reappropriate his legacy and work in prefatory form, blending criticism with intention, and art with reception.

However, when gathered and published as part of a collected edition, the prefaces take on lives of their own and essentially form essays on authority rather than prefaces for specific novels. Though originally published as individual prefaces for each new volume in the collection, James’s prefaces were collected as an autonomous unit first in The Art of the : Critical Prefaces (1934) and later as part of the collected edition of James’s work for the , where they were divorced from their original texts proper. Genette accounts for this change in location, as prefaces frequently become

“essays” in a collection rather than purely paratextual pieces (173). The transition from preface to is an important one. We ought not separate the preface from its original publishing state for in doing so we deny the textual influence of the text in favor of autonomy. Prefaces are not essays, though essays can be utilized as prefaces. The pieces are designed to accompany a text proper, and reading prefaces outside of their textual

7 Anesko refers to James’s “Olympian” prefaces as an “heroic narrative” which self-fashions legacy and history (4). 11

context denies functionality, the most integral component of prefatory statements. With this in mind, attention to intention is crucial in determining the value of authorial prefaces.

James’s intentions were clear from the outset, as Vivienne Rundle notes that

“James uses the New York Edition prefaces as a crucially important recuperative opportunity” (68). She argues further “that the prefaces afford their author a way to reassert mastery over his oeuvre; they constitute a textual site for the reclamation of authority and identity (68).8 The prefaces became added capital, for “to assist the public in its search and to satisfy its craving for novelty, James was eager to embellish his

Edition with prefaces and frontispieces and to rework his earlier fictions. To captivate a publisher and the public, James was prepared to frame his artistic goals in distinctly marketable form” (Anesko 144). For example, James’s preface to The American discusses “the only general attribute of projected romance” in the following way:

The balloon of experience is in fact of course tied to the earth, and under

that necessity we swing, thanks to a rope of remarkable length, in the more

or commodious car of the imagination; but it is by the rope we know

where we are, and from the moment that cable is cut we are at large and

unrelated: we only swing apart from the globe—though remaining as

exhilarated, naturally, as we like, especially when all goes well. (Preface,

The American 1064)

James’s prefaces are populated with long, detailed descriptions, psychological detours, and rereadings of each novel. Though James gives the impression in his prefaces of

8 James made a disastrous foray into the theatre near the end of the nineteenth century.


having reread his novels (and therefore discovered new ideas), Rundle and Anesko both question the veracity of James’s prefaces, as authors tend to create authorial narratives of labor and inception rather than to report actual events.9 For instance, James likened The

Tragic Muse to “some aromatic bag of gathered herbs of which the string has never been loosed; or, better still, to some jar of potpourri, shaped and overfigured and polished, but of which the lid, never lifted, has provided for the intense accumulation of fragrance within” (Preface, The Tragic Muse 1104). The Portrait of a Lady was constructed with

“artful patience” by piling “brick upon brick” (Preface, The Portrait of a Lady 1083). In many ways James’s prefaces provide the base for authorial self-conception in the twentieth century. By collecting his works and attempting market regeneration, James pushed his methods into the public sphere, advanced his authority, framed his oeuvre, and recast control over his materials.10 Many authors would follow his example as the twentieth century progressed.

Similarly, Joseph Conrad’s author’s notes for his collected works serve the same function as James’s prefaces. Conrad revered James, as his collected prefaces looked to emulate James’s New York Edition. Once receiving copies of the edition from James he wrote back on 12 December 1908, “I sat for a long while with the closed volume in my hand going over the preface [to The American] in my mind and thinking—that’s how it began, that’s how it was done!” (Collected Letters Vol. 4 162). He wrote J.B. Pinker in

July 1917 concerning his own prefaces: “I wouldn’t even expand them. Of course I can’t

9 In many cases James rewrote large portions of his novels for the edition. James accounted for his new directions in his prefaces.

10 The New York Edition was ultimately a significant financial failure for James and Charles Scribner’s Sons, though his prefaces increased his critical reputation.


rivalise with poor dear H[enry] J[ames] and I don’t know that it would be wise even to try” (Collected Letters Vol. 6 108). Just like James, Conrad sought to reapproriate his authorship to expand both his marketability and his critical reputation. A series of author’s notes written for the Heinemann edition of the Collected Works of Joseph

Conrad were written largely between 1919 and 1922. While some were written prior to the collection, Conrad furnished each of his books with a preface, a commonplace practice for a collected edition.11 However, one preface in particular stands apart from the others, partly for its attention to artistic precision and partly for its position within the

Conrad canon. Conrad’s third novel, The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’, is generally regarded as the author’s first major work, a short novel concerning the life of a black sailor (James

Wait) and the conditions aboard the eponymous ship ‘Narcissus.’ The novel followed two other sea tales, Almayer’s Folly and Outcasts of the Island, with Narcissus an evolution of the author’s style and technique. Once his novel was composed and submitted, Conrad sent a potential preface to friend on 24 August 1897. The preface has a rather complicated, though not unique, publication history. Initially Conrad hoped to include it in the first edition, published by Heinemann, but editor Sydney Pawling refused to publish the preface. However, W.E. Henley of the New Review opted to include the preface as an afterword in the final serial installment of the novel (December 1897).12

The preface was then reprinted in 1905 as “The Art of Fiction” in Harper’s Weekly, which resembled the text Conrad had originally written. It appeared for a third time – but for the first time as a preface – in the second American printing published by Doubleday,

11 Prefaces for Youth, Lord Jim, Nostromo, and A Personal Record were written in 1917.

12 The serialized version of the novel ran in five installments (August-December 1897). The review ceased publication altogether by 1898.


Page, & Co. (23 May 1914), but was preceded by another preface entitled “To My

Readers .” Heinemann then included the preface – as it appeared in the second

American printing – as the preface to the novel for the Collected Works (1921).

The publishing history of Conrad’s Narcissus is no outlier, and it would be almost duplicated several decades later by Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970; 1993; 2007); the first edition had no preface, the Nobel-Prize reprint featured a new afterword by the author, and the collected edition ran the revised afterword as a foreword. As Genette shows, prefaces must be analyzed in spatial, functional, and aesthetic terms, especially when reprints, new editions, and collected editions alter the effect of a preface. Though the publishing venues and usage of the preface changed over time, the crucial elements of

Conrad’s oft-cited preface are the representation of his literary authority, his attention to the senses, and how to make readers “see.” In his note to American readers Conrad insisted that “almost without laying down the pen I wrote a preface, trying to express the spirit in which I was entering on the task of my new life,” of which the novel fueled (“To

My Readers” ix-x). As the serial run came to an end Conrad wrote Garnett: “Henley printed the preface at the end as an Author’s note. It does not shine very much, but I am glad to see it in type” (Collected Letters Vol. 1 417).13 When given the opportunity to provide a preface for the second American printing, Conrad jumped at the chance to resubmit his original preface, writing Alfred A. Knopf (then working for Doubleday): “In the matter of the preface: it was suppressed simply because the publisher here (Mr

Heinemann) thought it would do no good to the book—I don’t know on what grounds— and I simply took his opinion meekly. I was a very young author them [sic]—remember!”

13 5 December 1897.


(Collected Letters Vol. 5 368).14 Conrad inhabits the very effect his preface is meant to have on readers and on his authorial career, as he notes his age and inexperience when first confronted with the suppression of his preface. Though written early in his career,

Conrad’s preface illuminates many of the central tenants of prefatory structure and imagination authors that would continue to follow for decades.

Conrad chose the preface as the primary forum to illuminate his new authorial sense, another aspect of authorship that writers would continue to enact in prefaces well into the twentieth century. Conrad’s first two novels were considered middling efforts, and when placed alongside The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ we understand the author’s motivation to chart his new artistic course with a preface, which begins: “a work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line. And art itself may be defined as a single-minded attempt to render the highest kind of to the visible universe, by bringing to light the truth, manifold and one, underlying its every aspect” (“Preface” xi). While James created the “heroic narrative” with his collected prefaces, Conrad created the introspective narrative, whose purpose was to deliver the tactile specifics of truth and the imagination for readers. Rundle argues that Conrad’s prefaces “memorialize the borderline moments attendant upon the birth and death of the creative impulse. And yet Conrad’s elegiac prefaces allow the reader to live and perform in a way that James’s absolutely preclude” (83). The self-reflective James leaves readers overwhelmed with authorial direction, but for Conrad a writer’s “appeal is less loud, more profound, less distinct, more stirring—and sooner forgotten. Yet its effect endures forever” (xii). Conrad argues that “all art, therefore, appeals primarily to the senses, and the artistic aim when expressing itself in written words must also make its

14 27 1914. 16

appeal through the senses, if its high desire is to reach the secret spring of responsive emotion” (xiii). Ultimately, Conrad’s task is “by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel—it is, before all, to make you see. That—and no more, and it is everything” (xiv).

The authors under discussion in this study were invariably influenced by Conrad and his preface to The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’. F. Scott Fitzgerald called the preface,

“the greatest ‘credo’ in my life, ever since I decided that I would rather be an artist than a careerist” (A Life in Letters 256),15 and Ernest Hemingway borrowed from the preface when writing his father: “you see I am trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across—not to just depict life-or criticize it—but to actually make it alive. So that when you have read something by me you actually experience the thing” (Letters 2

286). 16 Willa Cather wrote a “Mr. Miller” that “there is one kind of story that ought to tell itself—the story of action. There is another story that ought to be told—I mean the emotional story, which tries to be much more like music than it tries to be like drama— the story that tries to evoke and leave merely a picture—a mood. That was what [Joseph]

Conrad tried to do, and he did it well” (SL 362).17 Her evocation of music echoes

Conrad’s insistence that art “must strenuously aspire to the plasticity of sculpture, to the colour of painting, and to the magic suggestiveness of music—which is the art of arts”

(“Preface” xiii). James Gould Cozzens’s first major novel, S.S. San Pedro, drew favorable comparisons to Conrad’s work, and Toni Morrison channeled Conrad’s preface

15 FSF to H.L. Mencken. 23 April 1934.

16 20 March 1925. Hemingway also wrote a eulogy of Conrad for the September 1924 Transatlantic Review (“Conrad, Optimist and Moralist”).

17 24 October 1924. Cather was responding to a reader who had written her regarding My Ántonia. The editors of The Selected Letters of Willa Cather list him as Mr. Miller. 17

in her own foreword to when she likened the effect of her novel to a feeling and a sense rather than just words:

In trying to make the slave experience intimate, I hoped the sense of things

being under control and out of control would be persuasive throughout;

that the order and quietude of everyday life would be violently disrupted

by the chaos of the needy dead; that the herculean effort to forget would

be threatened by memory desperate to stay alive. To render enslavement

as a personal experience, language must get out of the way. (Foreword,

Beloved xix)

Conrad’s attention to literary effect and a reader’s senses aims at a dynamic prefatory purpose, which these twentieth century authors took up as a defining feature of the modern preface: by illuminating the process the authors illuminate the work, and by illuminating the work they illuminate their authorship. Conrad’s influence looms large.

The call for truth in representation, rendering the visible and tangible effects of prose, and establishing literary authority, echoes fully in the twentieth century. Fitzgerald considered Conrad a major influence throughout his career.18 He wrote Perkins regarding

The Great Gatsby: “the happiest thought I have is my new novel—it is something really

NEW in form, idea, structure—the model for the age that Joyce and Stein are searching for, that Conrad didn’t find” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 104).19 Showing the breadth of

Conrad’s influence, Fitzgerald wrote Kenneth Littauer fourteen years later regarding his

18 Fitzgerald listed “the wide sultry heavens of Conrad” among his literary influences in a 1920 self- interview for Scribner’s (rpt. in Some Sort of Epic Grandeur 137-38). He also wrote Perkins on 15 July 1928, “Conrad has been the healthy influence on the technique of the novel” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 151).

19 1 May 1925.


novel in progress: “…by making Cecilia at the moment of her telling the story, an intelligent and observant woman, I shall grant myself the privilege, as Conrad did, of letting her imagine the actions of the characters. Thus, I hope to get the verisimilitude of a first person narrative, combined with a Godlike knowledge of all events that happen to my characters” (Correspondence 547).20 He cited Conrad specifically in his 1934 introduction for the Modern Library reprint of The Great Gatsby:

reading it over one can see how it could have been improved—yet without

feeling guilty of any discrepancy from the truth, as far as I saw it; truth or

rather the equivalent of the truth, the attempt at honesty of imagination. I

had just re-read Conrad’s preface to The Nigger, and I had recently been

kidded half haywire by critics who felt that my material was such as to

preclude all dealing with mature persons in a mature world. (Introduction

to The Great Gatsby 224)

Conrad’s preface made its impression on Fitzgerald early, and other authors similarly fell under the influence of the piece. Hemingway concluded his foreword to Green Hills of

Africa with a call to the senses through honest depiction, declaring that “the writer has attempted to write an absolutely true book to see whether the shape of a country and the pattern of a month’s action can, if truly presented, compete with a work of the imagination” (GHOA vii). As justification for claims of prefatory effectiveness and influence, Joseph Conrad – and his preface to The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ – provided the essential introduction to the purpose of authorial prefaces in the literary marketplace of the twentieth century.

20 29 September 1939. The novel was published posthumously as (1941).


However, the problem with publishing books has always been distribution, and as a publishing mechanism the authorial preface took on a new role during what Charles

Madison dubs “the commercialization of literature” between 1900 and 1945 (155).

Borrowing from the title of publisher Henry Holt’s 1905 essay for Atlantic Monthly,

Madison explains that “the peculiarity of publishing is that while it is and must of necessity remain a business, it tends to attract a fair percentage of men who seek from it a satisfaction that money alone cannot provide” (163), and publishers of the period sought to combine the literary quality of the modernist period with popular novels and bestsellers. Catherine Turner argues, “it is important to understand that publishers were both marketers of and a market for . They had to be convinced that modernist manuscripts were worth buying for their firms. Just as consumers had to be convinced modernism might be good for them, publishers had to be convinced that modernism might be good for business” (33). Publishers combined several authors’ apparent disinterestedness with savvy marketing and created new forms of advertising in order to sell difficult and less accessible modernist works. Turner’s survey of literary advertising in the early twentieth century shows publishers striving to both highlight an author’s literary merit and distance an author from claims to popularity. Consequently, as the market shifted to accommodate these new books and authors, a newly energized reprint market created another bridge between popularity and sales. Bennett Cerf and Donald

Klopfer, founders of Random House, Inc., purchased the Modern Library from Horace

Liveright (of Boni & Liveright) in July 1925; in doing so, the two built one of the most successful reprint series of the century, composed of cheap editions ($1.00) of both popular and quality literature. Madison notes that by 1941 the series had sold 10,000,000


copies, with the series expanding to include longer books (356). As the popularity of the series grew, Cerf and Klopfer sought introductions for their reprints in order to differentiate them from rival editions.

Jay Satterfield refers to the Modern Library introductions as “attractions” and cites Cerf’s penchant to protect his introductions rather than allow them to be reprinted in other books. When asked by for permission to do so Cerf responded: “that introduction is the exclusive feature of the Modern Library edition of the book, and we wouldn’t want to see it appear in any other format” (rpt. in Satterfield 85). The series featured many forewords written by critics, professors, and celebrities, but Cerf and

Klopfer pressed authors for their own introductions when possible. Though Willa Cather,

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and James Gould Cozzens all had titles appear on the Modern Library list, only Fitzgerald offered an introduction for publication (The

Great Gatsby; 1934). Prior to Gatsby’s appearance in the Modern Library Fitzgerald wrote Max Perkins:

The people who buy the Modern Library are not at all the people who buy

the new books. Gatsby – in its present form, not actually available in sight

to book buyers, will only get a scattering sale as a result of the success of

this book. I feel that every time your business department has taken a

short-sighted view of our community of interest in this matter, which is

my reputation, there has been no profit on your part and something less

than that on mine. (Dear Scott/Dear Max 182)21

21 23 September 1933: Fitzgerald hoped that releasing the ML Gatsby prior to his long-awaited novel, Tender Is the Night, would bolster sales of both books. However, the ML edition did not sell its initial printing, and sales of Tender were disappointing.


Fitzgerald differentiates the reading markets for his books and discusses the difference between Modern Library readers, paperback readers, and trade edition readers. The

Modern Library’s attention to price and accessibility weighed heavily on authors and publishers alike, as did the cheap creation and distribution of mass market paperback editions. Concerning Scribner’s dealings with reprint giant Grosset & Dunlap, Perkins wrote Hemingway: “In a letter you pointed out the disappointing fact that books do not hold up as you had thought from year to year. We know that well enough. It is increasingly true. And the chief reason for it is the short-sightedness and avariciousness of publishers” (rpt. in Lousy Racket 94).22 For authors like Fitzgerald reprint series such as the Modern Library provided “continued distribution and an additional seal of critical appreciation for an already successful title” (Satterfield 131) and offered authors a chance to reestablish their books – and their authorities – in a new form. The Modern Library offered authors this platform, and authors regarded the series favorably over time.23

Consequently, the advent and proliferation of cheap paperback editions forced publishers to reissue works with new prefaces, as they hoped to cash in on renewed exposure and the new shift to classroom editions. With already a large scale distribution of in a variety of new venues – including drug stores, grocery stores, and train stations – publishers sought another venue for their authors’ works. Scribner’s began releasing the Scribner’s Library trade editions in the 1950s, after they recognized the

22 11 June 1931.

23 Hemingway was sad to see his connection to the ML go under when Scribner’s consolidated the author’s reprint contracts in order to release their own editions in the 1950s. He wrote Bennett Cerf on 14 November 1952: “it is about as much pleasure for me to leave the Modern Library is to turn in my suit any other pc place I was ever happy” (Letter to Bennett Cerf) He then offers his services as a partner in the Modern Library: “I really think I could be useful to you and that would handle the question of losing the damn name for the Library. I would be very happy to be on the masthead. You know we don’t all get the ” (Letter to Bennett Cerf). Hemingway would go on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.


growth of one of the most important publishing venues of the mid-century: the classroom.

West argues that “the demand for cheapness, utility, and wide circulation, together with the lure of a vast domestic market, had their effect on the publishing industry” (American

Authors 45), which partly led to the paperback revolution. Kenneth Davis notes that “the option of ignoring the paperback grew less viable as the reprint was increasingly viewed as a source of income. Reprint royalties were once thought of as icing on the cake of regular trade and book-club sales. But this income was beginning to mount as paperback sales grew, more titles were reprinted, and prices […] crept up to thirty-five cents” (145-

46). With the increasing viability of paperback editions, new trade editions soon entered the market as an option for larger publishers.

Fitzgerald asked Perkins several years before the Scribner’s Library editions hit bookstores to consider creating an omnibus collection: “I think the novels should come first and, unless there are factors there you haven’t told me about, I think it is a shame to put it off. It would not sell wildly at first but unless you make some gesture of confidence

I see my reputation dieing on its feet from lack of nourishment” (Dear Scott/Dear Max

252).24 Fitzgerald forecasted the firm’s intentions, though in the 1930s Scribner’s saw no need to create a vast reprint library. He reiterated his feelings to Perkins near the end of his life:

Would the 25 cent press keep Gatsby in the public eye – or is the book

unpopular. Has it had a chance? Would a popular reissue in that series

with a preface not by me but by one of its admirers – I can pick one –

make it a favorite with class rooms, profs, lovers of English prose –

24 24 December 1938.


anybody. But to die, so completely and unjustly after having given so

much. Even now there is little published in American fiction that doesn’t

slightly bare my stamp – in a small way I was an original. (261)25

By the 1950s, Scribner’s began its own trade edition library, which included what would become the firm’s primary seller: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. His longing to be remembered and repositioned is similar to Toni Morrison’s relatively recent foray into the trade paperback edition, in which she prefaces each of her novels with a foreword detailing the genesis, impact, and purpose of each of her novels.26 Such a move has become commonplace, and authors are still eager to situate their work due in large part to the mass circulation of cheap paperbacks.

While the Modern Library and paperback editions featured prominently in most professional authors’ output, the Book-of-the-Month Club (BOMC) also became a market force once established in 1923. Mail-order book clubs date back to the nineteenth century, whereby club members were sent books regularly selected by a committee or club group, but the critical and popular weight of the BOMC label assisted in sales and promotion more so than clubs of the past. Charles Madison notes that by the early 1960s

“the club had sent to its members a total of 183,000,000 books” (394), as the club targeted middlebrow readers with both popular and quality literature. Janice Radway notes club founder Henry Scherman’s refusal “to perpetuate the distinction between two forms of value, one determined by the operations of particular interests in the market, the

25 20 May 1940. Fitzgerald died in December 1940.

26 Vintage International Editions. 2004-2014.


other understood to be fixed, universal, and transcendent” (153). In terms of readership,

Radway argues that

to look at the construction of middle-brow culture by the Book-of-the-

Month Club and at the howls of rage its transgressive posture generated

among its many critics is to begin to understand the crucial ideological

work performed then, and even now, by a transcendent and idealized

culture embodied in the literary classic, bound in vellum and treated with

reverence and awe. (153)

The BOMC stamp of approval meant many things; in order to assuage publishers’ fear of price-cutting, the club offered essential services – including exposure, advertising, and marketing – and promised to keep prices stable rather than below the net average. Along with these tenants came an attention to culture, and “the Book-of-the-Month Club, then, as it was initially envisioned in 1926, promised not simply to treat cultural objects as commodities, but even more significantly, it promised to foster a widespread ability among the population to treat culture itself as a recognizable, highly liquid currency”

(173). Cultural capital combined with marketing mechanisms allowed for the BOMC to generate significant social weight throughout the twentieth century.

The middle-brow culture strove to inhabit the same cultural space as Hemingway,

Cozzens, Morrison, and others, while editors such as Max Perkins of Scribner’s were consistently reticent about the club’s power. After Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell

Tolls was made a featured selection by the BOMC in 1940, Perkins wrote F. Scott

Fitzgerald: “I suppose you have heard of the good fortune that has befallen Ernest. ‘For

Whom the Bell Tolls’ has been taken by the Club.—The stamp of


bourgeois approval. He would hate to think of it that way, and yet it is a good thing, practically speaking” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 266).27 Eight years prior Hemingway responded dismissively to Perkins when asked about the possibility of placing Death in the Afternoon in the BOMC:

if anyone so acts as to put themselves out as a book of the month they

cannot insist in ramming the good word shit or the sound old word xxxx

down the throats of a lot of clubwomen but when a book is offered for sale

no one has to buy it that does not want to—and I will not have any

pressure brought to bear to make me emasculate a book to make anyone

seven thousand dollars, myself or anyone else. (Only Thing 163)

In an interesting turn, by 1940 Hemingway had changed his tune with regard to For

Whom the Bell Tolls, as Robert Trogdon argues that “Hemingway wrote the novel without using any of the obscene words he had fought to include in his previous works.

In writing the novel, he gave in to commercial pressures, writing the novel in the way that he did to increase the chances of serializing it or of selling it to a book club” (“Money and Marriage” 6). This self-censorship flies in the face of his earlier admonition of the club’s membership, as even Hemingway caved in the face of increased commercial prospects. Conversely, Fitzgerald actively pressed to place Tender Is the Night with the

BOMC. He told Perkins that “it is to both our advantages to capitalize if possible such facts as that the editors of those book leagues might take a fancy to such a curious idea that the author, Fitzgerald, actually wrote a book after all these years” (Dear Scott/Dear

27 19 September 1940.


Max 181).28 In both instances, the BOMC entered into the publishing conversation of both authors; books were commodities, goods to be traded on the market for value, akin to Charvat’s tenants of professional authorship. Whether seen as deleterious or positive,

Scherman’s “subtle understanding of the ideological dilemma of the modern moment” and “his remarkable ability to address them through a particular, innovative organization of the business of cultural goods production” (Radway 186), positioned the BOMC in the middle of literary publication in the twentieth century.

With cultural identifiers such as the Modern Library, the Book-of-the-Month

Club, and authorized trade reprints entering the marketplace, authors in the twentieth century frequently chose to introduce their own materials with prefaces. As outlined above, the culture of reprinting in the nineteenth century greatly influenced the growing attention to authorship in American publishing. Each chapter in my study examines specific introductions by representative professional authors as attempts to market, explain, and wield authority over published texts. Also of interest are authors’ unpublished prefatory materials; the value of a writer’s pre-publication composition

(even in prefatory form) alters authority whether published or not. As a textual element in the larger textual makeup of a given writer, the unpublished preface helps us better understand a writer’s biographical, textual, and authorial narratives. G. Thomas Tanselle argues: “because a literary work can be transmitted only indirectly, by processes that may alter it, no responsible description, interpretation, or evaluation of a literary work as a product of a past moment can avoid considering the relative reliability of the available texts and the nature of the connections between them” (18). To ignore unpublished prefaces would be to excise significant authorial narratives when considering an author’s

28 25 September 1933. 27

profession, as publication requires several steps in order to produce a text. Fredson

Bowers argues passionately for the attention to an author’s composition identity, for “a critic who becomes impatient at the bibliographer’s concern to establish the exact form of a text in all its possible pre-publication states of variance is throwing away, almost wilfully, one of the best possible ways of understanding an author by following him step by step at work” (Textual Criticism 15). Bowers also highlights the importance of “the shaping development of idea” (15) and the modification of textual expression through literary creation, as contexts and concepts matter. Tanselle notes that “the insubstantial nature of language means that finished works must be searched for through the activity of mind,” as textual evidence possesses “a tranquility that comes from their being outgrowths of life, distillations of experience” (38). As important as published prefaces are in determining the authority of writers in the marketplace, writers’ unpublished prefaces offer yet another window into the creation of professional authorship in America and grant moments of literary and authorial discovery alongside textual creation.

Recognizing the value of authorial prefaces requires a measure of faith in textual study, as Bowers determines that “when one is working with a difference in degree, not in kind, the point at which one feels a need to defend the bridge is shifting and uncertain”

(Textual Criticism 2). I prove the importance of authorial prefaces by examining six authors across roughly ninety years of literary publication. Beginning with an author/editor (Willa Cather) and ending with an author/editor (Toni Morrison), I bridge the gap between periods, readerships, and literary functions, as both authors’ roles as editor complicate their attention to prefaces and publication. Surveying the careers of two authors who wrote several prefaces throughout their very public careers (F. Scott


Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway) provides studies of careerism, professional communication, and authorial self-fashioning in terms of textual output and ingenuity.

Two other case studies offer the comedic (Ring Lardner) and the serious (James Gould

Cozzens), as writers tended to cast themselves in terms of their predetermined authorial personae. Together, the following case studies amplify five persuasive types, which I have designated as authorial manipulation (Cather/Lardner), authorial anxiety

(Fitzgerald), combative authority (Hemingway), and authorial retrospection

(Cozzens/Morrison) inherent in prefaces of twentieth century American literature.

Chapter one addresses textual manipulation in Willa Cather’s introductions to My

Ántonia (1918; 1924) and Ring Lardner’s prefaces for Charles Scribner’s Sons (1920–

1929). Cather and Lardner offer a compelling contrast because one maintained the life of the professional author (Cather) while the other had authorship thrust upon him

(Lardner). Cather was known for her scrupulous attention to detail, high regard for revision, and insistence on controlling every facet of her work, while Lardner came to fame as a sportswriter and newspaper columnist who rarely kept copies of his own work.

Despite their professional differences, their texts display authorial control in many ways.

Cather revised her first edition introduction for a second edition eight years later, and

Lardner – with the help of Max Perkins and Scribner’s – was recast as a serious author for much of the , writing several prefaces to his reissued magazine fiction. Through creative prefatory use, both authors manipulate the preface in the name of authority.

Cather’s introductions could be read as proto-chapters, and each becomes an integral part of the structure, tone, and execution of her novel. Lardner’s tongue-in-cheek prefaces are really of introductions, with the author creating another venue for humor. In both


instances, these authors amplified their authority through preface writing and required readers to take notice of process before product. Both authors’ usage of introductions alters not only the reading of their texts, but the texts themselves.

Chapter two mounts a survey of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s career through attention to prefaces. The context of authority weighs heavily over Fitzgerald’s career. Though written off early by literary critics as a pseudo- half-, scholarly critics have worked tirelessly to correct the misconceptions regarding Fitzgerald’s working habits. Fitzgerald’s dedication to authorship is evident in his correspondence and in his revisions to manuscripts, typescripts, and galleys, as he carefully crafted The Great

Gatsby and Tender Is the Night following the relatively quick composition of The

Beautiful and Damned. While James L.W. West III, Matthew J. Bruccoli, and others have established Fitzgerald’s attention to craft, style, and revision as an integral part of his professional authority, the study of his published and unpublished introductions affords another window by which Fitzgerald’s authority can be traced. Centering on several prefaces – Part I deals with both an unpublished preface and a published prefatory note to

This Side of Paradise; Part II examines the “Table of Contents” to Tales of the Jazz Age; and Part III analyzes the introduction to the 1934 Modern Library reprint of The Great

Gatsby, an unfinished preface to Tender Is the Night, and an unpublished three sentence foreword to Taps at Reveille – I argue that the anxiety of authorship Fitzgerald experienced between 1920 and 1940 can be traced in part by examining these short prose pieces, the works they represent, and the correspondence which supports their creation.

Rather than functioning as marketing tools, which the majority of introductions do, these pieces function differently: as signposts of compromise over time, with a professional


author weighed down by the anxiety of authorship itself. An authorial identity in decline and defeat marks the latter introductions, as Fitzgerald’s career slowly eroded. Reading the above stated works without these pieces – as most readers have – allows for

Fitzgerald’s authority to linger. Reading Fitzgerald’s prefaces along with his texts emphasizes the level of professional anxiety he experienced as his career slowly declined.

Chapter three covers the majority of Ernest Hemingway’s career, with focus on prefaces from 1925 to 1948. Ranging from The Sun Also Rises, The Torrents of Spring, and In Our Time to A Farewell to Arms, Green Hills of Africa, and Men at War,

Hemingway’s prefaces from 1925 to 1948 lead down one road – combat. Disinterested in introductions, Hemingway crafts the anti-preface, a piece written out of functional necessity rather than authorial need. However, this also plays to the style Hemingway spent his career perfecting because the author Hemingway would never cede control of his text to a component outside of the text proper; we, as readers, expect his prefaces to be in conjunction with his best fiction: direct, to-the-point, unadorned, and likewise cynical about his current position. This process is echoed in his prefaces, as Hemingway used the space to experiment with authorial persona, reader control, and literary functionality. Part I surveys Hemingway’s early career (1925–1929), featuring unpublished prefaces to The Torrents of Spring, “ / A Novel,” and an introduction to In Our Time (1930; First Scribner’s printing). Part II examines

Hemingway’s introductions for other writers (1929–1949), a key component in the creation of his authorial persona and status. Finally, Part III investigates Hemingway’s mid-career (1930–1948), which featured a foreword to Green Hills of Africa, his introduction to The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories, an introduction to his


edited story collection Men at War, and his preface to Scribner’s 1948 illustrated reissue of A Farewell to Arms. The narrative of Hemingway’s career can be reliably traced through attention to prefaces, and by doing so we may begin to establish a methodology by which the young Hemingway became Hemingway, and why that transition is so important. Hemingway had a combative relationship with authorial introductions and functionality, and his usage highlights another place where the writer strove to express active creation over passive reportage.

Chapter four pairs the retrospective prefaces for works by James Gould Cozzens and Toni Morrison. The two offer a dynamic case study in authorial legacy – a chief component of retrospective forewords – for Cozzens remains a forgotten literary architect, and Morrison’s authority continues to grow. Placing their forewords in conversation with one another prompts us to reconsider authorial self-fashioning in the face of age and death, as both had won their awards and created individual canons of impressive literary merit by the time they began writing prefaces. James Gould Cozzens, a winning of the mid-century, sought to keep introductions and prefaces out of his texts and insisted that his fiction speak for itself. Incidentally,

Cozzens wrote six introductions to his own works: the “Record: Docket Entries” prior to

Chapter One of The Just and the Unjust; a foreword to James Meriwether’s Cozzens checklist; a foreword to A Flower in Her Hair and an introduction entitled “Laborious

Explanatory Note” to A Rope for Dr. Webster (both published by Bruccoli/Clark); “Some

Putative Facts of Hard Record,” published as an introduction to Just Representations: A

James Gould Cozzens Reader, and the author’s original unpublished introduction for the same collection entitled, “About Being Written About: Or, By Nimiety Possessed.”


Interestingly, save for the “Record: Docket Entries” prefacing The Just and the Unjust

(1942), the remainder of Cozzens’s introductions were written and published nearly a decade after his final published novel – Morning Noon and Night (1968). Integral to my study of Cozzens is the criticism he received following an interview with Time that documented the publication of his magnum-opus, By Love Possessed (1957), and his unpublished correspondence with publishers and editors near the end of his life – housed at Princeton University Library. Clearly against authorial prefaces in his early and primary periods, Cozzens contradicted his position later in life. Though he was dedicated to the craft of fiction rather than sustained authorial exposure, he quietly indulged in and produced introductions for smaller projects in his later years. Written both as a response to his hollowed-out authority in the wake of critical destruction and capsules of authority from a writer nearing his death, Cozzens’s late career forewords are a unique study in authorial perception. Though Cozzens was content with his legacy drifting into oblivion – as long as the work remained – these final markers of authority direct readers to the possibilities of exposure had Cozzens enacted such control earlier. Even so, while

Cozzens felt indifferent to the activities of novice readers and critics, his introductions show the final attempt by an author to reach his readers – few they may have been – one more time, and settle on the only true definition of James Gould Cozzens’s authority: his own.

Toni Morrison continues to fashion her persona in a period known for authorial self-creation. Though she has given – and continues to give – numerous interviews and lectures in service to her work, much of her personal life remains an enigma. Of note are several short forewords written for a reprint run of her novels begun in June 2004.


Published by Vintage International – a subsidiary of Random House-owned Alfred A.

Knopf – these forewords offer a glimpse into the author’s process, self-conception, and purpose. Morrison’s late career forewords resemble in intent Henry James’s prefaces for the New York Edition, as she discusses the germinating periods of her novels. She links public and private personae together, which results in a complex understanding of her fiction and literary intentions. Each foreword manifests a different part of the author’s biographical and artistic development. Morrison’s forewords speak to several functions of authorship simultaneously, as she creates mini-histories centered on reading, reception, and authorial definition. She deals in the freedom of expression, the creation of identity, an attention to history, and the power of family with her forewords, and each offers its corresponding novel a fascinating example of authorial precision. She fits this study because of her stature, but her forewords cycle authorial prefaces back to Henry James and the idea of the collected edition, as the “will to control” with her forewords outweighs the prospect of letting her legacy wander (Genette 251). Her forewords bring the study full-circle, with the author/editor/writer dynamic encapsulated in each foreword, and each novel benefitting from her new work.

Authorial prefaces can alter our reading of texts in a variety of ways, and how authors chose to enact that change is at the core of my study. In discussing delayed prefaces (which the majority of the prefaces under investigation are), Genette notes:

it sometimes happens that after a work, particularly an early one, is

published, an author’s tastes or ideas evolve – indeed, undergo a sudden

conversion. More generally, a middle-aged or elderly writer, when the

time has come to compile his Complete Works, sees a delayed preface as


an opportunity to express his thoughts, at a safe distance, about some past

work. (253)

Genette’s use of “safe distance” to describe an author’s relationship to a work over time ably defines the purpose of my study. Authors negotiate textual, artistic, and personal distance as their careers move forward, with each preceding text building upon the next.

Author’s prefaces offer readers an opportunity to gauge an author’s relationship to his or her text and offer textual evidence to support the lively interchange of ideas present in any given text. For an author, a work is never truly finished; writing for publication presents the public with a compromised authorial perspective, and when writers choose to preface that perspective with new material after time has passed the result forever alters the text of a given work. My study proves that the preface was one of the most important authorial devices available to American writers, and by examining these prefaces we grow our understanding of the complex mechanism of professional authorship in the twentieth century.



How to Write Introductions: Willa Cather, Ring Lardner, and Prefatory Manipulation

I: A Few Straggling Notes: Willa Cather’s Introductions to My Ántonia

You either have to be utterly common place or else do the thing people don’t want, because it has not yet been invented. No really new and original thing is wanted: people have to learn to like new things. – Willa Cather1

That seemed to satisfy him. – Willa Cather2

Willa Cather’s two introductions to her landmark 1918 novel My Ántonia set forth several authorial and editorial constructs found elsewhere in the author’s career. Unlike many authors of her time, Cather possessed significant editorial experience, having worked for McClure’s as a managing editor from 1906 to 1912. Though she left

McClure’s to concentrate on her own work, her experience editing the magazine informed the remainder of her writing career. After insisting that she edit and preface a new edition for her one-time mentor ’s The Country of the Pointed

Firs, Cather wrote editor Ferris Greenslet: “I think the stories ought to have a fresh envelope and be issued in standard-sized volumes with good clear type, – (I would suggest type like that you used in “Antonia”) – some type that does not look like textbook type. I don’t mean that I think the books ought to look loud, naturally, but modern” (SL

1 Letter to Roscoe Cather: 28 November 1918 (SL 262).

2 “Introduction.” My Ántonia. (1918 & 1926). Jim Burden adds “My” to his originally titled “Ántonia” manuscript, whereby Cather (or the narrator) concedes the above stated phrase.


354).3 Her use of “modern” is crucial here given the structure and purpose of her introductions to My Ántonia. Cather understood her market, and her artistic integrity hinged on a personal dedication to craft. Her work on the Jewett edition bridges the gap between her two introductions, as she forcefully positions Jewett alongside and Nathaniel Hawthorne as writers of the three greatest American works of fiction.4 In doing so, she makes a firm statement regarding craft and authority in an ever-changing literary age. Perhaps most effective is her evocative definitions of beauty, one concerning ornamentation and the other concerning modern non-ornamentation. Likening the latter to a modern yacht, she claims “our whole sensation of pleasure in watching a yacht under sail comes from the fact that every line of the craft is designed for one purpose, that everything about it furthers that purpose, so that it has an organic, living simplicity and directness” (“Preface” xix). The same can be said for Cather’s own work, as she painstakingly crafted every detail in order to further her authorial objective. This can also provide insight into her editorial practices, for her control lies beyond the confines of text. Indeed, she concludes her letter to Greenslet by providing him with orders: “You can be setting the new volumes while I do the introduction” (SL 354). Cather’s ability to shape her projects from detail to completion marks her as a significant editorial force in

American fiction.

So significant was her control that throughout the rest of her life that Cather often referred to Ántonia as “she” and “her” in correspondence. Cather responded to another of

Greenslet’s suggestions to reissue the novel with new illustrations by pleading,

3 17 February 1924.

4 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Scarlett-Letter respectively. 37

Why can’t we let Antonia alone? She has gone her own way quietly and

with some dignity, and neither you nor I have reason to complain of her

behavior. She wasn’t played up in the first place, and surely a coming-out

party after twenty years, would be a little funny. I think it would be all

wrong to dress her up and push her. We have saved her from text books,

from dismemberment, from omnibuses, and now let us save her from

colored illustrations. I like her just as she is. (540)5

She is no doubt referencing her dissatisfaction with Houghton Mifflin’s original advertising and marketing of the novel by noting how “she wasn’t played up in the first place.” Indeed, her 19 May 1919 letter to Greenslet decried a litany of issues which eventually caused Cather to break with Houghton and join Alfred A. Knopf in 1921. She noted how Houghton’s publishers “don’t believe they can make much on me, but they will be very careful not to lose much” (276), and that she “can work better for a firm that can give me some of its ingenuity and enthusiasm” (277). Though she had an amiable working relationship, and lively correspondence, with Greenslet for the remainder of her life, Cather’s insistence on keeping Ántonia “just as she is” provides a fitting entrance into determining the value of each introduction. She felt so highly of her novel that she wrote Carrie Sherwood Miner: “as for Antonia she is really just a figure upon which other things hang […] I was destined to write Antonia if I ever wrote at all”

(492-3).6 The complicated relationship that Cather had with both introductions to My

Ántonia illustrated a writer willing to experiment not only with the perspective of but also with the perspective of memory itself. These introductions provide

5 WC to FG: 29 December 1937.

6 27 January 1934. 38

readers with a sterling critique of memory, authority, and the means of storytelling, a critique made all the more crucial because of its vehicle. Without these introductions, questions of authority would remain conjecture or myth at best, but in the introductions to

My Ántonia we are privy to Cather’s expertly crafted textual play.

The introductions published by Willa Cather for My Ántonia represent a significant contribution to the function and aesthetics of the authorial preface. The preface takes on a considerably different role when placed within the context of Cather’s artistic intentions. Genette argues that

the way to guide the reading, to try to get a proper reading, is not only to

issue direct orders. The way to get a proper reading is also – and perhaps

initially – to put the (definitely assumed) reader in possession of

information the author considers necessary for this proper reading. (209)

To this end both introductions are filled with subtle narrative information rather than reading orders, but both also read as proto-chapters rather than direct introductions; this approach prompts close readers to infuse the upcoming narrative with the rich, complex perspective built in the introduction. Cather planned to include an introduction early on and establish her male narrator, for without a preface Cather herself would be lost in Jim

Burden’s narration. More importantly, because the novel solidified Cather’s position as a major novelist and regional literary chronicler, recognizing the role her introductions – published in the first edition (1918) and reworked for the 1926 revised printing – play in the framework of her novel is paramount in reconsidering the editorial and artistic force that was Willa Cather.7 I argue that Cather’s introductions compel not only a specific

7 Bibliographer Joan Crane labels the 1926 printing as a second edition based on “its existence as a different book in a different format, containing authorial revisions of the text,” though she confesses that 39

reading of the novel but a reading of Cather herself. The two pieces show Cather’s dexterity, as she showcases her textual intentions and espouses her focus on history, memory, and the emotional effect of landscape. Though thematically relevant, these pieces also function as textual modifiers, requiring readers to recognize the narrator of the novel – Jim Burden – through the prism of Cather’s “editing.” At several points in the novel Cather leads the reader directly to her editorial role, using the introductions to prepare readers for contrasting perspectives. Through correspondence we are privy to

Cather’s attention to detail, style, and the reception of the novel, as well as her obsession with leaving the text alone. Considering her extensive revision to the introduction by

1926, Cather extracts her own narrative wholly in favor of Jim Burden’s and removes her

“few straggling notes” in order to buoy Burden’s account; this effectively turns a co- authored project into a singularly written work. These factors allow for a complex reading of the text itself, whereby introductions serve as narrative links between aesthetics, economy, and legacy. The ruptured space created in her introductions questions the very narrative Burden gives and cloaks the novel in a modernist sense of authority and decentralized memory.

Early on, Cather’s confidence in the novel was less than emphatic. She told her brother Roscoe that her new novel idea was “not very new, none of my ideas ever are”

(SL 226), but the delivery of her novel featured a significant change: “the trouble about this story is that the central figure must be a man, and that is where all women writers fall down” (226). In reference to her earlier work Cather continued,

the book is not a true second edition “in the strict bibliographic sense” (66). Houghton Mifflin would eventually order fourteen printings of this revised printing. While the book was printed from the original Houghton Mifflin plates, Cather significantly revised only her introduction and asked for three minor corrections over the next six printings. However, to consider this text a second edition is bibliographically unsound. Therefore, I refer to the book as the 1926 revised printing. 40

I get a great many bouquets about my men, but if they are good it is

because I’m careful to have a woman for the central figure and to commit

myself only through her. I give as much of the men as she sees and has to

do with—and I can do that with the utmost authority. But I hate to try

more than that. And yet, in this new-old idea, the chief figure must be a

boy and man. (226)8

Her insistence on creating a male narrator to carry the novel provides insight into

Cather’s artistic intentions. She informs Roscoe of a “new-old idea,” in reference to her process of creating male characters seen through the prism of a female perspective. As we find in My Ántonia, Cather instead creates Jim Burden, a middle-aged man recollecting a strong female character (Ántonia). By making the change Cather is able to present a female as seen through the eyes of a man. This point has been the center of critical controversy, as Janis Stout believes “countless readers as well as numerous critics have accepted Jim’s heartfelt tribute at face value” (145). Many readers fail to recognize the double removal at the heart of the novel: Cather as editor to Jim’s “manuscript.”

Cather biographer James Woodress notes Cather’s previous use of male narrators in some of her short fiction as well as her autobiography of S.S. McClure – written as McClure himself (289-90) – to make clear the narrative device imperative to My Ántonia. Readers are exposed to a different type of novel where “the invented narrator is not a professional writer, the apparent artlessness of his memories seems perfectly logical, and the reader is willing to suspend his belief that he is in the presence of a perfectly controlled art”

(Woodress 290). Though Woodress articulates the invention clearly, Stout takes issue with Woodress simplifying Jim’s memories as, “of course, [Cather’s] memories” (290).

8 WC to Roscoe Cather: 8 July 1916. 41

Stout calls for a further examination of Cather’s role in My Ántonia, for by simply conflating Burden and Cather critics such as Woodress miss out on the editorial perspective that Cather was able to create in the finished novel. We must consider the complex narrative perspective at the core of Cather’s novel, and her introductions are an excellent space for such consideration.

Cather’s desire for control can be traced to very early in her career, as she told an interviewer for The Bookman in 1921, “I took a salaried position [with McClure’s] because I didn’t want to write directly to sell. I didn’t want to compromise” (Willa Cather in Person 21). Her subsequent output and correspondence show her ability to stay true to her initial conceit, and control itself alters our reading of several texts, none more so than

My Ántonia. Central to Cather’s introductions are her role as editor, where she claims that

Burden physically gave her the manuscript of My Ántonia, at which time she put it together and presented it “substantially as he brought it to me” (MÁ 1918 xiii). This oppositional authority is not new for Cather, as Merrill Skaggs points to the author’s

“reliance on evocative juxtapositions, so that scenes, lines, or facts placed side by side change each other,” and how in My Ántonia “polarities determine the story’s structural units, both large and small” (15). Though Skaggs characterizes these moments as

“organizing habits” meant to challenge readers, they also rely on “her reader’s ability to register the quiet explosion in the brain that juxtaposed volatile elements can produce”

(15). Stout revises Skaggs’s initial theory of polarities, determining instead that Cather’s polarities were “rooted in a deep ambivalence of response to a shifting, increasingly uncertain modern world. This pervasive dividedness of mind produces in Cather’s work a fiction far more complex, subtle, and uncertain than its appearance either of simplicity or


of resolved polarity would indicate” (145). This uncertainty permeates more than the fiction; the introductions represent a duality of authorship throughout, though Stout and

Skaggs agree that Burden is cloaked in Cather’s authority and knowledge; this is an obvious notion considering the author’s name on the dust jacket. However, Cather’s choice to create Jim Burden for narrative purposes reads differently if that introduction is not present. As she had always envisioned her work narrated by a male, Cather’s introductions both strengthen and weaken Burden’s narrative role. Burden is strengthened by being given the primary narrative position and voice, though he is weakened when he turns his manuscript over to Cather for editing. This polarity exposes the fiction to a litany of possible misreadings and misinterpretations, but also to a modernist understanding of self and execution through the creation of a double-authority. Because

Burden and Cather appear together in the introductions we are left with several textual expectations and questions once the novel begins.9

By exposing the rupture evident in the introduction, Cather questions authenticity, an authenticity begat from the removal of personal perspective in favor of another. Milton

Orvell believes that Cather uses this act “to disarm our expectations of ‘art,’ offering instead a narrative that promises to be the real thing itself, an authentic narrative of

Ántonia by someone who knew her and is, for reasons we may never fully understand, obsessed with her” (33-34). Stout goes on to explain the knowledge that Cather holds over Burden by this narrative removal, as if heightened art would spoil or detract from our understanding of, and Jim’s memories regarding, Ántonia. But if authenticity is the game, and Cather insists upon “making a virtue out of the naïveté of her narrator” (Orvell

9 The conceit of a found manuscript is very common, and Cather would have been aware of the effect such a device could have. Prominent examples include The Tale of the Tub (Swift), Don Quixote (Cervantes), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Twain). 43

35), what do we make of Stout’s assertion that Cather “can see beyond his sentimentality

– in part because as a woman she can see beyond the perspective of a man observing a woman’s experience – she does more than celebrate” (146)? Issues of control abound here, thanks in large part to Cather’s participation as “editor” alongside author and writer functions. In doing so, Cather ruptures several modes of perspective while maintaining control of creation and reception. No one doubts that Cather wrote My Ántonia, created

Jim Burden for narrative purposes, and presented his supposed memories as somehow removed from her own perspective, though edited together with her skill and attention to authenticity. Even further, the idea that Cather created a less artful novel for the sake of authenticity bears repeating the following question: for what purpose does her introduction exist? If we are dealing with authorial effacement – such as T.S. Eliot’s notion of poetry being “not a turning loose of emotion, but an from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but the escape from personality” (42) – can we confidently assert that Cather intended for her own narrative to be subdued in favor of another? The simple fact that Cather created Jim Burden and his narrative, critiqued the inception of that narrative in her introduction, and continued to defend the novel as her central work of fiction for the remainder of her life shows her ability to juxtapose the myriad functions of literature in order to complicate narrative expression. Though her introduction pretends to suppress the idea of her own personal narrative, the resulting work calls for investigation into authorship, itself a thoroughly modern idea.

More than any other Cather work, My Ántonia obfuscates authority while simultaneously celebrating authorial control. Stout likens this dichotomy to “the evacuations of identity associated with ” several years later and notes “the


idea of the plurality of the self and the falsity of unitary conceptions of meaning” in the novel (150). The novel represents a complex rendering of memory in order to both celebrate the past and broaden the conception of that past. David Stouck sees the introduction placing “the narrator’s memories in a perspective that creates dramatic tension in the book” (287), and though that dramatic tension drives the novel, it is

Cather’s introduction which allows for Burden to narrate in the first place. A battleground of control emerges within Cather’s carefully constructed introductions to My Ántonia, a space indicative of duality. Even more telling are Cather’s revisions to the original in

1926, where she removes any indication of her own narrative in favor of Jim’s recollections. There is no ideal way to understand Cather’s intentions here, other than that she recognized her role in publishing better than most authors, revised and corrected her work tirelessly (she would request foundry proofs, something authors just did not do), saw texts as an editor as well as an author, perceived readers’ tastes and expectations from text to text, operated on her own set of aesthetic and economic principles, and made certain her control was felt and realized at all levels of publication. If we internalize all aspects of Cather’s ability to function on writerly, authorial, and editorial planes, a natural space for exposure must be her introductions for My Ántonia.

Several critics have recognized the revisions made between 1918 and 1926, with the introductions featuring three main changes: 1) Cather removes long sections regarding Jim Burden’s wife, instead opting to simply state “I do not like his wife,” with much less extraneous material (MÁ 1926 x); 2) She lessens the explanation of Jim’s professional life, reducing a full page paragraph to eight lines; 3) She removes her own narrative from the table, reducing her “few straggling notes” in 1918 to nothing by 1926


(xiv). Some critics relate these revisions to ruptures in Cather’s personal life and liken her second introduction to her 1925 novel The Professor’s House, which includes a rural southwestern section in the middle of two relatively domestic urban episodes. Richard C.

Harris concludes that Cather, like her professor Godfrey St. , “found herself unable to accept or cope with the world around her” (33). In her excellent essay detailing the editorial role Cather espoused – specifically regarding the W.T. Benda illustrations to My

Ántonia – Jean Schwind argues that “by dropping the fiction of a co-authored Ántonia,

Cather strengthens the fiction of her editorial authority over Jim’s work,” speaking exclusively as Jim’s editor by 1926 (54). Schwind’s analysis promotes Cather’s editorial control over the text and concludes that by revising her introduction Cather takes umbrage with Jim’s recollections and lessens the impact of Benda’s illustrations. Such dialectical positioning finds the novel in a constant state of flux, with Houghton Mifflin editor Ferris Greenslet even promoting the excision of the introduction altogether by

1926.10 Schwind’s work with the Benda illustrations illuminates the same editorial function that Cather created in her introductions to the novel, and by recognizing the revisions as more than stylistic, both Harris and Schwind seek to augment the traditional understanding of Cather’s introduction.11

Cather’s intentions regarding her introduction prove difficult to characterize.

Because two texts exist we are apt to follow the version closest to the first edition,

10 Schwind quotes from a 9 April 1926 letter to Cather in which Greenslet felt the introduction destroyed the “classic outline” of Burden’s narrative (54). Of course the two compromised and created the revised introduction.

11 David Daiches calls the introduction “relatively unimportant” in his Willa Cather: A Critical Introduction (1951).


aligning with the Cather Scholarly Edition’s principles.12 However, since Cather revised her introduction substantially following both her own dissatisfaction with the original and

Ferris Greenslet’s insistence, the 1926 introduction could be the preferred entry. Though as Schwind points out, with these changes to the introduction come overall changes to the text itself (for her the Benda illustrations lose their effect). The scholarly edition reprints

Cather’s 1918 introduction as written, with the 1926 introduction available in fragments as rejected substantives.13 A complete reprint of the introduction would make certain that the integrity of Cather’s revisions were kept intact, granted the amount of scholarly attention such a revision has generated and will continue to generate. The dual introductions to Cather’s novel initiate a litany of questions regarding the textual integrity of her novel and authorial perspective. By recasting the author, writer, and editor functions, Cather propels her novel past a nostalgic exercise in memory into a fully formed critique on perspective, authorship, and artistic creation in the early twentieth century.

The initial impulse when reading the 1918 introduction is to immediately identify

Jim Burden as “author” of the text, since his memories form the narrative proper.

Incidentally, though Cather forcibly fits Burden with the burden of recollection, at no point should he be considered an “author” of anything. Failing to recognize the functional difference between Cather and her narrator leads to an inevitable misreading, which places textual control with Burden rather than Cather. However, the dual introductions

12 “The policy of the Cather Edition is to present the work as Cather intended it at first publication in book form, emended only to admit corrections authorized by Cather herself or deemed necessary by the present editors. Such a policy necessarily precludes incorporation of those later revisions made by Cather that alter the substance of the work or its aesthetic intention” (MÁ Scholarly Ed. 505).

13 See “Rejected Substantives” in My Ántonia. Willa Cather Scholarly Edition (529-32). 47

offer a competing vision of textual control, relying on readers to discern who controls the outcome of the novel and to what end. Near the end of the 1918 introduction, Burden responds to Cather’s confession that her own Ántonia manuscript had not gone further than “a few straggling notes” with, “‘Notes? I didn’t make any.’ He drank his tea all at once and put down the cup. ‘I did n’t arrange or rearrange. I simply wrote down what of herself and myself and other people Antonia’s name recalls to me. I suppose it has n’t any form. It has n’t any title, either’” (MÁ 1918 xiv). In the 1926 introduction Burden proclaims: “I didn’t take time to arrange it; I simply wrote down pretty much all that her name recalls to me” (MÁ 1926 xi). The first response finds Burden spontaneous, chaotic, and energetic, and he seemingly creates his recollections free form before awarding them to Cather once completed. His guzzles tea in one gulp, brazenly expresses that he did not make notes or arrange anything, and taps his “bulging” portfolio “with some pride” upon entering (MÁ 1918 xiii); Cather portrays Jim as the chronicler of energetic memories, a man brimming with optimism post-composition. The second introduction finds Burden reticent, composed, and even somber when presenting Cather with his manuscript. He claims time kept him from arranging the text, though the first response makes no such claim. Such a suggestion makes Burden less the romantic and more the practical memorializer, a subtle shift in character Cather enacts from introduction to introduction.

When entering Cather’s apartment Jim does not tap on his portfolio nor is that portfolio bulging under a fur overcoat. Pride has been replaced with practicality, as Jim sits and warms his hands (1926 xi). The energy is lacking, the charisma removed and replaced with quiet satisfaction rather than gusto.


Harris contends that the second introduction reflects Cather’s post-war mindset, of a time Cather famously wrote “the world broke in two in 1922, or thereabouts” (NUF v). Similarly, Schwind argues that Cather “strengthens the fiction of her editorial control over Jim’s work” (54) in the second introduction, a space where such control can be enacted and solidified given Jim supposed lack of control. If Cather sought to engage in authorial self-effacement by revising her second introduction she takes the perspective away from her own narrative possibilities and rigidly offers Burden authority over the material. However, the material in question is not the written word in either case, for editing the text in any way makes Cather complicit in the “novel” version of Jim’s memories, as much a creator as he. Skaggs credits Mildred Bennett’s work with proposing that for Cather “the imagination importantly expresses itself through arrangement, as well as invention” (x).14 Cather’s editorial concerns show most explicitly throughout her correspondence, given her history with McClure’s and her insistence on controlling the arrangement of her texts.

When finalizing the Benda illustrations Cather wrote R.L. Scaife asking for “the exact size of the page” and “a sheet of the paper you will use” so she “may size the cuts” herself, rather than put it in the hands of copiers (SL 250). She informed Greenslet on 1

February 1918 that “the Introduction will be almost the last thing I write” before commencing with an editorial concern over her name: “My name on the cover is ‘Willa

S. Cather’; if it is not too much trouble I wish you could ask them to cut out the S and solder the plate, leaving it simply ‘Willa Cather.’ I think the S looks too business-like for the queer title above it” (251). Prior to Ántonia, all Cather books had featured either ‘S’ or ‘Sibert’ in her name, but with her new novel she wanted something different,

14 Bennett published the first scholarly work on Cather, The World of Willa Cather (1951). 49

indicative of her eventual introduction. Upon reviewing the first proofs Cather told

Greenslet on 2 July that “the proofs are going well, except that the Riverside copy reader changed the spelling of Mama to Mamma – too sophisticated a form for these country people – and I have to change it back in every case” before concluding that “most of the copy-reader’s changes were good, by the way” (257). Her 11 July letter to Greenslet solidifies her editorial concerns: “You know I am particularly anxious that the cuts should be printed on the same paper as the text, and not on coated paper. I wrote asking for page proofs of the cuts, so that I can see how they are set on the page. (In the dummy the cuts were set too high in each case.)” (257). Her directness regarding not only the illustrations but also their position (to the inch) on the page shows how far Cather was willing to go in service to her vision; she asks “had you rather I wrote directly to the department in charge of these details, and, if so, whom shall I address?” (258). Cather was not in the business of letting others determine the layout, worth, or finality of her texts, a chief reason for her willingness to deal directly with the copy details.

Given these editorial concerns one should read My Ántonia and its introduction as the result of painstaking craft and precision, with nothing accidentally achieved. Cather’s introduction of Burden as writer and herself as editor plays into the dedication she had for seeing the work in both minute detail and large-scale totality simultaneously.

Immediately following the release of the novel Cather insisted to friend Irene Miner

Weisz that “a stranger, if he has an eye trained for literary values, is apt to get the whole picture more as a whole than anyone who knew the people from whom the characters were sketched” and felt that “the further you stand away from a picture of this kind, the


more you get the painter’s intention” (260).15 A gateway to these intentions occurs in the introduction to Jim Burden, who “loves with a personal passion the great country through which his railway runs and branches” and “if a young man with an idea can once get Jim

Burden’s attention, can manage to accompany him when he goes off into the wilds for lost parks or exploring new canyons, then the money which means action is usually forthcoming” (MÁ 1918 xi). Burden is the ideal storyteller because of his

“naturally romantic and ardent disposition” in both introductions; by bolstering his narrative, granting him fictional right, and collecting for him the various episodes within the novel, Cather specifically expresses her intentional editorial method. This method inevitably operates in the narrative itself, as Cather exposes at several junctures moments of editorial which grant the work a perspective of authorial ambiguity in the face of memory. As she changes her depiction of Jim in the 1926 introduction, her essential role as editor grows stronger in the face of her diminishing personal narrative.

These introductions provide the reader with a specific reading method for the novel, as one must determine the textual significance of such pieces, as well as their fictional counterparts within the novel itself.

My Ántonia is a novel about memory and therefore a novel about perspective.

Early on Jim regards his new home as “nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made” and gives the feeling of being “erased, blotted out” by the vastness of the landscape (MÁ 7).16 He has yet to produce a shadow, a symbol of the novel fraught with narrative possibility and analysis, mostly due to his being a

15 WC to Irene Miner Weisz: 26 October 1918.

16 I use the Cather Scholarly Edition of My Ántonia in quoting passages from the text proper.


shadow of Cather herself. Because of the introduction we forget, albeit momentarily, that there is no Jim Burden and therefore no Burden manuscript. There is only Willa Cather and the novel in our hands. However, the introduction manipulates readers and essentializes the narrator and his relationship to the text. Cather’s many veiled symbols are signposts of editorial authority playing through Jim’s narrative to remind readers of her complete artistic control throughout the novel. One of the most famous lines in the novel describes happiness as becoming “a part of something entire, whether it is sun or air, or goodness and knowledge” and “to be dissolved into something complete and great” (18).17 Cather wants her narrative to become Jim’s, and by creating a dual authorial perspective she is able to present an essential American vision of memory through a male narrator. Her “new-old” idea rested on self-erasure, as she produced her male view with female control. This control proved successful, and the effect of authenticity drove the early reception of the novel. Jim recalls “it must have been the scarcity of detail in that tawny landscape that made detail so precious” (28), and by recognizing the effect Jim’s narrative role would have over the entire work, Cather illuminates her own authority in the process.

Janis Stout reminds us that “however closely [Jim Burden] may represent Willa

Cather, his knowledge is less than hers. The result is an undercurrent of resistance to Jim

Burden’s voice and to his vision and judgment of Ántonia” (146). Jim makes reference to the “jealousy and envy and unhappiness” of closed up homes in Black Hawk, noting that

this guarded mode of existence was like living under a tyranny. People’s

speech, their voices, their very glances, became furtive and repressed.

Every individual taste, every natural appetite, was bridled by caution. The

17 In fact it appears on Cather’s tombstone as her epitaph. 52

people asleep in those houses, I thought, tried to live like the mice in their

own kitchens; to make no noise, to leave no trace, to slip over the surface

of things in the dark. (MÁ 212)

In referring to these homes as arbiters of alternate histories and practice, and “made up of evasions and negations” (212), Cather reminds readers that Jim is unaware of stories other than his own. His perspective, though present, is far from the only one present in the novel. Subtle hints such as this allow for Cather to situate Burden as simply “a” storyteller rather than “the” storyteller. But by doing so Cather calls careful attention to expectations and roles given to women like Ántonia and businessmen like Burden. Stout notes Jim’s role in distorting the past as much as recounting it, and through the double authority of the novel – Cather and Jim Burden – we are presented with an active exercise in perspective and interpretation.18

Cather asserts her control further when Jim recalls the setting sun engulfing a black plough, as “the long fingers of the sun touched their foreheads” (237). A substantial image, Jim centers on its curiosity “magnified across the distance by the horizontal light, it stood out against the sun, was exactly contained within the circle of the disc; the handles, the tongue, the hare – black against the molten red. There it was, heroic in size, a picture writing on the sun” (237). A variety of interpretations abound here: One, the plough is indicative of Jim, someone who’s portrayal of Ántonia and her legacy only gains clarity when emblazoned by the sun’s (Cather’s) rays. As it focuses every so often

(much like memory), the beauty of its composition becomes apparent, presenting a clear image of the past; two, the sun may be memory itself, as the plough is “a picture writing on the sun” (237). Memory is only given credence when enacted and transposed from

18 See Willa Cather: The Writer and Her World. 150. 53

person to person in some fashion. By transposing memory, Cather recognizes the futility of memory alone and how important the linking of several memories together is in forming a coherent narrative. This powerful image puts Cather’s editorial concerns in clear view, for readers must feel the lyricism with which the plough “had sunk back to its own littleness somewhere on the prairie” (238) and simultaneously deal with the image’s implications. Similarly, Jim describes a windmill against the night sky once he returns to his childhood home, now occupied by Widow Steavens: “I lay awake and watched the moonlight shining over the barn and the stacks and the pond, and the windmill making its old dark shadow against the blue sky” (310). The image of a static object engulfed in the light of a natural body, producing a shadow and issuing a secondary form plays to the specific double consciousness Cather seeks to enact from the beginning. Jim’s narrative comprises only one part of the picture, one source of insight. By denying the existence of other sources readers fail to ultimately understand Cather’s textual experimentation.

Because of her introduction, Cather consistently questions narrative authority and control.

Without an introduction, or signpost, Jim’s perspective may prove one-dimensional, even simple compared to what Cather has wrought. Such complexity of metaphor drives

Cather’s textual intentions, and she makes sure readers recognize alternate perspectives.

Once Jim concludes that he and Ántonia share “the precious, the incommunicable past” (360), his entire narrative comes into question. If the past itself remains incommunicable, how then did he create his manuscript, and how was he able to transcribe something so precious he feels it immaterial outside of his own experience with Ántonia? The dual introductions shed light on this issue. Jim’s feelings in the 1918 introduction feed on his energy, as he “impetuously” asks Cather why she has not written


anything about Ántonia, as if she too required the exercise of memory to make whole her existence (xii). Once agreeing to Cather’s suggestion that the two of them write down all they remember of Ántonia, Jim concludes that “I should have to do it in a direct way, and say a great deal about myself. It’s through myself that I knew and felt her, and I’ve had no practice in any other form of presentation” (xiii). Cather acquiesces and informs readers that Jim “had had opportunities that I, as a little girl who watched her come and go, had not” (xiii). By describing the narrative crux of her invention (a female writing from a male perspective), Cather lays bare her authorial motives. In order to achieve her artistic perspective (the insistence that the narrator must be a man), Cather relies on her introduction to parlay a role as co-writer into her role as editor, where she fitfully casts herself as the controlling agent to Burden’s recollections. However, even though she dictates the terms of her narrative structure, Cather spends much more time amplifying

Jim’s flippancy and , presenting somewhat of an idealist against the backdrop of adult mundanity. She makes Jim a better person than the Jim who appears in her second introduction, a result undoubtedly clouded by Cather’s own growth.

Since Cather wrote her introduction as an integral part of her narrative, one can assume that she preferred a revision due to the new stature of the novel. Genette points out that secondary prefaces result from a reaction to the first edition’s response, both critically and publically (240), and in most cases a negative response prompts a new authorial response in which the author resituates the work for a new readership. The oddity of the Ántonia introductions is that initial reviews were strong, with many declaring the novel one of the year’s best (even though Cather recollected incorrectly that


the majority of reviews for the novel were poor19). Sales were moderate due to the United

States’ involvement in , but Cather’s novel never fell out of critical favor.

Why then produce the second preface? Cather wrote Greenslet that the preface was “not very good” and that it was “the only thing about the story that was laborious,” though she insisted that a preface was necessary in order to get a picture of Jim’s “unsuccessful personal life” by the end of the novel (SL 377). Cather understood the function of her introduction, and incidentally the second introduction reads truer than the first. Jim is collected and imbues the same sort of romanticism present in the novel, one of restrained recollection, as he hopes to organize his memory for better or worse. Cather’s forced narrative removal only amplifies her methodology, the same process she explained more fully in her first introduction. Most importantly, the second piece inherently carries the weight of Cather’s technique, whereas the first plots it out explicitly while discussing matters immaterial to the intentions of the novel. Though her first introduction makes Jim an energetic lightning rod of memory, her second allows him to operate more practically, a man whose faith and knowledge produce greater insight than a man “still able to lose himself in those big Western dreams” (MÁ 1918 xi). For reasons more textually relevant than meets the eye, the shift in Jim’s character from introduction to introduction produces a narrative closer to Cather’s carefully organized intention and editorial persona.

Evidenced in both introductions, the personal connection Cather made with her novel shows control beyond text. It was artistic legacy as much as artistic present, and her revised introduction proved that she always knew what was best for her Ántonia.

19 See Woodress. Willa Cather: A Literary Life. 301. 56

II: Piano Tuning, Barbers, and a Mule: Ring Lardner’s Prefaces for the Scribner Boys20

I am a boy and cannot do my best work unless the room is full of live wolverines. While working I am always under a big nervous strain and after writing a article I get my relaxation by whipping one or more of the children. Then I am ready for another article. – Ring Lardner21

At one point placed alongside leading literary contemporaries such as Ernest

Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, , and , Ring Lardner presents a fascinating case for prefatory investigation. The leading and sports writer of his day, Lardner produced some of the most popular magazine work of the late

1910s and early 1920s, both with his editorship of “In the Wake of the News” (1913-

1919) and his syndicated column “Ring Lardner’s Weekly Letter” through the Bell

Syndicate (1919-1927), which reached a circulation of eight million by the mid-twenties

(Yardley 225). Many of his short stories appeared in publications ranging from The

Saturday Evening Post to Cosmopolitan, and his popular “Busher” stories

(eventually collected and published as You Know Me Al in 1916) set a new precedent for

American vernacular that had been championed by critic H.L. Mencken, author of The

American Language. Lardner’s influence was far-reaching, as his name became synonymous with literary celebrity from coast to coast thanks to his wide syndication.

His unique style, which oftentimes eschewed third-person omniscience in favor of a first- person account and usually in the guise of the “wise boob” character he created and popularized, allowed Lardner to present the elements of society from a wholly humorous and satiric perspective. In being more of a “creative editor” than “author” of his works,

20 More so than the other authors in this study, Ring Lardner intentionally misspelled words on multiple occasions in his published work for comedic effect. As clarified in the author’s note, all of Lardner’s spellings are his. No emendations have been made.

21 “In Regards to Genius.” What of It? New York: Scribner’s, 1925. 120. 57

Lardner was able to put his finger on the pulse of the American reader, namely through separating his real voice from the voice of his characters and allowing each to describe themselves rather than be described (Yardley 189-90). More complex than meets the eye,

Lardner’s fiction lost favor by the time he died in 1933, and his status now rests on his role as humorist rather than literary artist. Though much has been done to resurrect

Lardner’s best work, his writing still lags behind the work of his contemporaries – mainly

Hemingway and Fitzgerald. However, if writing is meant for publication and publication garners financial gain, Lardner, with income from short fiction pieces, a You Know Me Al comic strip and his syndicated column, was approaching $100,000 per year by 1922

(254). This large figure, coupled with his decision in the mid-twenties to partner with

Charles Scribner’s Sons in launching himself as a “serious” writer, offers a definite means by which Lardner can be positioned literarily.22 Though famous, wealthy, and squarely established as a popular chronicler of his time, Lardner’s foray into a serious literary career with Scribner’s starts and ends with one major device: the authorial preface.

Once under the house of Scribner in 1924, Lardner became the project of Max

Perkins, famed editor of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Wolfe. Perkins was known for dealing with difficult authors in a paternal fashion, wiring money, asking cautiously for new material, and encouraging his authors to create. He noted in a 1946 speech that “an editor does not add to a book. At best he serves as a handmaiden to an author. Don’t ever get to feeling important about yourself, because an editor at most releases energy. He creates nothing” (qtd. in Berg 6). Perkins knew how best to handle each of his authors, always putting the work at the forefront. Lardner had befriended the young F. Scott

22 $100,000 in 1922 has a purchasing power of over $1,000,000 in 2014. 58

Fitzgerald while living in Great Neck, New York in 1924. The two engaged in much tomfoolery, including getting drunk and dancing on Frank Nelson Doubleday’s lawn during Joseph Conrad’s visit to Great Neck. Aside from shenanigans, the two became mutual literary advisors, reading and commenting upon each others’ work during composition. Fitzgerald regularly checked in with Perkins on Lardner’s goings-on while the two were with Scribner’s, and Lardner frequently discussed Fitzgerald’s works-in- progress with the editor. Fitzgerald was crucial in getting Perkins and Lardner together, and he even provided his blueprint for a Lardner collection on a hotel menu.23 Scrawled in pencil, the omnibus shows Fitzgerald’s knowledge and respect for Lardner’s stories, listing pieces from all aspects of Lardner’s publishing past. This menu proves paramount in understanding Lardner’s career, for what separated him from the rest of Perkins’ stable of writers was his already established success, both popular and professional.

By bringing Lardner on, Perkins hoped to reposition the author as more than a humorist, and one way to do this was by reissuing his major works and collecting various others in a uniform edition complete with authorial prefaces. Through correspondence we can trace the development of these pieces, with Lardner’s output predicated on a somewhat withdrawn and mostly indifferent desire to be repositioned. Even so, the design, style, and textual implications of these pieces offer another level of to

Lardner’s penchant for textual comedy. In short, his prefaces become satires of prefaces, he the satirist of preface-writers. Similar to Hemingway’s self-effacement in various introductions, Lardner was keenly aware of the textual and authorial functions of his prefaces as they pertained to his fiction. By examining the prefatory material produced

23 “Ring Lardner Omnibus.” Autograph (ca. 11 December 1923). Miscellaneous Documents. F. Scott Fitzgerald Papers, Box 55; Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library. 59

for his uniform edition and other Scribner’s texts, as well as the geneses of the materials, the business of such materials comes into sharp focus and acts as a fitting introduction to the purpose and creation of authorial prefaces in the twentieth century. Unlike other authorial prefaces, Lardner’s prefaces showcase a chaotic authorial satire beyond the text itself. As his prefatory works show, Lardner knew what the space was supposed to include, but he also knew how best to lampoon that space as the writer who refused to fully become an “author.” It is this refusal that drives Lardner’s prefaces, and his position within this study.

For perspective, an understanding of Perkins’s role in the Lardner experiment is warranted. Perkins’s initial intention was to lure Lardner to the firm in order to produce a novel, the form he consistently pushed his writers to produce in the face of short stories, plays and essays. Perkins knew that a “big” book would produce positive financial and critical results, more so than other genres. One need only look to his correspondence with

Fitzgerald (concerning the nine year gap between The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the

Night) and Hemingway (concerning the eight year period between A Farewell to Arms and ) to ascertain the editor’s preferred publication genre. Though

Fitzgerald and Hemingway both produced collections of short stories during these gaps, and Hemingway wrote his two significant contributions to nonfiction (Death in the

Afternoon and Green Hills of Africa), Perkins consistently pressed his writers for novels and longer fictional work and knew full well their potential in the marketplace. He wrote

Fitzgerald on 3 January 1928 that “we feel no anxiety whatever about the novel,” though he immediately reminded his author, “I have worried a little about the length of time elapsing between that and ‘The Great Gatsby’” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 149). He likewise


wrote Hemingway on 30 August 1935: “When you’re ready to do a novel. That’s what they all must want. That’s what they all tell me they want + want me to tell you. I don’t think I can tell you anything” (Only Thing 224). Knowing Perkins’s attention to long form fiction, his relationship with Lardner and the author’s output shows similar genre- specific persistence. Though Lardner responded favorably to Perkins’s luring he never acquiesced wholly to the editor’s policies. Perkins performed “more of a clipping-and- pasting service for Ring, rounding up his stories and columns and plays and putting them into volumes, any clerk could’ve done that” (Yardley 266), though many letters show the editor trying to convince Lardner to produce a long work. Perkins knew that with Lardner he had a golden opportunity, a saleable commodity with over a decade of considerable success and readership. Of equal enthusiasm for Lardner’s new role in Scribner’s was

Fitzgerald. From the outset Fitzgerald knew the potential of Lardner’s expanded market if he were to produce a novel. Though he had two forceful literary advisors beckoning him,

Lardner never did produce a long work.

What is important, then, are the works Lardner and Perkins did produce together.

Beginning in 1924, the firm released How to Write Short Stories (with Samples), their introductory campaign to reposition Lardner as a “serious” author.24 The volume contained a preface – little more than a revised version of an earlier “Weekly Letter” for the Bell Syndicate – and introductory notes for each story in-text, in somewhat similar style to Fitzgerald’s table of contents to Tales of the Jazz Age published two years prior.

24 By “serious” the firm meant more literary, an author concerned with the literary influence his work has (and may have) on present and readers/writers. At no point did Perkins or the firm wish to curtail Lardner’s humor or satire. In many ways Perkins felt he could be the next Mark Twain.


After moderate sales and strong reviews,25 Perkins launched the first three collections of a five volume uniform edition of Lardner’s works, which featured the reprinted Gullible’s

Travels, Etc., The Big Town, and You Know Me Al. A miscellany of Lardner’s magazine articles – What of It? – followed and was subsequently reworked into the uniform set, as was How to Write Short Stories. By the end of 1925 Scribner’s had five Lardner titles available to the public, a significant offering considering the author’s already well- established position in the magazine marketplace. The Love Nest and Other Stories followed in 1926, along with his faux autobiography – The Story of a Wonder Man – in

1927, Round Up in 1929,26 and the co-authored June Moon in 1930 (originally produced in 1928).27 All told, Lardner’s exposure in the literary and magazine marketplaces was considerable by the close of the 1920s. Nine Scribner’s titles along with the You Know

Me Al comic strip (1922–24) and his regular “Weekly Letter” for the Bell syndicate

(which he relinquished in 1927) placed the author in a position of considerable power throughout the decade. By March 1927 Cosmopolitan was paying Lardner $4500 per story, more than any other author of his time (Yardley 305). All of this adds up to one crucial question: was the Scribner’s campaign effective or even necessary in maintaining

Lardner’s popularity?

The answer remains difficult to determine. Douglas Robinson suggests that

Lardner “wrote for two audiences” and that “in a culture dedicated to ideals of egalitarianism and excellence, democracy and genius, pleasing both the masses and the

25 16,325 copies sold by February 1925.

26 Two initial printings were made of Round Up, one being the Literary Guild edition. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Richard Layman could not determine the order of printing, though they note the guild distributed 70,000 copies (88). I use their Ring W. Lardner: A Descriptive Bibliography for all relevant bibliographic information.

27 The play was co-written by George S. Kaufman. 62

elite spells success-a success only a few of our writers have attained” (265). Suggesting

Lardner intended for his work to make both the popular and critical communities happy is uneven territory. Due to the large sums he has making in various print markets, Lardner did not need to produce new fiction for Scribner’s nor cast himself as a “serious writer” worthy of critical acclaim. While some have claimed Lardner’s possible desire – albeit miniscule – to become more than a humorist, the texts themselves show Lardner at his popular best, angling into a critical community on his own terms.28 Indeed, the vast majority of his Scribner’s titles were reprint editions of previous texts published by either

Bobbs-Merrill or George H. Doran, and magazine work previously published in a variety of publications with very little new material written exclusively for Scribner’s.29 Unlike

Fitzgerald, Hemingway, or Thomas Wolfe, Lardner’s primary goals were always firmly established in the magazine market. He knew how to write to make money, and he did it with a knack for production and reception through considerable business acumen.

Therefore several of his Scribner’s titles contain a loosely structured and themed preface designed to do very little for the text it precedes.

Though Perkins asked for and encouraged the writing of these prefaces, he no doubt wondered why Lardner refused to follow the standard preface writing of other writers, such as Joseph Conrad or Henry James. Though many authors had expanded the field of preface writing, Lardner set that standard on an altogether new path by outwardly lampooning the very idea of prefaces and their writers. More explicit than Hemingway

28 Yardley suggests, “He came to understand that his work could have more than dollar value, and to be bothered more and more by a nagging worry: Can one write for the dollar and for ‘art,’ or does a choice have to be made?” (255).

29 Even Lardner’s odd autobiography, The Story of a Wonder Man, was initially serialized in Cosmopolitan from 11 July 1926 to 9 January 1927. The book was then published soon after in March 1927. 63

and less cynical than Fitzgerald, these introductions complicate the intended function of the preface – the most important of which “is to provide the author’s interpretation of the text or, if you prefer, his statement of intent” (Genette 221) – by indirectly commenting on the business of literature through comedic misdirection. Perkins may well have intended for Lardner’s prefaces and reprints to reposition an authorial persona in hopes of attracting new readers and stabilizing his new author’s artistic future. However, it seems likely that Lardner sought to reinforce an already established authorial persona to an already established set of consumers, thereby refusing to fix what wasn’t broken. Ring

Lardner’s prefaces for Scribner’s from 1924 to 1929 operate on the same level of humor and satire his texts do, with the author ably performing his persona deftly and effectively.

The result: pieces as textually nonsensical and arbitrary as many of his writings on the surface, yet carefully constructed to expose the underside of socio-cultural mores, specifically the publishing industry as it pertained to writers, authors, and readers.

Scribner’s attempted to recast Lardner by publishing an ambitious collection of the author’s best known stories, How to Write Short Stories (with Samples), on 9 May

1924. Leading up to publication editor Max Perkins sent Lardner several letters outlining his intentions – as well as his reservations – with the firm’s new literary property. His introductory letter inquired about Lardner’s willingness to “form a volume” around “The

Golden Honeymoon” (Ring Around Max 2-3).30 While simple and straight forward, the editor mentions Fitzgerald at three different points; he claims Scott recommended “The

Golden Honeymoon” to him; he alleges that Scott persuaded him to write to Lardner; and finally he defers to Scott’s judgment concerning Lardner’s possible decision (2-3). In all, this introductory letter truly prefaces the relationship Lardner, Perkins, and Fitzgerald

30 MP to RL: 2 July 1923. 64

would forge for the remainder of the 1920s, with Lardner reluctantly – at times – acquiescing to Perkins’ requests, though never allowing the editor to do what he did best: edit manuscripts. By 15 January 1924, Lardner had sent Perkins a preface to his first collection, which Perkins dubbed “excellent” (7). Perkins had taken the initiative and placed How to Write Short Stories on the Spring list, though he had never formally asked

Lardner for permission. His 1 February letter points to the editor’s propensity for action, as he assured Lardner “we felt that the best thing to do was to act immediately and get out a volume” (9). Lardner agreed and told Perkins the next day that “the arrangement and terms are satisfactory to me” before inviting him out to Great Neck (10).

Unlike the oftentimes contentious correspondence from Hemingway or Fitzgerald to Perkins, Lardner’s letters always remained understated, calm and professional, akin to his reputation within the writing profession. This reputation made his relationship with

Perkins rather simple; case in point, when Perkins recommended Lardner include short introductory notes between stories due to a “weakness in the title” because “the intent of it was not strongly enough expressed in the book” (14),31 the author responded, “I think the preface idea is a good one” (17).32 Lardner was always willing to hear Perkins’s requests, since he never truly needed the Scribner’s collections to succeed for his own personal profit. More often than not Lardner would hear Perkins and then benignly disregard his editor. He allowed Perkins to collect and publish his stories, but the money that he earned never approached the sums reached from his magazine work. His standard

Scribner’s rate (15% royalty) rarely netted him significant profit. From the outset Lardner utilized the Scribner’s titles to grow his satiric and nonsensical authority through prefaces

31 MP to RL: 17 March 1924.

32 RL to MP: 22 March 1924. 65

and authorial notes rather than new stories or a novel. His early correspondence with

Perkins shows his relative indifference to the firm’s willingness to recast him as more than the writer he was, though the new volumes did bring him much publicity and critical attention. Beginning with a collection of already published stories, Perkins knew full well he had to create a different kind of text for the Lardner reader. An earlier Scribner’s title,

Fitzgerald’s collection Tales of the Jazz Age (1922), made similar use of authorial commentary with the author’s table of contents, whereby Fitzgerald posed as the author he thought his readers would respond to. Similarly, Lardner’s preface and commentaries offered an authorial pose very much established within the author’s canon and public reputation. So established was his authority that the preface was merely reworked from one of his “Weekly Letter” segments for the Bell Syndicate,33 which allowed Lardner to seamlessly transition his persona from magazine to trade publication with little interruption or effort. Whether lazy or intended, this move shows Lardner’s satiric sensibilities for both his authorial and textual needs. Interestingly, even with his recycled preface the most successful and innovative of his Scribner’s volumes proved to be How to Write Short Stories (with Samples), with its “new” preface and short introductory commentaries garnering much critical and popular attention once published.

The purpose of Lardner’s preface was to actively lampoon the use of writing manuals in the writing profession, which had been in vogue since the nineteenth century.

From the outset Perkins knew that the first volume would rest on Lardner’s established readership. Since Lardner refused to take himself or Perkins’s request for a preface seriously, the volume features Lardner’s characteristic self-effacement (Yardley 275).

Knowing that his persona had garnered him a significant following, and that the same

33 13 January 1924. 66

persona had brought him to the attention of Perkins and Scribner’s, Lardner reinforced his intention to keep his readers – and himself – in as stable a state as possible. At no point can How to Write Short Stories be taken seriously, the effect intended by Lardner and his new publisher. However, due to a new literary shadow produced by Scribner’s,

Lardner was expected to start evolving, even if that comfort zone proved successful for the first volume. A Scribner’s New York Times display advertisement from 1 June 1924 declared Lardner, “an extraordinary humorist, who, like Mark Twain, puts far more than fun into his stories. Compassion follows laughter; amusement gives way to a sense of infinite pathos. Authenticity and veracity are the first qualities of the stories in this volume” (Display Ad 51). With Twain front and center as Lardner’s literary companion, the ad sets the author in a different category, since Twain was known for short stories and novels equally. Further, by insisting that Lardner’s stories exhibited as much compassion and pathos as they did laughter and amusement, it was clear Scribner’s wanted Lardner to evolve. The ad continues with quotes from Burton Rascoe, who compares Lardner to

Sherwood Anderson, , and Willa Cather, serious authors all. Max

Perkins wanted Lardner to become the next Mark Twain, and early advertisements made this point clear to the reading public. An analysis of the preface and notes to the first volume represent prefatory manipulation as a means to both augment and maintain an established authorial position. As both a new and established author, Lardner had to play to both personae in order to make Scribner’s investment worthwhile. The established author is most represented in his preface, while the new author can be found between stories with the short commentaries. By balancing both authorial positions, Lardner’s first


Scribner’s volume foreshadowed the remainder of his output for the firm, an author never completely willing to become something other than what he was.

Yardley refers to the preface and notes to How to Write Short Stories as both

“offhand” and “self-mockery” (275-76), with each providing a satiric slant on established literariness and training. Early on Lardner attacks “correspondence schools that learns you the art of short-story writing” and the ineffectiveness of such schools (HWSS v). He claims that “the most of the successful authors of the short fiction of to-day never went to no kind of a college, or if they did, they studied piano tuning or the barber trade,” concluding “they could of got just as far in what I call the literary game if they had of stayed home those four years and helped mother carry out the empty bottles” (v). Lardner separates the mind from the act, with his ideal writer making the most out of realistic experience and judgment rather than engaging in an intellectual exercise. Though certainly tongue-in-cheek, Lardner recognized his immense readership’s response to a non-intellectual, non-literary writer would be positive rather than negative. He plays to the sensibility of a simpler reader, calling the trade a “game” and referring to intellectual novice writers as “boys or gals who had win their phi beta skeleton keys at this or that story-writing college” (v). Rather than spend money and time being taught how to write,

Lardner insists that “you can’t find no operation up to date, whether it be a general institution of learning or a school that specializes in story writing, which can make a great author out of a born druggist” (v-vi). If taken seriously Lardner’s preface would lose all effectiveness, but this comment rings true even today. His critique of authorship centers on real talent rather than forced output, and Lardner possessed real talent. As with any professional writer Lardner worked hard at his writing, and he knew the immense toll it


took to create and express perspective. This comment points directly to Lardner’s understanding of professional writing, and few understood the field as well as he.

With this in mind, Lardner’s first three paragraphs display a simple authority on the surface, but beneath that surface is the hard-working efficiency of a professional writer. More effective is its appearance in a Scribner’s book rather than a periodical for mass publication. Were he to refine his authority and grant a serious introduction to the art of the short story, readers would justifiably respond with either anger or puzzlement.

Inversely, prominent critic was puzzled at the authorial reversal, for he expected an evolution in Lardner’s persona. Wilson inquired, “is all this an idea of the publishers, who do not want to forfeit the prestige of Lardner’s reputation as a humorist, or is it due to Mr. Lardner, who is timid about coming forward in the role of serious writer?” (qtd. in Yardley 276).34 The Scribner’s label altered Lardner’s ability to fully get away with his satiric sentiments, though he continued to mine them for the remainder of his association with the firm. Whatever the effect critically or popularly with his prefaces,

Lardner maintained a persona consistent with his magazine work, playing for laughs more so than enlightenment. At no point could the author be categorized as timid, though complications were bound to appear because he chose Scribner’s. Wilson concluded: “If

Ring Lardner has anything more to give us, the time has now come to deliver it. He has not even popular glory to gain by pursuing any other course…What bell might not

Lardner ring if he set out to give us the works?” (277). Becoming a “serious” writer meant dealing with serious criticism, something Lardner understood.

Suffice it to say, Lardner’s preface does enlighten readers on the machinations of artistic creation, editing, and publication, even while engulfed in the patina of ridicule.

34 Both Yardley and Elder quote from Wilson’s review of HTWSS for . 69

He notes that “the first thing I generally always do is try and get hold of a catchy title, like for instance, ‘Basil Hargrave’s Vermifuge,’ or ‘Fun at the Incinerating Plant,’” before looking “cock-eyed” at colored pencils and blank paper prior to selecting his materials (HWSS vi). The humor of his titles obviates the authority of a serious author, for the catchiness of those titles outweighs their art. “Vermifuge” sounds better than its definition, and Basil’s use of vermifuge on himself or others offers readers an initial conceit.35 Likewise, one generally does not have fun at incinerating plants, though the curiosity of what fun could be had promotes the title’s main goal: catch the reader.

Similarly, he utilizes double speak to poke fun at the writing professional: “How to begin—or, as we professionals would say, ‘how to commence’—is the next question. It must be admitted that the method of approach (‘L’approchement’) differs even among first class fictionists” (vi-vii). By recognizing the duality of authority (personal and public), Lardner shows how his work differs from others while maintaining a link to a similar professional mindset. He would never have signed with Scribner’s if he had not understood the possibility of professional gain, but because his preface was written prior to the publication of the text in an altogether different medium Lardner can again position himself between literary and popular, serious and silly. His explanation and example of beginning a story continue this duality, for he is able to offer both helpful commentary and self-effacing posturing in equal measure.

When Lardner observes that “the reading public prefers short dialogues to any other kind of writing,” he means it (vii). His circulation and prosperity rested on such dialogues, and by reminding readers of his own comfort and control within those pieces he promotes an authority based on condensation rather than expansion. The less we know

35 Vermifuge: “An agent used to expel parasitic worms” (Merriam Webster). 70

about the “real” Ring Lardner the better, and his preface maintained his vigil against over-emphasizing anything other than the writer his readers would surely recognize. At this point in the preface one expects Lardner to get on with the specifics of writing and promote a semi-serious tutoring service for his volume’s readers. While it begins that way, it certainly does not conclude that way. His initial fabricated sample plot makes sense, with two girls at a resort looking for famous autographs and narrowly escaping a forger’s autograph which would certainly have made them both embarrassed and ashamed. He then begins writing “with haphazard dialogue” to see where his plot might go (viii). Of course it goes nowhere, eventually leading Lardner to scrap his plot and

“take up the life of a mule in the Grand Canyon” who watches trains go by and “keeps wondering who is going to ride him” (ix). Lardner then writes of strangers on a train who end up playing and listening to the same composer (Chopin) outlined in the original plot.36 Both musical pieces mentioned do not exist, as one features a fugue exclusively for bass drum, while the other utilizes a cuspidor (spittoon) along with a flute. Aware of his readers’ expectations, Lardner plays up the farce, with each growing anecdote bending over on itself in laughter. It is this laughter that drives the piece and the collection, and Lardner offers little more than extra comedic material to a book filled with humorous stories.

More than any other author in the Scribner’s firm, Ring Lardner knew his readership from top to bottom, which allowed him immense latitude in terms of artistic self-creation. By creating farce after farce after farce in his preface, Lardner pummels his readers into satiric submission and opens up the form to allow for complete disavowal of

36 The initial plot features Chopin’s 121st Fugue for the Bass Drum; the second features Chopin’s Twelfth Sonata for Flute and Cuspidor. 71

authorial posturing. Lardner’s stories were his own, and when he finished them he gave them to the public for their entertainment. He neither edited a story nor revised an existing piece for Perkins and Scribner’s; instead Lardner let his stories exist on their own once written. A similar effect can be felt in his preface, as Lardner never really intended for readers to take his preface seriously. When offering concluding advice to writers he explains, “personally I have found it a good scheme to not even sign my name to the story, and when I have got it sealed up in its envelope and stamped and addressed, I take it to some town where I don’t live and mail it from there. The editor has no idea who wrote the story, so how can he send it back? He is in a quandary” (x). Putting one’s name on a story grants that writer authority over the material, and authority was never

Lardner’s game. To this point, it is evident that Lardner never required all of Perkins’s attention. Perkins dealt with Lardner as he was and encouraged his potential for novel- writing once his uniform set was published. Textual control never concerned Lardner, and his reading public provided a buffer between the writer’s sensibilities and his new firm’s literary intentions. Without an established public, Lardner may very well have fallen in line and produced more “serious” fiction.

But then again he may not have. His final call in the preface mentions how his collected stories “will illustrate in a half-hearted way what I am trying to get at” (x). It is impossible to illustrate intentionality when the author refuses to get at anything in particular. Reading his preface should form one singular conclusion: it means nothing for the text. Lardner’s preface and notes lead readers down back alleys and rabbit holes for no other reason other than to express the sheer joy of humorous structure and punch lines.

Lardner knew his readers would engage in laughter before ever engaging in thought-


provoking critical dialogue, and by refusing to put a square peg in a round hole the writer maintained his carefully constructed magazine persona throughout the preface and its accompanying text. Similar to his preface, the short commentaries introducing each story in-text relinquish any serviceable authorial function in favor of nonsensical humor, resulting in pieces as functionally meaningless as his preface. Each selection engages in a level of humorous dialogue with the reader. “The Facts” was “written on top of a Fifth

Avenue bus, and some of the sheets blew away, which may account for the apparent scarcity of interesting situations” (1); “Some Like Them Cold” was “a story written from a title, the title being a line from Tennyson’s immortal ‘Hot Cross Buns’ ” (45); Lardner thanks Chief Justice Taft for the “slang employed” in “Alibi Ike” (79); “The Golden

Honeymoon” includes a single-phrase preface, “a story with ‘sex appeal’ ” (113), hilarious in that it is a story about two septuagenarians who dislike each other; to the point, “Champion” is “an example of the mystery story. The mystery is how it came to get printed” (143); and “Horseshoes,” Lardner writes, “is the kind of story which the reader can take up at any point and lay down as soon as he feels like it” (317). These notes are one-liners, punch lines signifying nothing other than the author’s ability to structure a laugh. Lardner chose to do away completely with traditional notions of prefacing, which results in pieces as true to their author as any other. For Perkins, adding a preface and notes meant expanding Lardner’s loosely connected stories into a serviceable volume rather than a series of vignettes. As noted earlier, prefaces typically provide authors with a forum for explanation, conversation, and reader engagement. But since Lardner maintained an air of post-composition negligence with his own work, one can assume that his prefaces and notes meant about as much to him and his texts as if


they were written by someone else.37 His spatial play marks the authorial preface as more than a textual endeavor. Lardner’s refusal to become “author” by Scribner’s standards is evident within these pieces, and he chose to continue an already established persona rather than create a new one.

Following publication, promotion of the book was strong. In an 11 June 1924 letter Perkins informed Lardner: “I am writing to warn you to avoid 42nd Street opposite

4th Avenue for the next several days…because you are likely to be recognized there on account of the fact that Liggets have a large window display of ‘How to Write Short

Stories’, an enormous enlargement of your picture, and some pages of the preface” (Ring

Around Max 29). He then mentions a Printer’s Ink article complimentary of the title, preface, and introductory notes, in which it states these pieces are “a new way of putting out a product so as to distinguish it” (rpt. in Ring Around Max 29). Clifford Caruthers contends that the main function of the prefaces was to “remind Lardner’s large following of readers that he was still their unspoiled newspaper humorist,” and that offhand pieces such as these could add to the promotion of the book (8). Perkins continued to draw on this quality and released the largest advertisement for the book, complete with several pictures. Six weeks later Perkins reinforced Lardner’s popular standing and issued a near- apology for “speaking of you in the leading paragraph – in the interest of effect – as if your recognition as what the paragraph says you are recognized as being, were something new” (37).38 Perkins was apt to encourage Lardner’s status rather than pad his author’s ego, and he consistently tried to convince Lardner that due to his unequalled literary

37 Lardner famously refused to keep copies of his own stories, which forced Perkins and Fitzgerald to attain stories and pieces from magazines and periodicals directly, a considerable task given the author’s significant output.

38 MP to RL: 31 July 1924. 74

status he should commence with writing a novel. Perkins gave his authors what they needed, whether that was therapy, financial support, or tough love; his correspondence with Lardner shows steadfast dedication to getting a novel written, but Lardner politely ignored these overtures. Instead the firm continued with its initial plan to publish the five- volume Lardner set, both in individual trade editions and as one collective set. Along with How to Write Short Stories, Scribner’s reprinted three previously published works and commissioned a new miscellany, complete with prefaces for each. Lardner would slightly alter the type of preface he created in How to Write Short Stories, as his short prefaces for the uniform set offered more punch line than setup.

Released at a definite crossroads in Lardner’s association with Scribner’s, the uniform set made good on the author’s popularity and success. Now at his financial and literary peak, Lardner continued to field suggestions regarding a novel even while his set of short pieces was in development. He wrote Perkins on 2 December 1924 informing the editor of his intentions to “sever connections with the daily cartoon early next month” which would leave him time to write “at least ten short stories a year” (45). By 1925 he had done just that, having relinquished control of the “You Know Me Al” comic strip entirely. However, following this seemingly good news Lardner told his editor that “Don

Stewart’s ‘Mr. and Mrs. Haddock Abroad’ was a blow to me. That is the kind of ‘novel’ I had intended to write, but if I do it now, the boys would yell stop thief” (45). Perkins did not respond to this news until the following year.39 While deep in editing Fitzgerald’s The

Great Gatsby, Perkins wrote Lardner with an excellent evocation of both the editor’s theory on introductions and his willingness to push his writer into publishing an elusive

39 MP to RL: 23 January 1925 75

novel. After asking for a title for what would become What of It?, as well as short prefaces for each of the reprinted books, Perkins wrote:

We are almost ready to issue them. I meant to ask outsiders to write

introductions, but who could do it? There are only two or three people

who could write good ones. I would not want to ask , for

instance, because it would be absurd, nor Scott either, to tell the truth. The

theory of an introduction is that the author needs somebody who is of

higher standing than himself and you are not in a position where from this

point of view anyone is available. (51-52)

Perkins assures Lardner that he is unequalled, that his position is better than that of

Mencken, Seldes, or even Fitzgerald when it comes to fiction. By flattering Lardner

Perkins responds to the prior news regarding Stewart’s novel with continued support rather than reticence. He reserves his frustration for Fitzgerald and makes Lardner more of a literary advisor than a rival author. This subtle promotion was meant to give Lardner confidence, though the author required none and still refused to create a novel for the firm. More importantly, Perkins’s simple definition of preface writing provides insight into the editor’s relationships with Fitzgerald and Hemingway as much as Lardner.

The prefaces for the reprint editions of Gullible’s Travels, Etc., You Know Me Al,

The Big Town, and What of It?, continue the burlesque quality of How to Write Short

Stories while expressing “a profound sense of isolation” (Elder 241), leading one to consider the effectiveness of satire in a market clamoring for literary art. Perkins pressed for these prefaces so as to “publish with much greater effect” the entire volume (Ring


Around Max 56).40 Perkins similarly wanted a preface out of Ernest Hemingway in 1930 when Scribner’s planned to republish In Our Time and clearly intended for the new printing to stand out from the original. Though critics had been apt to accept Lardner’s preface for How to Write Short Stories, the set’s prefaces received little attention, while the introduction for his follow-up collection – The Love Nest and Other Stories – forged an identity of Lardner as a misanthropic cynic rather than a sly satirist of characters he had real affection for.

Each short preface provides a notable punch line. For Gullible’s Travels, Etc.

Lardner asks a female swimmer if she remembers the other stories in the book besides

“Gullible’s Travels,” to which she replies positively, though she concludes, “About!”…“I didn’t think they were about anything” (vi); Lardner assures readers in The Big Town that the couple in the book could not be the Lardners, instead he insists that “fortunately most of the inquirers made the inquiry of me, the possessor of a notoriously sweet disposition.

Two of them, however, asked the madam herself and were both shot down” (v). He concludes by thanking the rats for staying out of his summer home while writing the book there in the winter (vi); Lardner’s preface to You Know Me Al features several humorous episodes. He claims the original for the busher Jack Keefe “is not a ball player at all, but of , a former Follies girl” (You Know Me Al vi); he cites Will Rogers’s aborted preface (“the Scribner boys threw it out on the ground that it was better than the book”) which included, “He [Lardner] is undoubtedly the biggest—”

(vi); he concludes by thanking “Mayo brothers, Ringling brothers, Smith brothers, Rath brothers, the Dolly sisters, and former President Buchanan for their aid in instructing him

40 MP to RL: 11 March 1925. Lardner responded the same day that “the principal cause of delay has been lack of an idea” (Ring Around Max 56).


the technical terms of baseball” (vi); finally, in his preface for What of It? Lardner explains the origin of the title, which generated: “it wasn’t much of a strain on my mind to figure out that when I told Mr. Rice I was publishing another book, the thing he started to say and politely didn’t was ‘What of it?’ and that’s how the phrase happened to be in his head” (What of It? vi).41 The simplicity of each preface, coupled with quick writing and design, challenges the notoriety of How to Write Short Stories by expediting the satire and condensing the joke. These are spatially functional, which allowed for Scribner’s to resell books as new editions without necessarily changing the contents. Lardner was never prone to revising his work for new editions, and these prefaces provide light comedic starters for materials many readers had already read.

Lardner’s preface for his next collection provided an ample framework for the author to fuse his satiric functions in a preface, as he subtly responds to Perkins’s continued insistence that he produce a long work. While How to Write Short Stories included a revised version of an earlier column, Lardner wrote a new piece for The Love

Nest and Other Stories and chose to create a complete farce rather than an indirect one.

The means by which it was written prove important for two reasons. One, Lardner wrote the piece as a space-filler at the behest of Perkins, who was concerned the book lacked size given his other collections.42 Two, the author may have written it as a response to

Perkins’s persistence regarding novel writing, as he offers a rather caustic view of authority and legacy. Lardner offers a unique, hilarious, and cynical perspective

41 The preface begins: “Readers of this book, if any, may get to wondering before they are through with it, why it was named What of It? instead of What For?” (v).

42 23 December 1925, MP to RL: “Will you write the preface –And the longer you make it, the better. Please do make it long if you can without forcing it. Say anything you want to. The stories add up to 46,200 words. I suppose the preface could easily make it 50,000, but even that is much shorter than the book. It will do, however.—” (Ring Around Max 85). 78

regarding the publishing industry, which proves that he recognized the effect of his material on a readership already dedicated to his writing. Comprised of recently published short stories, the collection was published at Lardner’s peak with Scribner’s, which begs questions about his preface. Why not choose a straight-forward model

(similar to the uniform set) to present newer work and maintain momentum within the firm? Lardner was never one to tarry to others’ demands or conventions, and because of the duality inherent in his preface – he writes from the fictional Sarah E. Spooldripper’s perspective, a maid and wolf-caretaker for the Lardners – we can trace a noticeable authoritative move being made. Though Perkins continued requesting longer material all the way up until Lardner’s death six years later, Lardner kept his editor happy throughout but remained indifferent to the prospect, a pattern present since 1924. In that case the

Spooldripper preface finds Lardner at his prefatory best, as he creates a work altogether brilliant and timely considering his position moving forward with Scribner’s.

Both of Lardner’s biographers define the preface in a similar fashion. Elder sees the piece as “a burlesque of all introductions, of intimate memoirs, of literary scholarship” (235); Yardley likewise adds Lardner “outdid himself in self-mockery” and wrote an “uncommonly funny” and “charmingly nonsensical” piece (294). Of use here is

Elder, who correctly categorizes the overarching targets of Lardner’s exercise: authorship, criticism, and publishing itself. Lardner tells in a footnote readers that

Spooldripper “knew all there was to know about Lardner, and her mind was virtually blank. It was part of her charm,” and she characterizes Lardner as “perhaps not loveable, but certainly irresistible. There was an impishness in him that fascinated. It was part of his charm” (LN v). She goes on to describe literary rivalries, with Lardner, Fitzgerald,


and “Opie Reade”43 pining over “the love of Lily Langtry” (vi). When Lily is asked to rise and toast her favorite, “the muscles of Fitzgerald and Reade were taut; Lardner’s were very flabby” (vii). Accordingly, each “swain” was affected by Lily’s toast: “Reade arose and told the story of the two half-breeds, Seminole and Deminole. Lardner and

Fitzgerald took up rotation pool, and weighed themselves once a week. Every so often they became maudlin, or, better still, inaudible” (vii). Choosing between hearing the authors’ self-pitying and drunken sentimentality or silence shows Lardner’s comedic spirit regarding his close friend Fitzgerald. From here Spooldripper takes readers on “a preposterous introductory tour” of the collection’s stories (Yardley 295). The doctor in

“Haircut” was “Lardner’s favorite among all his fictional characters, or as he called them,

‘my puppets’ ” (LN ix). Lardner had used “puppets” to describe manipulation of character in the preface to How to Write Short Stories, though using the term for “Haircut” takes on greater meaning due to the complex perspective and delivery in the story. For “Reunion”

Spooldripper recalls a golf anecdote featuring Mayor Walker of New York, in which

“Lardner could not remember whose turn it was to drive first. ‘Your honor?’ he said to the Mayor. ‘Yes?’ the Mayor replied. ‘What can I do for you?’ It is incidents like this that paint the man in his true colors. He was forever blowing bubbles. It amounted to a whim”

(xii). Though populated with a relatively cheap joke (“Your honor”) – and echoed in

Abbot and Costello’s famous “Who’s on First?” sketch years later – this episode adequately sums up much of Lardner’s artistic temperament and reminds readers of his

43 Popular comic writer and founder of the Traveler magazine. His name was actually spelt “Read” which adds to Lardner’s comic exercise.


song writing and penchant for lexical tomfoolery.44 “Zone of Quiet” came to

Cosmopolitan editor during the “equinoctial gales” after “every other sheet of copy was blown away or destroyed by stray dogs” (xiii). No matter, for “Mr. Long thought this all for the best as he was crowded that month” (xiv). With a simple, straight- forward reduction of magazine publishing and editing practices, Lardner characterizes

Ray Long as an editor looking for printable copy rather than a complete artistic expression. Lardner adequately sums up the magazine market of the early twentieth century and ably maneuvers his authorial background to fit Spooldripper’s inane memoir.

These short explications provide each story a nonsense history while critiquing various publishing standards. Lardner’s ability to play with both farce and criticism simultaneously marks a considerable advancement in his preface writing. Spooldripper eventually concludes that “The Master is gone and the next question is who will succeed him? Perhaps some writer still unborn. Perhaps one who will never be born. That is what

I hope” (xvi).45 Veiled references to Lardner’s own death throughout the piece finally reach their zenith, and some critics and readers believed Spooldripper’s account.46

Though obviously not dead, Lardner even kills off Spooldripper and notes “the joke is on

Miss Spooldripper, for she is gone too. Two months ago she was found dead in the garage, her body covered with wolf bites left there by her former ward, who has probably forgotten where he left them” (xvi). By killing off not one but two authors of the preface,

Lardner takes a significant jab at the various functions of publishing. Though he was

44 Lardner famously reworked “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” during the 1919 (the Black Sox ) to read instead: “I’m forever blowing ball games / Pretty ball games in the air” (Yardley 214).

45 This is a possible allusion to Henry James, known as “The Master” during his prolific career.

46 Both Yardley (295) and Elder (234) reference various examples in regards to The Love Nest’s initial publication. 81

certainly not disillusioned with the process, his noted indifference to the exigencies regarding his own work populates this piece and results in his finest examination of literary process. Hoping that no author takes up his mantel shows Lardner winking at his own work and his editor, since Perkins would not let go of Lardner’s novelistic possibilities.

Taking seriously any preface of Lardner’s proves ineffective, and his

Spooldripper introduction is no different. Though he wrote another Spooldripper piece for his fake autobiography the following year (The Story of a Wonder Man), his work for

The Love Nest shows a keen eye for prefaces of all kinds. His work satisfies the core requirements of an authorial preface: he provides the genesis for his stories, offers another’s perspective of the author, eulogizes his own work by faking death, and positions his work amidst the current standards of the day. The moment where all of these ideas collide occurs immediately before his conclusion, when Spooldripper references

“the invention and perfection of the radio” (xiv) as the leading cause of Lardner’s penchant for short stories. After Lardner builds his own and installs it “in the suit of pajamas which he habitually wore nights” (xiv), Spooldripper describes his final days:

He was always trying to tune in on Glens Falls, N.Y., and it was only in

his last illness that he found out there was no broadcasting station at that

place. His sense of humor came to his rescue in this dilemma. ‘Junior,’ he

said to his wife, ‘they tell me there is no broadcasting station at Glens

Falls.’ ‘Am I to blame for that?’ retorted the little Nordic, quick to take

umbrage. ‘No,’ he answered. ‘It’s Glens Falls.’ ” (xiv-xv)


Somewhat sad, these lines give the introduction an added authorial narrative, for

Lardner’s had hit prior to The Love Nest’s publication, and during that period

Yardley notes: “as the twenties moved on and the thirties neared, as Ring’s health declined and his work became routine and repetitive, he must have looked at his life’s work, and in doing so, he may well have reached a stern judgment” (284). This judgment makes an appearance in the preface, for by separating his perspective and adding the fictional Spooldripper, Lardner doubly controls his own authority. Instead of speaking for himself he indirectly creates a mixed reaction to his supposed death, calling more for continued indifference than a eulogy. However, Lardner offers a possible judgment of his skills by creating the dialogue between himself and his beloved wife Ellis. His sense of humor had driven him his entire creative life, and through that humor even he can’t find blame outside of the simplest of answers: “It’s Glens Falls” (LN xv). Maybe he assumes a slight defeat, or maybe he knows his preface was written solely for space. Either way, the

Spooldripper introduction provides a fitting conclusion to the prefatory experiments

Lardner undertook throughout his career with Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Lardner never produced a long-form piece of fiction for Perkins and Scribner’s.

Though Fitzgerald wrote Perkins, “God, I wish he’d write a more or less personal novel”

(The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald 202),47 and Perkins assured Lardner that “a continuous book always has an advantage” (Ring Around Max 97),48 the author was content to stay where he was. Even when Perkins pulled out all the stops Lardner would consider, and

47 Before 10 May 1926.

48 14 June 1926.


then move on.49 However, Lardner’s final letter to Perkins concerning a rejected short story and a Scribner’s loan of $500 is the longest and most sincere letter he ever wrote his editor.50 Recounting the difficult sales prospect for “Poodle,” Lardner wrote: “What I started to say is that the fiction story (really not bad, and just as really not a Pulitzer prize winner) has a great many local stops to make, and if I were to stay here and wait till the last possible purchaser had said no, I would die of jitters” (166). Rarely had he encountered difficulty in placing a story, and for “Poodle” offers a realistic depiction of publishing during the . He concluded that “this letter doesn’t seem to be properly constructed or quite clear. That is a symptom of my state of mind, but the fact that I can laugh at the succession of turn-downs of a story which everybody but the Post has had a kind word for but no inclination to buy, makes me hopeful for the future” (167). Neither a bad writer, nor a Pulitzer Prize writer, Lardner realized his potential in the literary market of the early twentieth century. Though difficult to position because of his relative indifference to the literati, his work for Max

Perkins at Charles Scribner’s Sons provides the authorial preface with one of its leading players. Never serious and never one to edit or revise, Ring Lardner altered the preface from a state of serious textual positioning to a playful bit of humor. He changed the spatial and textual elements of prefaces – as did Cather – in order to comment on the

“literary game” from the only perspective he could: his own.

49 3 November 1928, MP to RL: “I do not know of any publishing news that would be more interesting than that such a book by you was to come out” (Ring Around Max 125).

50 3 February 1933. 84


It Was All I Had: F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Anxiety of Authorship

I: For Bait to the Hesitant: The Preface to This Side of Paradise and “The Author’s


For the rest he had rather dark skin with a faint flush and a straight romantic profile, the effect set off by a close-fitting dress suit and a silk ruffled shirt of the kind that women still delight on men, but men were just beginning to get tired of. – F. Scott Fitzgerald1

This is a bad book full of good things, a novel about flappers written for Philosophers, an exquisite burlesque of Compton McKenzie with a pastiche of Wells at the end— – F. Scott Fitzgerald2

The professional career of F. Scott Fitzgerald merits discussion in the context of artistic production. Though Fitzgerald was written off early as a pseudo-intellectual half- genius, several scholars have worked tirelessly to correct the misconceptions regarding the author’s working habits.3 Nevertheless, the context of authority weighs heavily over

Fitzgerald’s career. Beginning with This Side of Paradise (1920), Fitzgerald became part of a growing contingent of professional writers of the twenties who marketed their works in various publishing avenues. Magazine work, short story volumes, trade serials, second

1 Isabelle sizing up Kenneth Powers in Fitzgerald’s first published story, “Babes in the Woods” (Spires and Gargoyles 190).

2 Inscription to H.L. Mencken in his copy of This Side of Paradise, dated 20 March 1920 (Correspondence 55).

3 The anonymous reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle (22 August 1920) wrote of Fitzgerald’s first novel, “Its struggle toward expression of the nightmare of adolescence has innumerable faults and a haunting touch of talent” (rpt. in The Critical Reception 29).


serials, and reprints allowed for an extensive amount of authorial expression, given certain conditions. James L.W. West III points out that Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful an

Damned (1922) was available in a second serial run in botched form, just as This Side of

Paradise’s first edition displayed a significant breakdown in authorial and editorial proofing.4 These error-filled texts represented the wrong Fitzgerald, the author critics would write off in coming decades.5 In examining these flawed texts, West and biographer Matthew J. Bruccoli establish a continuum of authorship dedicated to the correction and amplification of Fitzgerald’s intended texts. No one is saying that

Fitzgerald could spell; he could not, and neither could editor . But one can say that the author, through force of will, got his first novel published and sold by the age of twenty-three, and with that experience began his career as professional novelist.

However, there really are two Fitzgeralds consistently at play in the popular literary landscape: Fitzgerald the flippant waster of talent and Fitzgerald the serious literary artist. Early in his career Fitzgerald pressed to become a novelist for a variety of reasons, ranging from “craving a certain type of novel” (Letters 374), to winning the hand of Zelda Sayre of Montgomery, Alabama. Indeed, Bruccoli notes that Fitzgerald has become an archetypal figure, a “prince charming, the drunken writer, the ruined novelist, the spoiled genius, the personification of the Jazz Age, the sacrificial victim of the

Depression” (Some Sort of Epic Grandeur ix). Bruccoli charges much of the result to

Fitzgerald himself, who freely and knowingly “dramatized his success and failure” (ix),

4 See West’s introduction to the Cambridge edition of The Beautiful and Damned (xiii-xxix) and “The Second Serials of This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned.” The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 73 (1979): 63.

5 Malcom Cowley, , and others praised his talent but disparaged his intelligence and work- ethic. 86

sometimes at the expense of his fiction. Bryant Mangum, in his study of Fitzgerald’s short fiction, relays that “early in his career Fitzgerald became aware of the difficulties involved in writing things that were good while at the same time supporting himself by producing marketable fiction,” for he “wanted to write good novels and he wanted to make a lot of money” (4). The idea that a writer, in becoming an author, divorces him or herself from the economics of the literary marketplace is a fallacious one, for both writerly and authorial functions operate within the same individual and at times butt heads, and one cannot become a professional author without recognizing the market potential of his or her works.

With This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald’s enthusiasm was apparent. In several letters to Perkins we see an energetic and youthful writer pressing at his talents in order to gain both fame and love. Though the myth of the young writer composing for Zelda still rings true, Fitzgerald’s attention to detail regarding his accepted manuscript provides another portrait, one which comes through most directly in his correspondence with

Perkins and several friends. Fitzgerald cared deeply for the effect his novel would have, as he had yet to fully form into an “author” for the public. His market not yet established,

Fitzgerald the writer teemed with an energy he would eventually lose once his career took off. He knew he was attempting a new kind of novel, one dedicated to the score of writers he had read. He refers to Compton Mackenzie, H.G. Wells, Robert Hugh Benson, and Oscar Wilde6 explicitly in his unpublished preface, but throughout his correspondence he includes , , Henry James, Henry Adams,

J.M. Barrie, and , and later Frank Norris, , and

6 To be fair, he mentions Dorian Gray rather than Wilde by name. The assumption is obvious.


Stephen Crane. By showing off to Perkins which authors he had read – or at least said he had read – Fitzgerald expressed his willingness to enter into their profession.7

Incidentally, Fitzgerald was quick to compare his ideas for chapter headings to those of

Shaw’s prefaces, and he referred to them as “whimsical commentaries” rather than titles

(Dear Scott/Dear Max 27). Such attention to detail is diametrically opposed to the role many felt Fitzgerald played, and it offers room for critical commentary and craftsmanship rather than flippant indifference. When delivering Perkins the revised and newly titled

This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald included a preface, though he was never completely sold on its inclusion in the manuscript. Either way, having written and presented it to his editor, the preface – published in the 1971 Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual, reprinted in

Bruccoli’s facsimile of the manuscript, and included as an appendix in West’s Cambridge edition – encapsulates the young Fitzgerald desperate to break through yet confident in his process, a process still barely tested in the literary marketplace. Having published

“Babes in the Woods” in by September of 1919, Fitzgerald’s preface predates that publication by one month (signed August 1919), and to read the preface is to read Fitzgerald in an altogether different manner than his following works would demand. He is light, funny, and somewhat arrogant throughout, though he attends to the revision process with interesting foresight and offers a means by which the author’s professional narrative begins.

Crucial to understanding Fitzgerald’s preface is his attention to various authors during composition. In correspondence Fitzgerald consistently refers to a vast collection

7 Not surprisingly, the narrator often mentions who and what Amory Blaine is reading. For example: “So he found ‘Dorian Gray’ and the ‘Mystic and Sombre Dolores’ and the ‘Belle Dame sans Merci’; for a month was keen on naught else. The world became pale and interesting, and he tried hard to look at Princeton through the satiated eyes of Oscar Wilde and Swinburne—or ‘Fingal O’Flahertie’ and ‘Algernon Charles,’ as he called them in précieuse jest” (TSOP 55). 88

of authors, playwrights, and poets, something he would continue to do for the remainder of his life. John Kuehl notes that Fitzgerald’s reading “was quite selective. He picked the periods, the artists, and the genres that were necessary to his own particular genius” (78), and he morphed from book to book regularly. His earliest influences, which Bruccoli and

Kuehl establish as Compton Mackenzie, H.G. Wells, and Oscar Wilde, permeate several fictional and nonfictional documents he produced from 1917 until the publication of the novel in Spring 1920. Bruccoli contends that Fitzgerald’s inconsistent narrative perspective came about when he “was still under the influence of the Wellsian problem novel, which made it difficult for him to resist editorializing” (Some Sort of Epic

Grandeur 118); Kuehl cites Mackenzie as “the major literary influence on his first novel,” calling Wells the second (71). Wilde weighed heavy on Fitzgerald early on,8 though he disparaged him later in a letter to Morton Kroll: “Oscar Wilde for all his occasionally penetrating guesses was as Whistler said, a provincial at bottom—” (Letters

593).9 As early as 1917, Fitzgerald was calling his own work “a potpourri, especially as there are pages in dialogue and in vers libre, but it reads as logically for the times as most public utterances of the prim and prominent” (Letters 371).10 The first draft, then titled

“The Romantic Egotist,” was “scattered into shape—for it has no form to speak of”

(372), which resulted in its rejection by Charles Scribner’s Sons in October 1918.

8 Fitzgerald adapted Wilde’s aphorism for his to This Side of Paradise: “Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes” (iii).

9 9 August 1939.

10 FSF to Shane Leslie, 22 December 1917.


Fitzgerald began a major revision in mid-July 1919.11 Having returned to St. Paul,

Minnesota after a failed attempt at work in New York, Fitzgerald produced “The

Education of a Personage” and wrote Perkins on 26 July that this new draft “contains some of the former material improved and worked over” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 17). He confidently declared, “but while the other was a tedius, disconnected casserole this is definite attempt at a big novel and I really believe I have hit it, as immediately I stopped disciplining the muse she trotted obediently around and became an erratic mistress if not a steady wife” (17). He delivered the finished draft with his preface, now titled This Side of Paradise, on 4 September 1919 and told Perkins that “the preface I leave to your discretion—perhaps it’s a little too clever-clever; likewise you may object to the literary personalities in Chap II & Bk II and to the length of the socialistic discussion in the last chapter. The book contains a little over ninety-thousand words. I certainly think the hero gets somewhere” (20). Important is Fitzgerald’s direct response to Scribner’s initial rejection letter one year prior, which concluded that “the story does not seem to us to work up to a conclusion;—neither the hero’s career nor his character are shown to be brought to any stage which justifies an ending. This may be intentional on your part for it is certainly not untrue of life; but it leaves the reader distinctly disappointed and dissatisfied since he has expected him to arrive somewhere” (Correspondence 31).12

Fitzgerald reiterates his initial frustration in the preface and remarks about his character’s concluding episode in positive terms. Here we see the author’s conception of the work and how he characterized his own revision.

11 See Bruccoli’s Some Sort of Epic Grandeur (96).

12 Charles Scribner’s Sons to FSF: 19 August 1918.


Once accepted for publication by Perkins twelve days later, Fitzgerald responded with adulation and professionalism. He asked questions and voiced concerns about publication advertisements, financial concerns, publication date, and post-production suggestions.13 Borrowing from his penchant to suggest authors and books to friends and use those authors as influences in his own work, Fitzgerald provided a “P.S.” about the cover and formatting of the book. He asked Perkins, “Who picks out the cover? I’d like something that could be a set—look cheerful and important like a Shaw book. I notice

Shaw, Galesworthy & Barrie do that. But Wells doesn’t—I wonder why. No need of illustrations is there?” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 22). He informs Perkins that “my book plans have changed or rather enlarged. I’m going to obey my own mandate and write every book as if it were the last word I’d have on earth. I think Wells does that. So I think that the ms. I send you about next April or May will be rather a lively bolt!” (23).14 While discussing data for advertising the new book Fitzgerald expressed his “most gigantic enjoyment (I’m trying H.G. Well’s use of vast gargantuan [sp.] words)” (22). His use of

Wells and others early in his correspondence with Perkins derives dually from his use of influence in the finished novel – which is ample – and his own youthful dedication to prescribed influential models. We see how far this model changes by his follow-up novels. The epigraph for The Beautiful and Damned is provided by the main character of the novel (Anthony Patch); The Great Gatsby features an epigraph by Thomas Park

D’Invilliers, a fictional character from This Side of Paradise; and Tender Is the Night

13 Fitzgerald wanted as early a publication as possible in order to get the girl (Zelda) and grant “a psychological effect on me and all my surroundings and besides open up new fields” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 21).

14 FSF to MP: circa 15 November 1919. In an 18 September letter to Perkins, Fitzgerald told his new editor he had begun work on “a very ambitious novel called ‘The Demon Lover,’” and “a marvelous after-the- war-story” (22). 91

uses a passage from John Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale,” a lifelong Fitzgerald favorite.

Early Fitzgerald relied on his influences for authorial reasons and continued to wield them in front of Perkins until the publication of the novel. Later on those influences were subdued in favor of his direct authority, he his own major influence.

Two letters prior to publication provide interesting snapshots of Fitzgerald’s reliance on others before shifting from one to another. On 21 January 1920 he returned the first set of corrected galley proofs to Perkins before suggesting changes to the type of his chapter sub-headings: “it may seem a small point but I got the idea originally from the

Shaw prefaces & the exact sort of type does make a difference. Those sub-headings are intended as commentaries, sort of whimsical commentaries rather more than they are intended as titles” (27).15 Fitzgerald likens his process to an established master of verse, drama, prose, and preface writing, and he prompts Perkins to adjust the headings.16

Inversely, two weeks later the author wrote Perkins of a new influence:

I’ve fallen under the influence of an author who’s quite changed my point

of view. He’s a chesnut to you, no doubt, but I’ve discovered him – Frank

Norris […] there are things in “Paradise” that might have been written by

Norris – those drunken scenes for instance – in fact all the realism. I wish

I’d stuck to it throughout! Another of my discoveries is H.L. Mencken

who is certainly a factor in present day literature. In fact I’m not so

15 FSF’s emphasis.

16 Viking published all 115 of Shaw’s prefaces in three volumes between 1994-1997: The Complete Prefaces: Bernard Shaw. Eds. Dan H. Laurence and Daniel J. Leary.


cocksure about things as I was last summer – this fellow Conrad seems to

be pretty good after all. (28)17

This shift in influence was nothing new for Fitzgerald, as he adapted his sensibility to various perspectives and avenues. The Beautiful and Damned and “” show him at his most naturalistic and hearken to Norris and Dreiser more so than Mackenzie or

Wells. Certainly striking is his newfound affinity for Joseph Conrad, whom he mentions in his cynical Modern Library preface to The Great Gatsby fourteen years later.18

Establishing Fitzgerald’s authorial choices from conception to publication helps situate the short preface that he originally sent as part of This Side of Paradise. A document in line with the author’s feelings regarding publishing, authorship, aesthetics, reception and intention, the preface exhibits a remarkable dexterity reminiscent of a young Fitzgerald and provides readers with a happy, unencumbered writer striving to become an author.

The preface starts with the typical background information: “Two years ago, when I was a very young man indeed, I had an unmistakable urge to write a book. It was to be a picaresque novel, original in form and alternating a melancholy, naturalistic egotism with a picture of the generation then hastening to war” (Preface to TSOP 393).

Here Fitzgerald the writer takes on the role of the author and allows his craft to be exposed in order to relate fully to his prospective reader, for young reader would be able to relate to the “unmistakable urge” Fitzgerald lays claim to. Further, by including “a melancholy, naturalistic egotism with a picture of the generation then hastening to war,”

Fitzgerald has his ideal reader in mind; he wants to relate to, rather than talk down to, his readers. The finished novel contains the short “Interlude: May 1917-February 1919”

17 3 February 1920.

18 Fitzgerald cites Conrad’s preface to The Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’ as an influential prefatory model. 93

between Books I & II, where the Great War occurs. Consisting of two letters and a poem, the war itself is subsumed between Amory Blaine’s other experiences and results in no war episodes. West argues that “Fitzgerald was attempting to convey by omission what he was not equipped to communicate otherwise—the effects of war on his hero” (The

Making of This Side of Paradise 56). Since so much of his work was partly autobiographical, it would have been impossible for Fitzgerald to portray an accurate war experience, and instead he lets the war happen unseen and unheard (similar to

Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River”), but certainly felt. James Meredith notes that

Fitzgerald, though not originally recognized as a “war writer,” was able to write effectively about the effects of war, for “Fitzgerald’s personal sense of loss and his profound understanding of what was also culturally lost for a generation because of the war combine to make him one of the age’s great writers (“World War I” 136). In fact every novel Fitzgerald wrote had a main character shaped in some way by war – Anthony

Patch in The Beautiful and Damned, Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby, and Dick Diver in

Tender Is the Night. His service limited, Fitzgerald kept his narrative truthful and offered an episode in omission similar to his own experience. With his preface calling to the very generation he had both missed out on and been a part of, Fitzgerald ably defined that generation.

He then expresses his youthful ignorance and recounts how his novel “was to be naïve in places, shocking in others, painful to the conventional and not without its touch of ironic sublimity. The ‘leading character’, a loiterer on the borderland of genius, loved many women and gazed at himself in many mirrors—in fact, women and mirrors were preponderant in all the important scenes” (Preface to TSOP 393). Mirroring plays an


important role in shaping Fitzgerald’s early authority, since he saw himself as both a generational chronicler and the result of “pluck and luck” (West, “Introduction” xxi). The process and the product equally meant more to Fitzgerald than one over the other. He describes his main character as “a loiterer on the borderland of genius,” which points to his later pose as the Jazz Age oracle in the table of contents to Tales of the Jazz Age. His novel was finished “during that last gasp of a last year at college, and the intricacies of a training camp” (Preface to TSOP 393), which gave Fitzgerald “credibility to represent the younger generation, and it made him valuable to those supposed ‘outsiders’ looking for a symbolic means to understand the new subculture” (Galow 124). As a go-between for both artistic integrity and natural brilliance, this early evidence of Fitzgerald’s persona creation shows a struggle with authorship and celebrity well before he had established either.

In league with war and social stigmas, Fitzgerald presents his gallery of authorial influences, his book “a tedius casserole of a dozen by McKenzie, Wells, and Robert

Hugh Benson, largely flavored by the great undigested butterball of Dorian Gray”

(Preface to TSOP 393).19 His chapter titles produced effects “somewhat like lines from pre-Raphaelite poems, somewhat like electric signs over musical comedies” (393) and showed the double intention Fitzgerald always pushed for in his fiction: lyricism and flashes of brilliance. His “tedius casserole” remark is first found in an earlier letter to

Perkins and echoes his “potpourri” description to Shane Leslie two years prior. Mixing together Mackenzie, Wells, Benson, and Wilde was old hat by now, as Fitzgerald had rehearsed this idea many times prior. He wanted to show readers – prior to their own

19 Note the ironic misspelling of “tedious” in both this preface and his 26 July 1919 letter to Perkins.


reading of his book – that he had read, considered, and written along a line of predetermined art brought on by calculated execution. Bruccoli refers to the novel as “a bibliography of the books that shape Amory Blaine” after counting the sixty-four titles and ninety-eight writers mentioned in the published text (Some Sort of Epic Grandeur

124). Fitzgerald knew he was showing off, but beneath all of these names – which now included Schopenhauer, Walpole, and even Chaucer – is an analysis of process that

Fitzgerald boldly situated with regard to his work which had yet to see the printing press.

Regardless of influence and borrowing from others,20 West argues in favor Fitzgerald’s intentions:

The question of borrowings in this novel is not crucial, since verbal cribs

are few. Nor does the question of morality seem insignificant. The

morality or immorality of Fitzgerald’s borrowing habits has no bearing on

this novel as a work of fiction. Fitzgerald was after pure emotional

intensity, and he was ruthless about using material from anyone’s life,

including his own to achieve it. When he incorporated the words of others

into his fiction, those words became Fitzgerald’s property, inextricably

tied in with what he wanted his novel to be. The borrowed words are as

much parts of the book as are the passages composed entirely by

Fitzgerald. (The Making of This Side of Paradise 61)

Though an amateur, Fitzgerald knew what he wanted. In what amounted to an extended literary apprenticeship from 1915 to 1919 while at Princeton and in military training,

20 Certain pieces of the novel were directly taken from correspondence with others. A prime example is Amory’s description of Monsignor Darcy’s funeral (borrowed from a 6 January 1919 Shane Leslie letter [Correspondence 36]) and Darcy’s letter to Amory during wartime (from an actual 10 December 1917 letter written by Father Sigourney Fay to Fitzgerald [Correspondence 23-4]). See West’s The Making of This Side of Paradise for a detailed analysis. 96

Fitzgerald had cultivated a certain understanding of style and execution based upon the authors he most admired. This “genuine emotional intensity” (West, “Introduction” xxvii) could only be produced if his influences were completely consumed and exercised.

Showing readers his litany of literary ancestors allowed Fitzgerald to express authenticity; he was able to use the best of many to create his own singular perspective.

Bruccoli concludes that “despite its debts This Side of Paradise is Fitzgerald’s novel”

(Some Sort of Epic Grandeur 119), and if the book was, as Fitzgerald called it, “A

Romance and a Reading List” (Notebooks 158), that list would assure readers and critics of his place in, and understanding of, the literary marketplace.

If his first three paragraphs chart the author’s creative composition and intention, the fourth begins a narrative regarding publishing, namely his association with Charles

Scribner’s Sons. Wryly calling Scribner’s “the conservative publisher to whom I sent it,”

Fitzgerald notes his disappointment when the firm “returned it with the complaint that the hero failed in the end to find himself, and that this defection would so certainly disappoint the reader as to predestine the book to failure” (Preface to TSOP 393). We are reminded of the author’s assurance to Perkins that his hero “gets somewhere” this time around, and a note of frustration permeates his response. He expands upon his changes and feels that his ideas were “in much the state of Alice after the mad-hatter’s tea party” before “plunging boldly into obscurity” ala Schopenhauer, , and early

Wells (394). He allegedly created “an impenetrable chapter where I left the hero alone with rhapsodic winds and hyper-significant stars: gemmed the paragraphs with neo- symbolic bits culled from my own dismantled poems—” (394). Fitzgerald lists three obviously overwritten passages as examples before dispatching his protagonist to the war


and “callously” slew him “several thousand feet in the air, whence he fell not like a dead but a splendid life-found swallow **** down ****down ****down’” (394).21 In tracing the development of his hero from “failing in the end to find himself,” which would

“predestine the book to failure,” to dragging his hero from “a logical muddle into an illogical one” (394) and eventually killing him, Fitzgerald complicates the notion of authorship many attribute to him. Though he obviously appears to be too “clever-clever” in his preface, the intention still lies in his attention to process and effect. West sees his attention to one line especially telling, when Fitzgerald writes “the book finished with four dots—there was a fifth but I erased it” (394). Considering the ending of This Side of

Paradise22 lies in a relative crux due to the excision of an em dash from the original ending – which Fitzgerald himself included in the manuscript – West reads this passage as a possible explanation for why Fitzgerald would indeed prefer the em dash – or in the case of the preface, four dots – to a period in ending his novel. This preface assists in determining the value inherent not only in punctuation, but in who controls the editing of a text, and how that edited text may contain damnable fallacies. Ending with an em dash leaves characters open and stories unfinished, especially when considering the young writer’s burgeoning career. Fitzgerald wanted authority over his materials in order to speak confidently to his public readership about a career he was sure to have. Fitzgerald’s frustration with the refusal of his first draft plays out in this preface, as he charts a writer’s journey from one literary function (writer) to another (author).

21 Examples include: “The dark celibacy of greatness”; “Youth, the Queen Anne Clavichord from which age wrings the symphony of art”; “The tired pitying beauty of monotony that hung like summer air over the gate of his soul” (“Preface” 394). The asterisks appear in Fitzgerald’s original introduction.

22 “‘I know myself, but that is all—’” (260). West establishes the em dash based on manuscript evidence. The first edition ending read, “‘I know myself, but that is all.’” (260). See West’s The Making of This Side of Paradise (1983).


That functional shift is complicated further by Fitzgerald’s account of second revision, which partly stemmed from “a mental lethargy in the misty depths” once the war was over and his manuscript had been refused (394). He first lists “things” he was interested in as “the root of the trouble,” including “THE INFLUENCE OF NIGHT,

RATHER BAD WOMEN, PERSONALITY, FANATICISM, THE SUPERNATURAL, and VERY GOOD WOMEN,” subjects written “quite above average” (394).23 However, the subjects he had written “well below average due to boredom” included, “THE ‘PREP’

SCHOOL, COLLEGE, THE MIDDLE WEST, NATURE, QUAINT STUPID PEOPLE, and MYSELF” (394). Incidentally, Fitzgerald has an epiphany and declares that “my course was obvious, my inspiration was immediate. Virtuously resisting the modern writer’s tendency to dramatize myself, I began another novel; whether its hero really

‘gets anywhere’ is for the reader to decide” (394-5). Fitzgerald chose to shift his focus from the former to the latter, and his newest draft bore closer resemblance to what his novel would eventually become: an amalgam of the subjects he had listed. West concludes that several of his revisions were indeed fresh material, as Fitzgerald created “a headlong rush of fresh inscription and cut-and-paste improvisation” (“Introduction” xiii).

Of note is Fitzgerald’s continuing response to Scribner’s and his initial ending, as he worried about character conclusion and profound change. Nearly two-thirds of his preface deals with his ending, which prompts West to argue in favor of the em dash over the published period at the end of the novel. Fitzgerald wanted to inhabit his newest literary function as “author,” which led him to include editorial decisions as imperative to the conclusion of his novel.

23 Fitzgerald capitalizes these words in his introduction. 99

Furthermore, when Fitzgerald notes that he avoided the “modern writer’s tendency to dramatize himself” he offers his first true authorial pose. The novel, as has been established by several scholars, is extremely autobiographical, with West noting its

“transparent poses” throughout (The Making of This Side of Paradise xiii). Bruccoli argues that “Fitzgerald worked towards the method of ‘transmuted autobiography,’ which subsequently allowed him to combine his own emotions with the qualities of an actual figure in his most memorable characters” (Some Sort of Epic Grandeur 124). He wrote

Shane Leslie after the release of the novel: “My Lord! Compared to the average

Georgetown alumnus Amory is an uncanonized saint. I think I laundered myself shiny in the book!” (Letters 377).24 Fitzgerald also noted later on that “taking things hard—from

Genevra to Joe Mank—: That’s stamp that goes into my books so that people can read it blind like brail” (Notebooks 163).25 He knew his readers could relate not only to his characters but also to him as author, for his style and approach would be recognizable upon first read. The novel was as much him as his characters, and once Fitzgerald makes his shift he concludes as more the author than the writer of This Side of Paradise.

His conclusion marks the final shift to authority, in which Fitzgerald celebrates his achievement and eulogizes a lost generation by doubling as a private and public figure. He first assures his readers that “for bait to the hesitant I hold out the promise that the words passion, moonlight, era and God occur many times; the words shimee, debutante and mystic with less frequency” (Preface to TSOP 395). By jokingly referring

24 17 September 1920.

25 Genevra King was Fitzgerald’s first love while he attended Princeton, while “Joe Mank” refers to filmmaker Joseph Mankiewicz. Fitzgerald’s career in Hollywood in the 1930s was far from positive, and “Joe Mank” serves as a composite of that experience. See Bruccoli’s note to item 1072 in The Notebooks of F. Scott Fitzgerald (352).


to his renewed public sense, and promising universals over conditional terms, Fitzgerald wants readers to see his evolution from amateur to professional. Further, using the word

“bait” relates to his fantasies in Tales of the Jazz Age, which he was sure the critics would

“fall” for (Dear Scott/Dear Max 54).26 His growing understanding of what readers would fall for, succumb to, and therefore buy augments his literary mindset considerably; once in New York prior to his revision Fitzgerald wired Zelda: “darling heart ambition enthusiasm and confidence I declare everything glorious this world is a game and while I feel sure of you love everything is possible I am in the land of ambition and success”

(Correspondence 38).27 Fitzgerald was becoming cognizant of his authorial personae and the business of literature, and his preface signifies his public intentions closer to publication. The final paragraph finds Fitzgerald continuing his authority, at one point entertaining the possibility of dedicating the book “to ‘myself, with love and affection’ ”

(Preface to TSOP 395). Though meant as a joke, his confidence is apparent rather than the marked self-deprecation which would follow in his later prefaces. This is a man who had not yet published a book, and therefore had gone without criticism from the public.

His conscious effort in offering the book to “all those argumentative and discoursive souls who once frequented a certain inn whose doors are now dark, whose fabled walls ring no more to the melody of Chaucer’s lesser known poems” brings his preface full circle. He at once combines his Princeton classmates and World War I comrades – dead and alive – under the banner of “argumentative and discoursive souls” (395). The eulogy is given as a somber conclusion to an otherwise light and witty piece and shows

26 FSF to MP, 6 February 1922.

27 22 February 1919. 101

Fitzgerald attempting to govern his own reception. He can make them laugh, but he must also be taken seriously in order to become the novelist of his generation.28

Bruccoli claims that once published This Side of Paradise “was a serious book, and Fitzgerald’s audience took it seriously” (Some Sort of Epic Grandeur 125). Any author worth his salt recognizes the issues that his public personae will create upon publication, especially for the first time. If he were to endure, Fitzgerald knew he had to cast himself appropriately. Later he wrote that “the purpose of a fiction story is to create passionate curiosity and then to gratify it unexpectedly, orgasmically. Isn’t that what we expect from all contacts?” (Notebooks 332). He knew his book was unique, creative, and full of energy, and though his preface went unpublished in his lifetime one sees how much Fitzgerald had invested in his first novel. Though no correspondence exists regarding the excision of this preface from his novel, Fitzgerald left it up to Perkins’s discretion, and at some point the preface was removed.29 West concludes that the preface

“seems more like a private document addressed to Perkins than it does a true opening statement for the novel” (“Introduction” xlvii), and the various references to earlier correspondence regarding the initial rejection and revision of the novel supports this view. However, we can look at a subtle, tipped-in preface written for the American

Booksellers Association one month after initial publication to chart how far Fitzgerald grew from first-time writer to newly minted author in a published preface.

28 Later in his notebooks Fitzgerald famously referred to himself as “the last of the for a long time now” (326). However a previous note strikes me as relevant for his early career: “You were—too good to be true. That was—the matter with you” (324).

29 West chose not to include the preface in the text proper of his Cambridge edition, noting, “there is no evidence that it was cut against Fitzgerald’s wishes” (“Introduction xlvii).


Included in 500 copies of the third printing of This Side of Paradise, “The

Author’s Apology” consists of three paragraphs and a photograph of Fitzgerald, promoting the novel at a meeting of the American Booksellers Association (Bibliography

18). Among Fitzgerald’s papers is an autograph manuscript of this preface, complete with the author’s own hand drawn self-portrait at the top.30 Fitzgerald created this piece from the outset, even deciding how best to have his picture face the public. The piece lacks several of the structural points he had frequently made earlier. It mentions no authorial influences, except himself; he leaves the war out of the discussion; instead of focusing and revision he gives a profound statement regarding legacy, which added to his authorial persona; he uses a photograph of himself looking direct to camera, as if speaking directly to them;31 finally, he has an established set of readers and booksellers ironically to speak to, needing less space and more flair than his preface. As he did with his preface, Fitzgerald makes a shift from writer to author, and “The Author’s Apology” further reduces the naïve, innocent writer in favor of the established author of the first great novel of his generation, with several interviews and columns to follow.32 Though written to urge booksellers to buy and sell his novel, Fitzgerald’s pose is noticeably more mature than his preface. Filtering much of the extraneous material regarding composition and revision through his new role, Fitzgerald writes:

30 “The Authors Apology.” Holograph. 1p. ca. April 1920. Archives of Charles Scribner’s Sons; Box 73, Folder 2; Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

31 Again, this is determined to be Fitzgerald’s choice judging by his manuscript.

32 Timothy Galow argues that these pieces are integral in establishing a modernist sense of self-fashioning inherent in popular literature of the day, noting, “[This Side of Paradise] was used in articles and interviews throughout the 1920s to identify Fitzgerald, a simple signifier that communicated both his success as an author and his connection with the youth of the United States” (121-2). One of his earliest pieces was “The Author’s Apology,” Fitzgerald’s attempt at authorial self-fashioning only two months after the release of the novel. 103

I don’t want to talk about myself because I’ll admit I did that somewhat in

this book. In fact, to write it took three months; to conceive it—three

minutes; to collect the data in it—all my life. The idea of writing it came

on the first of July; it was a substitute form of dissipation. My whole

theory of writing I can sum up in one sentence: An author ought to write

for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the

schoolmasters of ever afterward. So, gentlemen, consider all the cocktails

mentioned in this book drunk by me as a toast to the American

Booksellers Association. (“The Author’s Apology” 19)

Gone is the youthful pose, refined instead to include the success of a first novel. Though

Fitzgerald plays to his new audience by referring to his generation, he sees beyond them.

He realizes the autobiographical strengths that his novel possesses, rather than the pose made in the preface regarding “the modern writer’s tendency,” and he gives himself full credit for creating the work. Fitzgerald wanted to expand his market, as Scribner’s had conservatively printed only 11,025 copies by the third printing, with another 5,000 soon after in a fourth printing.33 Rather than go all-in early on their first-time author, Scribners ordered thirteen small printings between March 1920 and April 1922, none more than

5,000 copies.34 Though conservative in approach, Scribner’s and Fitzgerald found ways to sell the novel, from self-interviews to this tipped-in preface.

At this point Fitzgerald was already prepared to shed influences. Noting the book is him, and he the book, Fitzgerald links himself completely with the product, something

33 This was common practice for the conservative publishing house, especially when dealing with an unproven commodity like Fitzgerald.

34 All relevant bibliographic information has been referenced from Bruccoli’s F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Descriptive Bibliography (1987). 104

he had done one month earlier in a self-interview printed in ’s New York

Tribune column. He offered several initial remarks, including ones directed at his legacy, his authorial influences, and his literary aims. He remarked that “my idea is always to reach my generation. The wise writer, I think, writes for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward. Granted the ability to improve what he imitates in the way of style, to choose from his own interpretation of the experiences around him constitutes material, and we get the first-water genius” (rpt. in

Some Sort of Epic Grandeur 137). He concludes that “as a matter of fact I am a professed literary thief, hot after the best methods of every writer in my generation,” and he cites

Wells, Shaw, Wilde, Kipling, Hichens, and Chesterton as examples (138). Though willing to include names of influential literary models in his interview, they disappear in

“The Author’s Apology.” The “wise writer” of the interview is replaced by the “author” in the apology who writes for the generation, critics, and schoolmasters. A slight shift also occurs when Fitzgerald lops off the remainder of his “writing theory.” He removes authorial influence in favor of self-influence and refrains from casting himself as a thief of any kind. Fitzgerald is a collector of literary data who uses all his life experience to establish a new perspective. These subtle moves mark the apology as an authorial – rather than a writerly – manifestation.

In the span of one month Fitzgerald recognized the importance in becoming an author for the public rather than a writer. His aphorisms speak to this change, as he reduces the composition of the novel to one line – “In fact, to write it took three months; to conceive it—three minutes; to collect the data in it—all my life” – and repurposes his writing theory from an authorial point-of-view – “An author ought to write for the youth


of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward”

(“The Author’s Apology” 19). Fitzgerald had become a keeper of literary data and culture, and he was able to administer his knowledge to the youth of America while maneuvering amidst the literary establishment.35 Fitzgerald’s mirroring began in earnest, as he turned his first novel into the springboard for authorial persona creation. His apology, containing , process, legacy, and a toast to the sellers, provides a preface to Fitzgerald’s authorial pose rather than an introduction to the novel. Both “The

Author’s Apology” and his unpublished preface to This Side of Paradise offer the first glimpse into the anxiety Fitzgerald’s authority would succumb to once his career took off.

35 On 7 October 1920 he wrote H.L. Mencken proposing a “new edition, uniform” of Frank Norris’ novels, complete with introductions by famous authors, of which he would edit (Correspondence 69); even more ambitious, he wrote Charles Scribner II on 19 April 1922 proposing a “Scribner library” akin to Boni & Liveright’s Modern Library and Doubleday’s Lambskin Library, meant to keep “before the eye such books as have once been popular and have since been forgotten”; he included a list “twice as long of distinguished and memorable fiction,” putting This Side of Paradise on the list (Letters 155-57). Scribner’s would act on this during the 1950s when they began releasing “The Scribner’s Library Edition.” 106

II: Run as They Read: A Table of Contents to Tales of the Jazz Age

With due apologies for this impossible Table of Contents, I tender these tales of the Jazz Age into the hands of those who read as they run and run as they read. – F. Scott Fitzgerald36

Once This Side of Paradise was published, Fitzgerald and Perkins began collecting work for a book of short stories, common practice for the editor and Scribner’s.

Concerning F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first two story collections (Flappers and Philosophers and Tales of the Jazz Age), Bruccoli argues that “in addition to demonstrating the fecundity of his ideas and the flexibility of his style, this variety of material and techniques suggests that Fitzgerald was deliberately testing his talent while producing commercial fiction” (Some Sort of Epic Grandeur 169). These collections provided readers with a mix of new and previously published magazine fiction, as Max Perkins and Fitzgerald sought to build on the success of both This Side of Paradise and The

Beautiful and Damned. Fitzgerald recognized his position within the literary marketplace and was pushing to stay in that market while presenting himself to a newly established group of Fitzgerald readers. Separated by two years, Flappers and Tales include some excellent stories which Fitzgerald’s dexterity, charm, and willingness to create for his audience and himself a distinct authority over his materials. In Tales of the Jazz Age

Fitzgerald experimented with a table of contents prior to the text. So new was the piece that the back flap of the first edition proudly proclaimed that “Mr. Fitzgerald, to assist the reader, has evolved a new sort of table of contents for this volume. In this he characterizes and criticizes each story” (TJA back flap). West questions Fitzgerald’s authenticity, especially regarding his writing habits and creative process, while many

36 The concluding line of his table of contents to Tales of the Jazz Age. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1922.


contemporary critics thought his claims to be true, which only weakened his authorial role. Exactly what function did Fitzgerald intend for his “new sort of table of contents” to have, and how effective were his intentions?

West determines that Fitzgerald affects a pose with the table, one of self- deprecation, flippancy, and a noted natural talent. He concludes that “most of the comments are offhanded and irreverent, emphasizing the facility with which Fitzgerald was able to write” (“Introduction” to TJA xii). Why an author chooses to exact such a pose in the face of his professional working habits makes for an interesting case study. If

Fitzgerald’s intention was to come off as the over-confident – yet strangely self-doubting

– writer in the table, then he succeeded. Since his first novel included numerous errors

Fitzgerald may have been apt to play to that personality in order to sell books.37 However, if this table exists for reasons other than pure marketing, and Fitzgerald was indeed forging (or maintaining) an authorial identity in the process, then this collection provides the first in a line authorial introductions – both published and unpublished – which reference the professional authorship of its collection’s author. Initially, with a piece as unique as this table, readers find themselves questioning the author’s literary veracity:

Did he write “The Camel’s Back” in one day?; was “The Jelly-Bean” written in collaboration with his wife Zelda?; was “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” written in order to satiate a craving for luxury? Some would also question his position within the contemporary literary culture, since Fitzgerald writes that “Jemina” “seems to me worth preserving a few years—at least until the ennui of changing fashions suppresses me, my books, and it together” [Tales xi]). These factors complicate a rather cobbled together

37 See West’s The Making of This Side of Paradise.


collection and make the book both unique and amusing, perhaps more so than the majority of the collection’s offerings. Knowing that Fitzgerald wrote and revised this table over time, we can trace the kind of authority the author was trying to accomplish with this piece.38

However, as West observes, the pose Fitzgerald plays at was one he regularly assumed in his early career and for a variety of reasons.39 Whether read as frivolous, satirical, lazy, or self-critical, the table of contents for Tales of the Jazz Age finds

Fitzgerald in a significant authorial continuum where his authority functions on a variety of planes. I argue that though the table presents a specific self-evaluation of Fitzgerald by Fitzgerald, the same table falls within a line of authorial self-fashioning exercised by several past writers for different reasons. For example, in correspondence Anton

Chekhov insisted that “I wrote my stories as reporters write their notes about fires, mechanically, half-unconsciously, taking no thought of the reader or myself…” (40).

Similarly, the author allegedly proclaimed that “I wrote as a bird sings. I’d sit down and write. Without thinking of how to write or about what. My things wrote themselves. I could write at any time I liked. To write a sketch, a story, a skit cost me no labor” (qtd. in

Kazin 57). On the contrary – and just as misleading – Anthony Trollope claimed to have sat at his desk each morning with his watch in front of him and required of himself “250 words every quarter of an hour” before breakfast (237). He went on to advise writers to

“let their work be to them as is his common work to the common labourer. No gigantic efforts will then be necessary” (317). These two poses represent authorial self-fashioning

38 The first version of the table was submitted to Perkins in early April 1922.

39 “Introduction.” Tales of the Jazz Age. Cambridge Edition. xiii.


at its most extreme.40 Professional authorship blends natural talent and dedication to craft rather than one over the other. Nonetheless, whether he was a natural or a “common labourer,” Fitzgerald chose to amplify speed and flippancy over skillful dedication and textual revision in his table. I aim to position this piece as a crucial nexus in the trajectory of Fitzgerald’s professional writing career. By understanding the authority behind this table one can trace the resulting effect such a piece has not only on an author’s text but on that author’s entire canon. The forces that pressure a writer to affect the pose of a natural rather than the realities of a professional are varied and situational, yet the pose is significant. Had Fitzgerald published more than three introductions throughout his career this point may be easier to assess. However, given the publishing circumstances, editorial considerations, and market demands placed upon Fitzgerald in

1922, the table of contents for Tales of the Jazz Age shows us an author at a turning point, as he prepared readers for an irreverent work “in one reel” followed by a slow, steady decline in authority.41 As with all authorial introductions, the table of contents as written changes the way we read the fiction, and inevitably, the way we read Fitzgerald.

Early on Fitzgerald was concerned with his work’s marketability and advertising.

Philip McGowan argues that “within the fluid spaces of the Jazz Age that his fiction so capably represented, Fitzgerald carefully, indeed obsessively, charts his progress against the fluctuating habits of America’s book-buying public” (276). For instance, during the final stages of publishing The Beautiful and Damned, Fitzgerald proposed to Perkins that

40 Interestingly, unlike Fitzgerald, Chekhov and Trollope both held jobs aside from their writing (physician and civil servant respectively). This may have led them to contextualize their authorship in such jarring ways.

41 “In One Reel” was one of Fitzgerald’s original titles for the collection, along with “Sideshow” and “A Sideshow.” Short films were generally shot on one reel of film, which led Fitzgerald to equate his collection with a short film rather than a full-length project.


his novel would “go about 60,000 copies the first year – that is, assuming that Paradise went about 40,000 the first year” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 49). Fitzgerald was often concerned with the sales of his work, which played a major role in his publishing history, especially following the early success of This Side of Paradise. With this consideration came criticism, as Perkins reassured Fitzgerald on New Year’s Eve 1921 that “the time ought to come when whatever you write will be understood. They will know what you stand for in writing and they do not really know yet” (50). Correspondence between the author and his editor frequently included such assurances, as Fitzgerald concerned himself regularly with the activity of critics and their role in his publications. Perkins proposed that “the book is not written according to the usual conventions of the novel. Its satire will not of itself be understood by the great simple minded public without a little help” (50). Though Perkins refers to the final pages of the novel, which he and Fitzgerald had argued over in previous correspondence, Fitzgerald’s response nine days later contains suggestions for subtitles and jacket blurbs, as well as a request to keep “Surely the book of the Spring” out of the advertisements (51). His concerns were warranted, as he had begun to see himself as a new type of author, one with a readership, followers, and added pressure.

On 18 January Fitzgerald told Perkins that “I am in a mood of terrific depression which nothing will lift except the enormous success of my book. I wish I didn’t have to be here when it appears as the philistine pressure is terrific and I shall probably be gazed at stonily by many robust dowagers” (51). Though empty following the relatively quick writing of The Beautiful and Damned, Fitzgerald continued to work through his apparent

“terrific depression.” In the same letter he affirmed that “my play is a gem” and


suggested titles for his next book, asking Perkins “what do you think of Sideshow or A

Sideshow as the title for my book of short stories next fall?” (51). The play in question – published as The Vegetable the following year – would consume the majority of

Fitzgerald’s writing efforts during 1922, as his collection became more of an assemblage than a cohesive book. He also suggested how best to advertise his first story collection,

Flappers and Philosophers, on the flap of The Beautiful and Damned.42 All of these suggestions and concerns set the stage for Fitzgerald’s writing life in 1922.43 With a new novel coming out in the spring, a play on his desk, and a story collection expected in the fall, Fitzgerald undoubtedly recognized the potential in his new authorial voice.

This background proves paramount in determining the importance of Tales of the

Jazz Age in the author’s career. How could a collection of stories – put together over the course of several months and annotated with a clever table of contents while its author wrote a play – make any difference? In a late January letter Fitzgerald wrote Perkins concerning proof copies of The Beautiful and Damned: “the books came in and I am delighted with the blurb on the back which I suspect you wrote yourself. I think it strikes the right note, gives a moral key to the stupider critics on which to go, and justifies the book to many who will think it is immoral” (52).44 Here the eye to the critic and his judgment takes a significant toll on Fitzgerald. The search for justification, satisfaction, and acceptance in both literary and popular circles proved exceedingly important to

42 Fitzgerald bristled against using “contains eight of Mr. F’s best short stories” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 52). Fitzgerald balks at such conventional advertisements several times throughout the genesis of his early work.

43 Fitzgerald’s year also included revising “The Cruise of the Rolling Junk” for publication, writing a movie treatment for David O. Selznick, and considering playing the lead (with Zelda) in a film version of This Side of Paradise, not to mention the birth of his daughter Scottie in October 1921 (West, “Introduction” to Tales of the Jazz Age xiv).

44 31 January 1922. 112

Fitzgerald’s authorial ego, and The Beautiful and Damned was meant to extend the promise begun with This Side of Paradise. However, one week later Fitzgerald voiced a considerable concern to Perkins, asking “have you overestimated my public & will this sell up to within seven thousand of what Paradise has done in two years? My God!

Suppose I fall flat!” (53). Fitzgerald defines his readership as “my public” and claims for himself an individual and collective authorial space. One, he sees himself as the chronicler of a certain generation; and two, his authorial self belongs to his public, as the published books influence readers. That space, though difficult to navigate, gets its most original and confident treatment once Fitzgerald alerts Perkins to the short story collection he intends to publish.

When Fitzgerald introduces his new collections he outlines its structure and contents, replaces the title Sideshow with In One Reel, and names its four sections

“Fantasies,” “My Last Flappers,” “Comedies,” and “And So Forth” (54). He contends that this collection “will go better than Flappers because all the fantasies are something new & the critics will fall for them” (55). West points out that Fitzgerald worked diligently with Perkins to give his collection “an appearance markedly different from that of his first three books. He paid attention to the typography, casing, and dust jacket of the volume, exerting as much control as he could over the physical look of the final product”

(“Introduction” to TJA xvi). From the outset Fitzgerald attempted to produce something which critics would “fall” for, a subtle nod to the collection’s shortcomings as well as the author’s confidence in packaging the book adroitly with fresh material.45 Fitzgerald was

45 West points out that Fitzgerald’s story selections were limited in 1922 due to his dedication to finishing The Beautiful and Damned, leaving him little time to write new material for the magazine market (“Introduction” to Tales of the Jazz Age xi).


so confident that three months later he wrote Perkins concerning his new title – Tales of the Jazz Age – and provided eight different reasons for why it should be so titled.46 The fourth proves prophetic, as he claims “it will be bought by my own personal public, that is by the countless flappers and college kids who think I am a sort of oracle” (Dear

Scott/Dear Max 59). The pose struck in his table germinates here, for Fitzgerald is willing to play his book for the flapper crowd, even though earlier he had lamented its devolution to Perkins.47 He goes on to point out that “it is better to have a title & a title- connection that is a has-been than one that is a never-will-be” (59). Fitzgerald’s attention to the title and its merits opens up his next move, as he finishes the letter with confidence and assures Perkins that “I’m sure in any case the stories will be reviewed a great deal, largely because of the Table of Contents” (59).

Once submitted, Fitzgerald’s table went through the usual revision process. He requested another proof of the table in a 20 June letter to Perkins; in the same letter he suggested three substantial blurbs for the collection and asked Perkins about “advertising it as a cheerful book and not as ‘eleven of Mr. Fitzgerald’s best stories by the y.a. of

T.S.O.P’” (61). Further, just as he requested having “Surely the book of the Spring” nowhere near The Beautiful and Damned, Fitzgerald had designs for the marketability of his collection to a youthful readership – his personal public. However, though the commitment to his public rings true throughout his table, one cannot assume that he cared less about his critical position. As with many authors before him Fitzgerald entered into

46 Perkins had written Fitzgerald three days prior explaining the Scribner’s editorial team’s disapproval of the new title.

47 FSF to MP: 9 January 1922: “And the flapper idea – God knows I am indebted to it but I agree with you that its time to let it go” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 50-51).


a compromised authorial position which contained the reality of artistic production and the public reception granted that production. Fitzgerald wrote the table for his readers to ponder and laugh at, yet he also considered that table integral in masking the drawbacks of his collection. This aggravated space marks a turning point for Fitzgerald, as the table became the focal point not only of the collection but also of Fitzgerald’s authority for the better part of the twenties.

Once Fitzgerald enclosed his revised proofs for the table to Perkins in July he made mention that “with the title, the jacket + the table of contents the Jazz Age will get a lot of publicity and may sell ten or fifteen thousand copies” (Correspondence 111). He later observed that “I don’t suppose such an assorted bill-of-fare as these eleven stories, novellettes, plays + 1 burlesque has ever been served up in one book in the history of publishing” (111). Fitzgerald certainly intended to break with convention, but not for artistic reasons. His emphasis on the table material featured in Tales of the Jazz Age came from necessity rather than . Knowing the weaknesses of his collection behooved Fitzgerald to serve up his stories in as attractive a vessel as possible.48

Therefore the collection included a Fitzgerald-approved jacket design by John Held, Jr., a clever dedication to his mother, and an innovative table of contents. So, given the background behind the creation and construction of Tales of the Jazz Age, what does one do with a table of contents which Fitzgerald believed would enhance the publicity of his book? Knowing what we do about Fitzgerald’s working habits and his dedication to the entirety of the collection’s presentation, this table enters into a genre of one. Nothing else looks like this piece, though many authors have posed as the “natural” writer

48 As noted earlier, 1922 was a dry year for Fitzgerald stories, save for “May Day” and “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz.” The table was conceived to cover up the lack of quality stories on the collection.


Fitzgerald affects. Fitzgerald’s table reveals a writer deftly maneuvering his authorial space; though the future was unknowable to Fitzgerald his table cost him as much as it buoyed him, and while the collection sold above expectations, netted Fitzgerald $3,056 in

1922 (Some Sort of Epic Grandeur 168), and received favorable reviews, the toll it took on his authorial persona seemed unrecoverable.49

With his table, Fitzgerald displays a wide range of characteristics: funny, self- deprecating, sincere, ribald, and clever. Though the collection begins with the author’s apologetic dedication to his mother, the table pushes the boundaries of the standard introduction. Gerard Genette contends that the choice of public regarding an introduction or preface is crucial, for “it is not always wise to cast one’s net too wide, and authors often have a fairly specific idea of the kind of reader they want, or the kind they know they can reach” (212). By defining his readership early on as “my own personal public,”

Fitzgerald maintained direct access to a group of loosely defined consumers. These readers – as the author saw them – wished to have their Fitzgerald a certain way, with a certain tone and style. Timothy Galow points out that Fitzgerald’s “double vision” allowed him to “participate in America’s crass consumer culture and live a life of public revelry while still maintaining enough detachment to write insightfully about it” (127).50

A key moment of control emerges, for here the author precedes his work with an introduction and casts his double vision upon the reading public. As we have seen in correspondence, Fitzgerald always intended for his book to include this table, and his confidence in its structure and reception drove his collection to the market. Knowing full

49 See Bryer’s F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Critical Reception (139-168).

50 Galow is referencing ’s referral to “a double point of view” in regards to Fitzgerald’s entire canon in “Third Act and Epilogue,” reprinted in Alfred Kazin’s F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Man and his Work (149). 116

well that his book required something unique in order to differentiate it from other collections, Fitzgerald sought to create a mixture of styles and genres within one work.

However, West concludes that the author may have seen his work as a “hodgepodge,” and “therefore set out to tie the collection together, creating an appearance of unity with an innovative table of contents that would itself be a new piece of writing”

(“Introduction” to TJA xii). Though Bruccoli reminds us that “in no case did Fitzgerald simply reprint the text of a magazine story” (The Short Stories xvii), and West accounts for the many revisions Fitzgerald made to each story in the collection, the “assorted bill- of-fare” was the result of careful cobbling and clever packaging. The one part which immediately separated the work from any other – a table of contents – offered Fitzgerald one of his most unique authorial moments. He did rework each story, but his table of contents downplays that facet of authorship in favor of something different and distinct.

Genette argues further that once an introduction has been included the reader

“will have to make an effort to circumvent this inhibiting signpost, which won’t be that easy to do” (224). Fitzgerald’s table blurs the line between truth and fiction. Centering on the “appearance of unity” which West suggests, the table offers several accounts of creating, writing, and selling stories for print. This points to Fitzgerald effectively

“[prolonging] his reputation as the flapper’s historian” (Mangum 46). Fitzgerald’s choice is reflected in the table as are several choices – both fact and fiction – and the table bears no resemblance to earlier work. The authorial crux created by the table and its subsequent collection becomes one of Genette’s “inhibiting signposts.” Textual indicators show Fitzgerald asserting authorial control from the outset. By titling his piece “A Table of Contents” rather than the conventional “Table of Contents,” Fitzgerald subtly intends


for his readers to deduce the difference of his introduction from others. This is a table which was written and conceived in tandem with others, yet here stands the one chosen and placed by the author for the reader. Fitzgerald issues a sense of flippancy, which he does throughout the table, and regards his work as just “a table.” However, the power of this piece is its uniqueness, and the title proves paramount; the power of an article (“a”) suggests Fitzgerald’s authorial prowess. Similarly, no sooner does the table begin than

Fitzgerald asserts more profoundly his subtitle “My Last Flappers.” He defines his generation for them, takes control of their nomenclature (“flapper”), and marks them as his own (“my”). Their wording is his wording, and by linking his work with the public’s perception of youth and his own writing, Fitzgerald continues his duties as flapper historian, using a persona he continued to fight with for the entirety of his career.

Fitzgerald and his persona begin the table with a deferral to his wife, Zelda. In his description of “The Jelly-Bean” he notes the “strange circumstances” under which the story was written and names his wife as a collaborator. He goes so far as to recount that

“for, finding I was unable to manage the crap-shooting episode, I turned it over to my wife, who, as a Southern girl, was presumably an expert on the technique and terminology of that great sectional pastime” (TJA vii). This deferral plays directly into the debonair pose Fitzgerald wanted for this piece. Fitzgerald happily includes his wife in the revelry, as she too plays her public role as Mrs. Scott Fitzgerald. He also reminds readers of the setting (“This is a Southern story”) and source (“I have a profound respect for Tarleton”) of the story, which allows for his first self-deprecating moment: a referral to the many letters “from all over the South denouncing me in no uncertain terms” (vii).

Somewhere between doubt and brazen ingenuity, Fitzgerald starts his collection with a


story that supposedly garnered a large number of Southern denunciations and received an editorial gloss from his wife’s hand. This self-critique remains throughout the table, as each successive introduction shifts between humor and self-deprecation, confidence and sincerity.

The introduction for “The Camel’s Back” offers some funny moments, as the author relegates himself – in no uncertain terms – to a camel’s “latter part” (a play on

“horse’s ass”) by the piece’s end (vii). Leading up to this punch line, Fitzgerald regards the genesis of his story: “I suppose that of all the stories I have ever written this one cost me the least travail and perhaps gave me the most amusement” (vii). Fitzgerald subdues the truth, for he labored long and hard over “The Camel’s Back.” West’s “Record of

Variants” for the Cambridge edition includes over five full pages of changes made between the serial and first Scribner’s printing. Fitzgerald’s habits of revision were sound, and he worked hard at his writing, yet here he employs the tone of the natural who writes more for amusement than profession. Pushing further he recalls:

as to the labor involved, it was written during one day in the city of New

Orleans, with the express purpose of buying a platinum and diamond wrist

watch which cost six hundred dollars. I began it at seven in the morning

and finished it at two o’clock the same night. It was published in the

‘Saturday Evening Post’ in 1920, and later included in the O. Henry

Memorial Collection for the same year. I like it least of all the stories in

this volume. (vii)

The posture puts everything on the line: Fitzgerald’s writing habits, his writing ends, and his self-judgment. By reminding his readership of the financial gains associated with


story writing, Fitzgerald both accepts and criticizes wealth itself. Bryant Mangum argues that Fitzgerald “became the specialist in upper class life – an historian of the wealthy who could make his chronicles as amusing to the average citizen as they were, sometimes, perhaps, tragic to him” (31). Mangum concludes that “Fitzgerald’s popular reputation, in fact, is grounded in those first Post stories” (31). This persona, created in order to satiate both popular and critical ends, began with the Post stories like “The

Camel’s Back.” Such criticism leads to humor, as Fitzgerald is quick to disregard both the artistic labor and staying power of the story – being his “least favorite” in the collection. Its inclusion may be more closely related to the amusing anecdote regarding a camel’s hind parts than to the intrinsic worth of the story, though the story provides ample laughs. Even so, Fitzgerald firmly entrenches himself in the Post story persona

Mangum identifies, the persona he intended to utilize when creating Tales of the Jazz Age for his public.

Interestingly, what may be the most serious introduction of the lot follows one of the silliest. In prefacing “May Day,” Fitzgerald turns off the irreverence in favor of sincerity and refers to the pattern of the three events his story constitutes, and how “in my story I have tried, unsuccessfully I fear, to weave them into a pattern – a pattern which would give the effect of those months in New York as they appeared to at least one member of what was then the younger generation” (TJA viii). Here the flapper historian returns, as Fitzgerald discusses “the general hysteria of that spring which inaugurated the

Age of Jazz” (viii). Noticeably somber and serious, this introduction allows Fitzgerald to remind his readers of his talent, and that even though he poses as the off-the-cuff huckster of stories written for wrist watches, he can still create an “effect” beyond gaiety. Even in


calling the story a “somewhat unpleasant tale” (viii), Fitzgerald seeks to offer more while placing it with less. Though West, Bruccoli, and Mangum note the centrality of “May

Day” and “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” within the collection, here we see Fitzgerald attempting to note the same impression. Written for the Smart Set and sold in March

1920, “May Day” represents the crux of early Fitzgerald, and Mangum notes that “many elements in ‘May Day’ also demonstrate the influence of popular readers’ tastes, an indication that Fitzgerald was beginning to reconcile the extremes in his fiction” (39).

Though this indication is justified, Fitzgerald places “May Day” directly after the comical

“The Camel’s Back,” written for the Post. Fitzgerald sets a Smart Set story immediately after a Post story, which leads one to question his intentions, for the editors of each magazine required different products from their writers. In his initial letter to Perkins outlining the collection, Fitzgerald lists “The Camel’s Back” after “May Day,” a somewhat innocuous and easily overlooked point (Dear Scott/Dear Max 54).51 However, placement of stories within a collection proved paramount to Fitzgerald, as he worked harder on the construction of this collection than any previous work.52 Given these facts, one can see the tonal shift Fitzgerald enacts in choosing to eventually place “May Day” after “The Camel’s Back.” Both stories involve parties, miscommunication, and accidental marriages, but the force of one (“May Day”) outweighs the comedy of the other (“The Camel’s Back”). Always one to embrace versatility, Fitzgerald weaves his readers like the patterns in his introduction and forces them to accept not only the stories

51 6 February 1922.

52 See West’s introduction to the Cambridge edition of Tales.


of a flapper historian but also those of a serious social historian, side by side, story by story.

His final introduction for “My Last Flappers” (“Porcelain and Pink”) indulges in the same superfluity the story itself engages in. Fully tongue-in-cheek, the introduction consists of a dialogue between the author and a female reader, presumably a reader unhappy with the material in the play, as well as the publication it appeared in.

According to the woman the Smart Set publishes “stuff about girls in blue bathtubs, and silly things like that!” (TJA viii), which allows Fitzgerald to proudly proclaim “Porcelain and Pink” as the story in question. The play is of no consequence, as is evident with the introduction, but given its placement following “May Day” the play serves as a palette cleanser before ramping up for his next section (“Fantasies”) and its opening story, “The

Diamond as Big as the Ritz.” Interestingly, in the dummy copy of the collection,

“Porcelain and Pink” makes no appearance, as “May Day” leads directly into “Diamond”

(rpt. in Tales Cambridge ed. 534). However, Perkins was always concerned about the size of his author’s books, and the play was partially added in order to fill out the book. The one-act also allows for a come-down between serious and long pieces, even if the play offers little in terms of ingenuity or thematic weight. However, just as Fitzgerald preceded "May Day” with a comedy, he also sees the need to bookend with another, a structured move from a writer using his authorial control to package the reception of the book on a story to story basis. This, in turn, highlights stories such as “May Day” and

“The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” structurally and leaves readers to attend to Fitzgerald’s story order throughout. Selecting stories for a collection proves difficult and crucial, but the placement of those stories requires just as much attention and purpose.


Fitzgerald then begins “Fantasies” with one of the collection’s strongest stories, which allows him the space to create a whimsical tone. Referring to his fantasy writing as his “second manner,” Fitzgerald quickly attends to the writing process this manner involves, and notes that “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” was “designed for my own amusement” while “in that familiar mood characterized by a perfect craving for luxury”

(TJA viii). Whether or not the story was created under those circumstances we cannot tell, though the story does contain some of Fitzgerald’s most critical passages on wealth, and in correspondence with Harold Ober the author traces the difficulty in getting what was then titled “The Diamond in the Sky” published. After considering several options – including McCall’s, Scribner’s, and the Smart Set – Fitzgerald tells Ober that “in short I realize I can’t get a real good price for the three weeks work that story represents – so I’d rather get no price but reap the subtle, and nowadays oh-so-valuable dividend that comes from Mencken’s good graces” (As Ever 35-36).53 A far cry from amusement, the genesis of “Diamond” left Fitzgerald “rather discouraged that a cheap story like The Popular Girl written in one week while the baby was being born brings $1500.00 + a genuinely imaginative thing into which I put three weeks real entheusiasm [sic] like The Diamond in the Sky brings not a thing” (36). Anxious to collect the story in Tales of the Jazz Age,

Fitzgerald notes the effort involved in composing “Diamond,” which contrasts the “pure amusement” his introduction suggests. Though par for the course to this point, the realities of Fitzgerald’s working habits take a back seat to the author’s governing persona.

He finishes his introduction with an offhanded construction; he first prefers another story

– “The Off Shore Pirate” – then proclaims: “to tamper slightly with Lincoln: If you like

53 5 February 1922. 123

this sort of thing, this, possibly, is the sort of thing you’ll like” (TJA viii).54 Neither completely denunciatory nor affirming, Fitzgerald seems to let the story stand on its own by the end of the introduction.

Given that Fitzgerald seeks to present an altogether different manner of writing in his “Fantasies,” he begins the section with an introduction framed in such a manner.

Because the “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” was hard to place following its creation, one sees Fitzgerald’s diffidence toward the introduction. However, as the three remaining section introductions show, the author never fully accepts his second manner and denigrates each one to some degree with differing effects. This points again to

Fitzgerald’s authorial pose, as the correspondence shows his admiration for “The

Diamond in the Sky” as opposed to some of his other work. However, the dummy copy prefaces “Diamond” with “This first extravaganza,” while the first edition finds

“extravaganza” near the end of the introduction. Fitzgerald’s subtle shift in word placement, though a shift nonetheless, positions “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” as an important yet “second manner” story, and he reminds readers of his authorial control following the comic bookending of “May Day” one section earlier. Fitzgerald’s pose affects the stories therein and causes one to read “Diamond” with marked caution rather than the enthusiasm the author intended.

The subsequent fantasies, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Tarquin of

Cheapside,” and “O Russet Witch!” follow similar paths as “Diamond,” as Fitzgerald offers introductions concerning possible plagiarism and influence, the role of early work in an author’s career, and the profession of authorship itself. These pieces continue to

54 Abraham Lincoln allegedly quipped, “For those who like that sort of thing, I should think it is just about the sort of thing they would like.”


shift the focus from collection balancing – which Fitzgerald enacts with his first two sections – to authorial output in the face of real writing issues. While addressing the effects of professional authorship on a young writer, Fitzgerald enters his readers into the realms of composition and reception. A complex interplay of intentions, choices, and memories allows the author to express succinctly his role in the creative process and how significantly that role is shaped by public perception. Chiefly, Mangum notes that

Fitzgerald’s experiments with naturalism, fantasy, and what Metropolitan called a

“realistic gift,” influenced his early story writing.55 With experimentation comes risk, and

Fitzgerald’s popularity following This Side of Paradise allowed him to test “the limits of the popular reading public to see how far he could go without offending them” (Mangum

41-42). Though first rejected by Metropolitan and later published by Collier’s, “The

Curious Case of Benjamin Button” falls under experimentation, and Fitzgerald’s introduction offers a slick, roundabout explanation of the genesis and clever conceit of the story. He first credits an outside source for the idea: “this story was inspired by a remark of Mark Twain’s to the effect that it was a pity that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst at the end” (TJA ix). He then doubts his treatment of the idea, for “by trying the experiment upon only one man in a perfectly normal world I have scarcely given his idea a fair trial” (ix). Finally, he issues a subtle claim of plagiarism through name-dropping, since “several weeks after completing it, I discovered an almost identical plot in Samuel Butler’s ‘Note-books’ ” (ix). Following these exercises is a letter from an “anonymous admirer” who refers to the story and its author as “the biggest peice

[sic]” of cheese he or she had ever read (ix). Certainly not a positive introduction to the

55 Fitzgerald mentions noted naturalist author Frank Norris in the opening line of “The Lees of Happiness” later in the collection.


work, Fitzgerald chooses to reference the clever twist – Button’s reverse aging – over other aspects to sell the story to the reader. Given that the story is little more than the conceit at its core, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” serves the collection as both a fantasy and an experiment in Fitzgerald’s development. He defers to Twain, Butler, and his critical reader, allows the letter-writer to finish the introduction for him, and adds humor to the self-deprecating pose that the remainder of his collection boasts. Clever enough as written, “Benjamin Button” does not benefit from an introduction, and

Fitzgerald goes with the only play at his disposal, which is to remind readers of the conceit and where that conceit originated.

Fitzgerald shifts gears again with “Tarquin of Cheapside.” The story offers a window into the author’s early career, since it was originally published in the Nassau

Literary Magazine (1917) and revised for The Smart Set in 1921. The introduction reads more historical than pedagogical, and Fitzgerald defines his story as “a product of undergraduate days at Princeton” (ix). West mentions the opposition initially mounted by

Perkins regarding the inclusion of the story and Fitzgerald’s defense on the grounds that early reviewers had “tickled” him with praise (Dear Scott/Dear Max 62). Perkins was concerned with the implications of the story and noted that “the poem, with its philosophical beginning and all, does not suggest (I think) the psychology of an author in the situation you present” (61). Perkins’s misgivings were not without merit, as

Fitzgerald reflects his editor’s dissatisfaction with the narrative in the introduction. He notes the strange style and context of the story and casts the composition process as a young writer’s quest to become an author. This is then followed by a seasoned writing veteran’s self-criticism. Looking back, he includes the story for personal rather than


artistic reasons and uses “Tarquin” as a development exercise for his readers. Seeing where the author has been directs readers through the present collection and forecasts the author’s future output. Much like the introduction to “The Camel’s Back,” Fitzgerald disavows the artistic qualities of the story in favor of authorial positioning and lets his personal public judge the 1917 Fitzgerald against the 1922 Fitzgerald. In the end,

Fitzgerald grants his readers access to a young author’s motivations and achievement but reminds them that “probably the peculiar affection I feel for it depends more upon its age than upon any intrinsic merit” (ix). That age cannot be redeemed, but the memory lives on forever.

Fitzgerald claims that his final fantasy, “O Russet Witch!” resulted from a

“feeling that there was no ordered scheme to which I must conform” following the drafting of The Beautiful and Damned (ix). Fitzgerald instructs readers that “none of the characters need be taken seriously” (ix) and accepts a strange defeat similar to “Tarquin of Cheapside” and “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz.” He suggests that the structure, style, and tone of his story may in fact contradict the tastes of his reading public.

Whereas “Tarquin” could be written off due to youth and “Diamond” due to story preference, the introduction to “O Russet Witch!” expresses authorial confidence and criticism simultaneously. By placing his story within a collective group of fantasies,

Fitzgerald automatically diminishes its potential, similar to his treatment of “Diamond.”

Consequently, Mangum defines the story as one of the author’s “near-fantasies,” a comment largely based on the ambiguous time element throughout (42). Fitzgerald agrees that “after due consideration, however, I have decided to let it stand as it is, although my reader may find himself somewhat puzzled at the time element” (TJA ix). A later


unpublished introduction to his 1935 collection Taps at Reveille finds the author in a similar state, both apologizing for and defending his work concurrently. Shades of it exist here, as Fitzgerald recognizes – as he did with “Button” – the inherent flaw of the story and sets it before the reader.56 Indeed, Part IV begins with “the years between thirty-five and sixty-five revolve before the passive mind as one unexplained, confusing merry-go-round” (TJA 260) and follows Grainger’s “gradual withdrawal from life” (260).

Though the story possesses the rapid progression of Grainger’s age from part to part, much of the story finds the character either in his twenties or his sixties, a large forty year gap Fitzgerald attends to in his introduction. However, as with “Diamond” and “Button,” his concluding remarks sum up not only the author’s artistic view of the work but also the faculties by which that story was composed.

Though the female antagonist of the story, Alicia Dare, remains much of an enigma, and Grainger concludes that his own life left “nothing but heaven, where he would meet only those who, like him, had wasted earth” (272), Fitzgerald synthesizes his story confidently. He confesses that “I had best say that however the years may have dealt with Merlin Grainger, I myself was thinking always in the present” (ix). Fitzgerald plays off of the time element in several ways with this complex statement. One, the years treat Grainger badly considering his eventual acquiescence to age and lost youth. Two,

Grainger represents the story itself, with Fitzgerald judging the effect time has had on his work for the public. Three, Fitzgerald’s “present” complicates potential reading, for he offers a fantastic possibility regarding time – do we really know what time it is? – though the story suggests the passage of time. Four, with the strange representation of Alicia

Dare, time and memory link to form a denigrating bond for Merlin, who sees himself

56 Grainger ages rapidly throughout the narrative. 128

“too old now even for memories” (272). Such confusion probably led Fitzgerald to characterize “O Russet Witch!” accordingly, even if his introduction leads to more questions than answers. A fitting final piece to his fantasies, the story and its introduction relate the intentionality of style and narrative to how an author’s governing voice can make or break a prospective reading.

His final section, under the heading “Unclassified Masterpieces,” includes a longer “mere piece of sentimentality,” another one-act, and a strange Princeton piece entitled “Jemina.” Interesting here is his attention to writing facility, artistic worth, humor, and legacy within the introductions, as he begins with tragedy and ends with tragic-comedy. Again, as with earlier pieces, these introductions provide Fitzgerald with a final space by which control and reading are governed, and he goes out at full speed.

Judging the sentimentality and tragedy of “The Lees of Happiness,” Fitzgerald is keen to get the story out before his final two farces, and he enacts a lasting symbol of choice over necessity. Early in his introduction he notes “[the story] will be accused perhaps of being a mere piece of sentimentality, but, as I saw it, it was a great deal more,” which signals his readers – akin to “May Day” – to the personal importance the work represents (TJA x). Further, as with several introductions, he counts on the words of a fake observer to present the point of his piece. He then demeans his handling of the story and suggests that

“if, therefore, it lacks the ring of sincerity, or even tragedy, the fault rests not with the theme but with my handling of it” (x), before recalling an award granted “Lees” by the

Chicago Tribune upon publication.57 In tandem with his introductions to “Porcelain and

Pink” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” his fictional observer lays out a

“Jamesian” paragraph which introduces the action, Fitzgerald’s play on “stark

57 The “quadruple gold laurel leaf or some encomium” (x). 129

melodramas” (x). After the fictional paragraph Fitzgerald concludes “…until the poor rat of fiction is at last forced out into the open and the melodrama begins” (x), a response to the concealment of characters and observers he sees in the fiction preferred by

“anthologists who at present swarm among us” (x). Though this anthologist bestowed an award upon “Lees,” Fitzgerald obviously characterizes the weakness of his work – its melodramatic qualities alongside its strengths – an exercise he repeats throughout his table of contents. This signifies the core of his authorial pose, the “flapper historian” who doubles as critic and hack, as well as professional and natural. Though “Lees” does not necessarily provide the collection with more than a sentimental tragedy, Fitzgerald’s balancing act between talent and craftsmanship serves as yet another example of the author’s attention to both readers and critics.

The introductions for “Mr. Icky” and “Jemina” give very little insight, though

“Mr. Icky,” according to Fitzgerald, “has the distinction of being the only magazine piece ever written in a New York hotel,” and “Jemina” follows the technique of Stephen

Leacock, which he apologizes for (x).58 Both stories are of little consequence, for

Mangum fails to index either in his study of the short fiction, and the author treats both in less than laudatory terms. These are meant as larks, short pieces of fancy indicative of a distinct authorial moment meant to amuse rather than provoke. Incidentally, one of the most telling passages in the table concludes “Jemina,” as Fitzgerald sums up his legacy and proclaims “[Jemina] seems to me worth preserving a few years—at least until the ennui of changing fashions suppresses me, my books, and it together” (xi). The final line proves palpable, as the author correctly diagnoses his future in terms of change and

58 Leacock was a noted Canadian humorist of the early twentieth century.


dismissal. Knowing what we do regarding the remainder of Fitzgerald’s career, the crux conjured herein amplifies the downward momentum his authority took, even if he felt his popularity would endure. Prior to the debut of The Vegetable, Fitzgerald’s authority was intact, his popularity solid, and his work admired. Strangely, he uses that authority to prognosticate future defeat at the hands of critics, though those critics had yet to dismiss him completely. Such a pose showcases the anxiety Fitzgerald exhibited in the face of critical treatment, even if his table of contents played to a fad (flappers) he helped create.

Rather than establish a new Fitzgerald, Mangum observes that “the insistence of the magazine editors in his time to keep the old Fitzgerald alive in order to sell magazines indicates the kind of pressures that contemporary audiences placed on Fitzgerald’s output; the historian of youth was always in demand” (69). Fitzgerald considered changing that persona, yet he returned to his “countless flappers and College kids” with

“a safe [title] that has a certain appeal” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 59), and his regard for the collection rested on his ability to attract readers already steeped in the Fitzgerald of This

Side of Paradise.59 Even his suggested blurbs read as humorous and “cheerful,” with one characterizing the collection as “a medly of Bath-tubs, diamond mountains, Fitzgerald flappers and Jelly-beans. Ten acts of lustrous farce – and one other” (60). Not to be taken seriously, in the final statement of the table Fitzgerald offers one last apology: “With due apologies for this impossible Table of Contents, I tender these tales of the Jazz Age into the hands of those who read as they run and run as they read” (xi). This clear evocation of his public readership encases the collection in a specific type of authority and leaves the table in exactly the form and style Fitzgerald intended. When matched with the author- approved dust jacket by John Held, Jr., Tales of the Jazz Age became a lasting impression

59 The citations are from Fitzgerald’s 11 May 1922 letter to Perkins. 131

of the successful, yet strangely aware, author Fitzgerald saw in himself. The flapper historian had created his collection, and he was pleased.

Once released on 22 September 1922, Tales of the Jazz Age sold well, with a first printing of 8,000 copies at $1.75, followed by two impressions of 3,000 each in October

(West, “Introduction” to Tales xviii). Jackson R. Bryer concludes that “reviewers of

Tales of the Jazz Age were, for the most part, charmed by its table of contents – in which the author humorously described each story and its genesis – but they found the collection itself uneven” (xvii). West likewise concludes that “many book critics took their cues from the playful appearance of the jacket and the irreverent tone of the table of contents” (“Introduction” to Tales xviii). In fact Anthony Bartlett Maurice dedicated the majority of his New York Herald review to the table of contents rather than the stories within (The Critical Reception 45). Many reviews were on the whole positive, though others were somewhere in the middle, especially concerning Fitzgerald’s subject matter.

The anonymous reviewer for the Sunday Republican noted that “one presumes that the world is filled with jazzy young folks of this type, even though one happens not to know any” (43); Margaret Culkin Banning’s review for the Duluth Herald found the stories “in the main his ‘old stuff’ ” (43), and the anonymous reviewer for the San Francisco

Chronicle felt the author was “riding on his momentum – which is all very well, provided he doesn’t keep at it until the impetus of interest…is exhausted” (41). But the most telling review, written by John Gunther for the Chicago Daily News, suggests that Fitzgerald

“intimates that he is not going to write about flappers any more. Let us hold our thumbs and hope!” (44). The personal public Fitzgerald wrote for bought his collection, yet the reviews saw his attention to youth once again fascinating and damning. Knowing full


well the strength of his collection, Fitzgerald inscribed his copy to H.L. Mencken,

“Please read the Table of Contents” (Correspondence 116), and he also noted the table in his inscription for Harold Ober’s copy (As Ever 50).60 The critics saw Tales for what it was: an assemblage of good and bad fiction bolstered by a unique jacket and an even more unique table of contents. Fitzgerald knew this was the angle he had to take, and he took it at full strength, which effectively prolonged his persona as flapper historian in order to maintain interest amongst his public.

The prologue for “Jemina” calls for his readers to “read it here, see it in the movies, play it on the phonograph, run it through the sewing machine” (TJA 311).

Intentional indifference, flippancy, and an “appearance of unity” (West, “Introduction” to

TJA xii) mark the table of contents as the site where Fitzgerald fictively engaged his persona at the expense of his fiction, which resulted in a compromised authority by which

Fitzgerald would be judged for the remainder of his career. Whether read, seen, or sewn,

Tales of the Jazz Age defined the authority of early Fitzgerald, a point made clear by the construction of a table of contents for his personal public.

60 Mencken went on to write a less than positive review of Tales, concluding “the tales of Fitzgerald are a great deal less satisfying” than his novels, and noting a “dangerous versatility” at play (Bryer 163).


III: An Arduous Precision: Defense, Justification, and Apologies in the 1930s

Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work—the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside—the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once. –F. Scott Fitzgerald61

Drunk at 20, wrecked at 30, dead at 40. –F. Scott Fitzgerald62

There can be no mistaking the difference in F. Scott Fitzgerald late in his career compared to earlier. The success of This Side of Paradise and his popular magazine fiction for The Saturday Evening Post and The Smart Set helped establish his early claim to literary fame, and following Flappers and Philosophers (1920), The Beautiful and

Damned (1922), Tales of the Jazz Age (1922) and The Vegetable (1923), Fitzgerald began drafting his third novel.63 He told Perkins on 10 April 1924 that he felt he had “an enormous power” in him and described the new novel in relation to his first two:

This Side of Paradise was three books & the B. & D. was two. So in my

new novel I’m thrown directly on purely creative work—not trashy

imaginings as in my stories but the sustained imagination of a sincere and

yet radiant world. So I tread slowly and carefully & at times in

considerable distress. This book will be a consciously artistic achievement

& must depend on that as the 1st books did not. (Dear Scott/Dear Max 70)

Appearing to disparage the semi-autobiographical fiction present in his first two novels,

Fitzgerald clearly wanted to shed his earlier authorial persona, and he concluded that “if I

61 “The Crack-Up.” Esquire (1936). Republished in The Crack-Up (1945). Ed. Edmund Wilson. 69.

62 The Notebooks. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. 1972. 189.

63 Not counting advances, FSF made the following on his five pre-Gatsby works from 1920-1924: TSOP – ($14,241); FP – ($3,678); BD – ($12,952); TJA – ($3,333.43); The Vegetable (FSF was advanced $1,736 for the play. Scribners printed 7,650 copies, with no second printing. The play was produced in November 1923 [Bibliography 61]). All relevant financials are FSF’s estimates from his ledger (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Ledger: A Facsimile. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. Washington, D.C.: Bruccoli Clark, 1972). 134

ever win the right to any leisure again I will assuredly not waste it as I wasted this past time. Please believe me when I say that now I’m doing the best I can” (70).64 Since he had calculatedly created his table of contents to Tales of the Jazz Age for a ready-made public dependent upon his existing persona, Fitzgerald’s decision to evolve makes sense in the context of his endeavor. It was time to become a serious novelist rather than the chronicler of an age already considered past.

This shift proves relevant in regards to his later fiction. Fitzgerald hoped, as he always did, to succeed with critics and readers. After the lackluster reviews, but fair sales,65 of The Beautiful and Damned, the quick assemblage of stories for Tales of the

Jazz Age, and the complete failure of The Vegetable both in print and on stage, Fitzgerald was prepared to move away from his early authorial posing.66 His attention to critics had grown since the publication of This Side of Paradise, as his table of contents to Tales of the Jazz Age shows. Though outside authorial influence drove his early fiction, much of his later output was concerned with critical reaction in mind, a standard by-product of professional authorship. While he drafted his third novel, whose title shifted several times, Fitzgerald made evident his desire to steer clear of critical advertisements on the dust jacket. He hoped that “this time I don’t want any signed blurbs on the jacket – not

64 The Beautiful and Damned features Anthony and Gloria Patch, assumed composites of Fitzgerald and Zelda.

65 BD made Fitzgerald $12,133 in 1922; it took two years for TSOP to net Fitzgerald $11,836. However, a major reason for this was the conservative first printing of TSOP (3,000 copies) versus the aggressive approach taken with the first printing of BD (20,600 copies). By the third printing Scribner’s had printed 50,350 copies of BD; in contrast, Scribner’s did not reach 50,000 copies of TSOP until the thirteenth printing. Though a fair seller, Jackson Bryer determines that the novel was “the most extensively reviewed and harshly received of all of Fitzgerald’s books” (Critical Reception xv).

66 Fitzgerald had written Perkins that the play would result in financial security, claiming, “After my play is produced I’ll be rich forever and never have to bother you again” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 62). The play closed after one week at the Apollo Theater in November 1923 (Some Sort of Epic Grandeur 183).


Mencken’s or Lewis’ or Howard’s or anyone’s. I’m tired of being the author of This Side of Paradise and I want to start over” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 80).67 H.L. Mencken, one of

Fitzgerald’s earliest supporters and proponent of both Paradise and The Beautiful and

Damned, had disparaged Tales of the Jazz Age; this jarred Fitzgerald considerably.

Author had contributed a blurb to The Beautiful and Damned declaring

Fitzgerald “the equal of any young European” (rpt. in Bibliography 39); playwright

Sidney Howard,68 whose blurb followed Lewis’s for both The Beautiful and Damned and

Tales of the Jazz Age, called Fitzgerald “the most promising young writer in the English language today” (39). As evidenced in his disapproval of being labeled “the author of

This Side of Paradise,” Fitzgerald wanted to grow beyond a youthful writer who culled his own biography for material. Like any artist he was ready to move on to the next stage in his development, even if the market for his fiction remained dedicated to his initial persona. Even so, judging by the mixed to indifferent reviews for Tales of the Jazz Age,

Fitzgerald saw his early authority take a critical hit; following the failure of The

Vegetable, the market had shifted under the author’s feet, and an evolution was now necessary in order to sustain his professional endeavors.

The Great Gatsby meant more to Fitzgerald than any of his previous works, mostly because of its role in structuring his newest authorial persona. Shedding critical influences was now on par with removing authorial influences, a shift ever-present in his correspondence with Perkins during composition. While “a bit (not very-not dangerously) stewed,” he wrote Perkins on 20 December 1924, “please have no blurbs of any kind on

67 FSF to MP. 27 October 1924.

68 Howard, a close friend of Sinclair Lewis, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1925 for They Knew What They Wanted. 136

the jacket!!! No Mencken, or Lewis or Sid Howard or anything. I don’t believe in them one bit any more” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 89-90). He reiterated this sentiment again on 15

January 1925: “Please have no quotations from any critics whatsoever on the jacket—”

(91). Fitzgerald had reason to quibble over the jacket advertisements, as The Beautiful and Damned featured eight blurbs and Tales of the Jazz Age squeezed in twelve. Akin to

Hemingway’s disapproval with the Boni & Liveright jacket for In Our Time (1925),

Fitzgerald wanted effective marketing for his novel. He reminded Perkins of the blurbs again nine days later,69 and he expressed his disappointment with Ring Lardner’s labeling of Gatsby as “the best since Paradise” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 99).70 Interestingly,

Fitzgerald seemed to predict the mediocre sales of the novel in a 10 April letter to


This is only a vague impression of course but I wondered if we could think

of some way to advertise it so that people who are perhaps weary of

assertive jazz and society novels might not dismiss it as just another book

like his others. I confess that today the problem baffles me – all I can think

of is to say in general to avoid such phrases as ‘a picture of New York life’

or ‘modern society’ – though as that is exactly what the book is its hard to

avoid them. The trouble is so much superficial trash has sailed under those

banners. (100)

69 FSF to MP, 24 January 1925: “And remember about having no quotations from critics on the jacket – not even about my other books!” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 93).

70 FSF to MP, 10 April 1925: “‘The best since Paradise’. God! If you you knew how discouraging that was. That was what Ring said in his letter together with some very complementary remarks” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 99). He then informs Perkins that Lardner’s newest story, “Haircut,” is “pretty lousy stuff” (99). 137

Again, Fitzgerald clearly wanted this novel to separate his early persona from his evolved sense of authority. The “superficial trash” echoes his earlier definition of his story work as “trashy imaginings,” and he links the pose crucial to Tales of the Jazz Age with his disavowal of such a pose for selling Gatsby. In two years Fitzgerald had gone from a youth to an adult, a chronicler to a creator, the author of This Side of Paradise to the author of The Great Gatsby.

Even with his attention to production, Fitzgerald could not completely gauge or anticipate the initial critical reaction to his novel. Though Gatsby received the best reviews of any of his previous books, Perkins wrote him ten days after publication that “it does seem to me from the comments of many who yet feel its enchantment, that it is over the heads of more people than you would probably suppose” and assured him that he

“shall watch it with the greatest anxiety imaginable in anyone but the author” (101).71

Perkins continued to send Fitzgerald reviews to keep the ever-anxious author somewhat secured,72 though the author’s letter of 1 May speaks volumes considering the critical position of his novel:

There’s no use for indignation against the long suffering public when even

a critic who likes the book fails to be fundamentally held – that is Stallings

who has written the only intelligent review so far – but its been depressing

to find how quick one is forgotten, especially unless you repeat yourself

ad nauseam. Most of the reviewers floundered around in a piece of work

71 MP to FSF, 20 April 1925.

72 MP to FSF, 25 April 1925: “I enclose a lot of other reviews and while most of the reviewers seem rather to fumble with the book, as if they did not fully understand it, they praise it very highly, and better still, they all show a kind of excitement which they caught from its vitality” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 102). Perkins often assured his authors that their work was of a high quality, even in the face of disproportionate reviews. 138

that obviously they completely failed to understand and tried to give it

reviews that committed them neither pro or con until some one of culture

had spoken. Of course I’ve only seen the Times and the Tribune – and,

thank God, Stallings, for I had begun to believe no one was even glancing

at the book. (103)

Fitzgerald was in an authorial dilemma. In simplest terms, the public didn’t know what to do with him. Bryer argues that much “like parents who experience great ambivalence watching their children grow up, some critics regretted Fitzgerald’s loss of previous naïveté and innocence, while others applauded the very same change” (Critical Reception xviii). This inevitably led to Fitzgerald’s continued disenchantment with the critical community, as he wrote Perkins on 22 May: “I think all the reviews I’ve seen, except two, have been absolutely stupid and lowsy. Some day they’ll eat grass by God! This thing, both the effort and the result have hardened me and I think now that I’m much better than any of the young Americans without exception” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 106).

His letter concludes on an ultimately negative note as he instructs Perkins to “please let me know how many copies sold & whether the sale is now dead” (107). Not even two full months after publication, Fitzgerald was certain his novel would fail, which fuelled continued anxiety toward the profession he had fought so hard to break into. Having produced an initial printing of 20,870 copies in April 1925, Scribner’s would not order a second printing of 3,000 until August of that year, with no further printings until the

1930s (Bibliography 65). Fitzgerald’s total 1925 earnings for The Great Gatsby, excepting the $4,264 advanced to him from 1923–24, would amount to only $1,981.85

(Ledger 58-59). For perspective, his 1925 story “” was sold to The Red


Book Magazine for $3,500, and by the end of the decade Gatsby had only netted the author an additional $613.15.73 Such market tendencies assured Fitzgerald of the critical community’s paradoxical position regarding his fiction output, which stunted his production over the next several years.

Though he would continue to produce magazine fiction throughout the nine-year gap between novels, Fitzgerald’s process in creating what would become Tender Is the

Night (1934) offers a natural segue into the author’s mental and artistic state for the majority of the 1920s and 1930s. Writing Ernest Hemingway on 9 ,

Fitzgerald joked, “Here’s a last flicker of the old cheap pride:—the Post now pay the old whore $4000. a screw. But now its because she’s mastered the 40 positions—in her youth one was enough” (A Life in Letters 169). Referring to his lucrative magazine work,

Fitzgerald’s pessimism regarding his novel writing reached a climax, and he believed his work up to that point “may have taken all I had to say too early, adding that all the time we were living at top speed in the gayest worlds we could find” (169).74 Hemingway’s reply four days later reads as advice and admonishment: “(They never raise the old whore’s price—She may know 850 positions—They cut her price all the same—So either you arent old or not a whore or both) The stories arent whoreing, they’re just bad judgement—you could have and can make enough to live on writing novels. You damned fool. Go on and write the novel” (Selected Letters 307).75 Having recently published A

Farewell to Arms to critical and popular acclaim, Hemingway’s enthusiasm is tempered

73 All calculations were made using Fitzgerald’s estimated totals in his ledger.

74 Fitzgerald published eight short stories in 1929 (four of which earned him $4000 per story), netting him $27,000 after commission. All of his published books combined (including Gatsby) netted the author $31.77 that same year (Ledger 65).

75 EH to FSF, 13 September 1929. 140

by his own success, but Fitzgerald’s anxiety over his authority and position as a “serious novelist” puts his legacy in jeopardy. His three prefaces of the decade – two unpublished and one published – present the culmination of Fitzgerald’s authorial anxiety and showcase the exact opposite of the youthful and naïve author of This Side of Paradise.

Each piece represents the fraying threads of the author’s career, with his authority hollowed out in the face of critical and popular uncertainty. With legacy squarely on his mind, Fitzgerald ruminates on what he had lost. The first, an unpublished “preface” for

Tender Is the Night, offers an exercise in composition and authorial positioning, with the publishing potential of the piece far from certain in draft form. The second, an introduction for the 1934 Modern Library edition of The Great Gatsby, provides a cogent, insightful, and ultimately sad window into an author only fourteen years into his professional career. Finally, an unpublished three-sentence foreword to Taps at Reveille

(1935) subtly reminds readers of the author’s goal: to imaginatively create fiction out of his own material and unique perspective, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The first two pieces serve as defense and justification of his fictional output and authorial career, while the third represents the apology Fitzgerald initially intended for his collection before cutting it pre-publication. With our knowledge of his Gatsby composition period, and his history of shedding influences and literary traditions in favor of others, Fitzgerald’s decline in the 1930s is ably traced not only through public documents – such as “The Crack Up” essays written for Esquire between 1934 and 1936

– but also through his published and unpublished prefaces which aimed to defend, justify, and ultimately apologize for his artistic material.


Fitzgerald’s unpublished preface to Tender Is the Night represents an excellent example in authorial probing, as he began the piece with earnestness and ended in disarray. Because it was never published, and the copy I use for this study comes from a facsimiled copy in Bruccoli’s Reader’s Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the

Night, the piece’s function proves murky at best.76 Funny, serious, angry, professional, and chaotic, the preface serves more biographical functions than textual ones; however, if read as part of the complicated process that the composition of Tender Is the Night became, the preface provides a fascinating contrast in authorship – both public and private – as Fitzgerald experienced the difficulty in professionally presenting his personal material. The typescript draft, including multiple handwritten comments, excisions, and additions, filters what Bruccoli called the “intensely—even painfully—personal material”

Tender Is the Night possessed into an early prefatory experiment (The Composition of

Tender Is the Night 17). The novel itself exists in seventeen distinct stages, ranging from manuscripts and typescripts of early material – in which the novel was a study in matricide – to shifts in perspective and point-of-view – from “Melarky” to “Kelly” to

“Diver.” The plan for what would become Tender Is the Night did not appear until the seventh stage, in which “Diver Notes” redirected the novel to its current form.77 Once settled on the Diver material, Fitzgerald dealt with structure and planned a three part novel which he described as “a novel of our time showing the break up of a fine personality. Unlike The Beautiful and Damned the break-up will be caused not by

76 After consulting James L.W. West III, the location of the preface is not certain, as he did not include the piece in the Cambridge edition to TITN.

77 Bruccoli laid out the stages of development in The Composition of Tender Is the Night (U of P, 1963); West confirms the stages in the Cambridge edition of TITN (Cambridge, 2012).


flabbiness but really tragic forces such as the inner conflicts of the idealist and the compromises forced upon him by circumstances” (“General Plan” 5; rpt. in Reader’s

Companion 10). 78 Begun in the summer of 1932, this new novel drew heavily on Zelda’s second mental breakdown79 and Fitzgerald’s own personal turmoil, though the novel was not entirely biographical. Bruccoli figures that in “curing” Nicole Diver of her illness in fiction, and thereby ruining her husband’s career, “Fitzgerald may have been trying to absolve himself of whatever guilt he felt for his wife’s madness—as well as to punish himself for his dissipation” (Some Sort of Epic Grandeur 336). With nine years separating the publication of The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night, Fitzgerald had difficulty characterizing the influences, purpose, and final intention of his material; this plays out in his aborted preface, in which we see a writer fighting with the myriad professional and personal problems that his novel represented. These compromises,

“forced upon him by circumstances,” show how far Fitzgerald had fallen since his enthusiastic drafting of This Side of Paradise.

The preface begins in earnest, as Fitzgerald attempts to seriously preface his new novel. However he complicates the intention by crossing out the first half of the typescript, which features the more serious prefatory offering. Originally headed

“General Notes” and subtitled “A Preface,” two paragraphs open the document, followed by four short notes. It then resumes with suggestions for acknowledgments, dedications, and influences, split into three paragraph-sized portions. Since Fitzgerald did not type – he gave his handwritten holograph manuscripts to typists – a question arises concerning his personal draft. If this were the copying of a typist, he had to handwrite the strange,

78 Originally titled The Drunkard’s Holiday.

79 12 February 1932. 143

almost stream-of-consciousness preface/miscellany and then request it be typed. Such a request leads one to wonder whether or not he intended to include this piece in some form with the final version of Tender Is the Night. If so, then the work-in-progress preface could serve as a first draft of a hoped-for preface he would never write; in that case we cannot take this piece entirely on its merits – as we can with his Modern Library introduction to The Great Gatsby or the table of contents to Tales of the Jazz Age – but we can use the piece as a tool by which a writer fights with his authorial function in composition. In this way his first paragraph operates on a fine line between writerly and authorial functions. Fitzgerald first attempts to characterize his relative inactivity in the novel market since Gatsby:80

This is the first novel I ^the writer^ have published in nine years. Since

then there has scarcely a week when someone ^party^ didn’t ask me the

state of its progress and the probable time of its publication. For awhile I

told what I believed to be the truth ‘this fall,’ ‘next spring,’ ‘next year.’

Then growing weary I lied and lied, announced that I had given it up or

that it was now a million words long and would eventually be published in

five volumes. Since a lot ^some^ of those inquiries were inspired by

interest instead of mere curiosity I append a word of explanation. (“A


The first paragraph provides a representative snapshot of the composition process that

Fitzgerald undertook in creating his novel. Switching “I” to “the writer” separates personae and reminds readers of his work ethic, as he implies that publication is the result of hard writing. He then offers an account of the problematic publication schedule of his

80 For analytic purposes, I transcribe the preface with Fitzgerald’s handwritten corrections included. 144

novel, which was an ongoing process begun in 1926. Though his “someone” (changed to some “party”) is undoubtedly Perkins, Fitzgerald notes the difficulty in expressing his own schedule. For instance, Perkins wrote him on 13 November 1928: “I wish it might be possible to get this book out this spring, if only because it promises so much that it makes me impatient to see it completed” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 15). Perkins’s impatience – though he was incredibly patient with his author during composition – was usually answered with Fitzgerald’s assurances. He wrote Perkins on 1 March 1929, “A thousand thanks for your patience—just trust me a few months longer, Max –” (154), a typical response from author to editor.

His segue into an “explanation” of his composition and publishing progress rests on a level of interest surrounding his work. In replacing “a lot” with “some,” Fitzgerald notes his lack of public interest, now replaced with curiosity from a public rather than sincere literary concern. Subsequently, Fitzgerald discussed with Perkins his chances with the Literary Guild or Book of the Month Club, inquired about serializing his novel in Scribners Magazine, and finally remarked that “the serial will serve the purpose of bringing my book to the memory and attention of my old public and of getting straight financially with you. On the other hand it is to both our advantages to capitalize if possible such facts as that the editors of those book leagues might take a fancy to such a curious idea that the author, Fitzgerald, actually wrote a book after all these years” (Dear

Scott/Dear Max 181). 81 He was well aware of his lapse in novel publication, and if he were to get back in the game he wanted to make as big a mark as possible. Distribution through book club venues and serialization remained squarely on Fitzgerald’s mind for

81 FSF to MP, 25 September 1933. In the letter he also assured Perkins that he would finish the novel and “appear in person carrying the manuscript and wearing a spiked helmet” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 181). 145

most of his career, and making the distinction between a curious public and an interested public in this preface shows his concern. But his explanation for the absence is cut short in process. Beginning with a timetable and recollection, he explains that “when I finished my last novel at the end of 1924 I felt pretty empty, nothing much to say, nothing long to say, but after a little more than a year I had formulated a new idea and during 1926 I began work on it very slowly indeed. I picked it up and I dropped it” (“A Preface”). From here he lists four possible sections for the remainder of his preface, including “etc. country squire, leisure class squire, instead of”; “new start at 37 new generation under

25”; “Hem known in ”; “Over 40,000 words” (“A Preface”). All seem valuable to

Fitzgerald’s development. In the span of several years he had helped discover Ernest

Hemingway and bring him to Scribner’s while enduring continued difficulty in transitioning from Jazz Age oracle to serious writer. His reference to a “new start at 37” puts the writing of this preface sometime around 1933, near the end of composition, and represents his desire to remake a name for his serious fiction. These fit the prefatory model since all topics are germane to a novelist’s disappearance from the long form fiction scene for eight years, yet from here his preface takes a strange turn, resulting in a miscellany of acknowledgements, dedications, and musings.

Why he chose to cut short his sincere preface is unknown, though reading the remainder of the corrected typescript shows an author beset with personal and professional difficulties. He acknowledges a laundry list of figures as references, including Hemingway, , , , John J. Pershing and even himself. He includes a reason for each referent: Hemingway – “”;

Earhart – “air currents”; Pershing – “military science”; himself – “my own early works


for necking and ^or^ petting” (“A Preface”). He acknowledges “Mr. Charles Scribner for the use of a pencil sharpener” before listing more irrational dedicatees: “Proofs Hem, corrections Joyce Shaw [space] Stravinski scoring of certain passages. To Picasso for etching, Brancusi for wood pulp, Stalin U.S.S.R. [space] Stenography” (“A Preface”).

Rather lighthearted, his referents are featured in a similar vein as in his This Side of

Paradise preface, as each allegedly assists in the creation of his work. A handwritten correction cites them as “willing collaborators” in his work, which is fitting considering

Fitzgerald’s penchant for citing influence. However, his final turn makes somber a fairly incoherent draft as he begins to make public his private issues: “Last and least to my wife

^for faithfully and uncomplainingly typing the entire ms.^, daughter, aunts who put at my disposal letters, wills, portraits, photographs, documents, stamp books, post card collections, laundry marks, cigar bands, report cards, diplomas, pardons, trials, convictions, accusations, leases and unpaid bills, stamp collections and Confederate money” (“A Preface”). Reading like a list of weights hanging from his shoulders,

Fitzgerald’s dedicatees are victims of the reality of creating a novel from personal material. In this draft holds him back with the realities of being a husband, father, and family member. The cold acknowledgement of Zelda82 – “last and least” – permeates to the deepest level of resentment, agony, and rage.83 At this point the preface is not publishable, yet Fitzgerald continues his experiment by coming full circle.

If these encumbrances hindered his novel, he questions whether or not starting over is worth the trouble: “The idea if I’m going to begin all over again at 37” (“A

82 She had published her own semi-autobiographical account of her marriage to Scott, , in 1932.

83 Coincidentally, these emotions are prevalent in Fitzgerald’s portrayal of Dick Diver in Tender Is the Night. 147

Preface”). This is an impossibility, something he had come to realize while writing this very preface. His goal at the beginning of the piece, to hopefully grant himself “a new start at 37,” resurfaces at the end, with the two contexts all but unrecognizable. His final line tolls his frustrations, as he concludes “the book is without an index” before placing an “x” at the bottom right of the typescript (“A Preface”). Such a book could not be properly prefaced because Fitzgerald had too many degrees of influence working within him. If This Side of Paradise had been “A Romance and A Reading List,” Tender Is the

Night – which Fitzgerald subtitled “A Romance” – broke through just reading influences and fleshed out the entirety of the author’s personal and professional anxieties during composition. In his notebooks Fitzgerald commented that “there never was a good biography of a good novelist. There couldn’t be. He is too many people if he is any good”

(159). Perhaps the same can be said for Tender Is the Night, a book too difficult to characterize in the space of one preface; the novel ran without one when published in


In league with his work on Tender Is the Night was Fitzgerald’s desire to reissue

The Great Gatsby by the early thirties. Fitzgerald had wanted The Great Gatsby reintroduced to the public by 30 April 1932, when he wrote Perkins: “Since Gatsby was not placed with Grosset or Burt I’d like to have it in the Modern Library. This is my own idea & have had no approach but imagine I can negotiate it” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 174).

His concern over legacy was nothing new, as he would continue to press Perkins and

Scribner’s for a collected edition of his works for the remainder of his career. Concerning his novel, he pressed Perkins further:


Gatsby is constantly mentioned among memorable books but the man who

asks for it in a store on the basis of such mention does not ask twice.

Booksellers do not keep such an item in stock & there is a whole new

generation who cannot obtain it. This has been on my mind for two years

and I must insist that you give me an answer that doesn’t keep me awake

night wondering why it possibly benefited the Scribner’s to have me

represented in such an impersonal short story collection as that of The

Modern Library by a weak story. (175)

The Modern Library had released Great Modern Short Stories, edited by Grant Overton, two years prior, which included Fitzgerald’s “At Your Age,” a Post story which netted the author $4,000 in 1929 (Ledger 65). Regardless of profit, Mangum considers “At Your

Age” one of the “weakest, most sentimental stories in the canon” (95), and Fitzgerald was not pleased with its inclusion in a supposedly “great” short story collection. His anxiety, that readers would read the book if only it were made available, spills over into his eventual introduction for the Modern Library, where he would express dismay over both critical and popular trends in the literary marketplace.

Perkins responded three days later and agreed with the author’s desire to reissue

Gatsby with the Modern Library, but he informed Fitzgerald of Bennett Cerf’s offer “to wait until another novel had been published, or another book of some kind, which would bring you forward again” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 175). Fitzgerald responded respectfully, but with a marked personal pessimism: “Thanks about the Modern Library. I don’t know exactly what I shall do. Five years have rolled away from me and I can’t decide exactly


who I am, if anyone” (177).84 Starkly melodramatic, his emotional response to authorial identity echoes the frustrations wrought in his preface to Tender, though here he considers identity a choice, something he can decide upon rather than endure. For instance, Fitzgerald suggested the following advertising blurb for Tender to Perkins:

How is this for an advertising approach: ‘For several years the impression

has prevailed that Scott Fitzgerald had abandoned the writing of novels

and in the future would continue to write popular short stories. His

publishers knew different and they are very glad now to be able to present

a book which is in line with his three other highly esteemed and highly

successful novels, thus demonstrating that Scott Fitzgerald is anything but

through as a serious novelist.’ (187)85

He intended to resurrect his role as serious novelist through the release of Tender, buoyed by the reissue of Gatsby a few weeks after. When both were published Tender received mixed reviews and Gatsby included a caustic and sad introduction which lamented its author’s status in American letters.

According to Bruccoli, “the published introduction, written after the bitterly disappointing reception of Tender Is the Night, provides Fitzgerald’s response to the critics of both novels, without mentioning the later one” (“Appendix 7” 222). Indeed, this introduction says more about the critical derision thrust upon Tender Is the Night than trying to situate The Great Gatsby for a new readership. In fact Fitzgerald had written Perkins prior to the publication of Tender Is the Night and admitted:

84 14 May 1932. The majority of the letter concerns his wife’s new novel, Save Me the Waltz, and how he wants Perkins to handle communication with her regarding its acceptance.

85 20 October 1933. 150

I have lived so long within the circle of this book and with these characters

that often it seems to me that the real world does not exist but that only

these characters exist, and, however pretentious that remark sounds (and

my God, that I should have to be pretentious about my work), it is an

absolute fact – so much so that their glees and woes are just exactly as

important to me as what happens in life. (Dear Scott/Dear Max 194)86

Since Fitzgerald was unable to divorce himself from the influence of Tender, his introduction to Gatsby drips with negativity, lamentation, and overt cynicism regarding the profession – Fitzgerald refers to contemporary critics as “jackals,” “cowards,” and

“dinosaurean” – yet it also shows remarkable balance, as he advises young writers on that same profession. First, he chooses to write about critics, even though writing an introduction “offers many facets of temptation” (Introduction to The Great Gatsby 222).

He feels the writers of his time “were spoiled in that regard, living in generous days when there was plenty of space on the page for endless ratiocination about fiction—a space largely created by Mencken because of his disgust for what passed as criticism before he arrived and made his public” (222-23). Unlike his earlier dismissal of Mencken, here he laments the critic’s withdrawal and praises “his bravery and his tremendous and profound love of letters” (223). Post-Mencken, Fitzgerald declares that “if the present writer had seriously to attend to some efforts of political diehards to tell him the values of a métier he has practised since boyhood—well then, babies, you can take this number out and shoot him at dawn” (223). An overt response to the criticism heaped on The Great Gatsby and a covert response to reviews of Tender Is the Night, Fitzgerald’s charge of being misunderstood – which can be traced back to the reception of The Beautiful and Damned

86 4 March 1934. 151

– gets a public face, for he sees this practice as cowardice on the part of critics. Even thought it includes literary advice, this introduction paints a much different picture than his previous prefaces.

Just as the unpublished preface to This Side of Paradise presented a new writer on the verge of success – and critically able to recognize his own potential within the profession – the introduction to The Great Gatsby gives us an author in defense of the profession he so rightfully fought to enter. Fitzgerald dually wants to hold up the profession while calling for a faction of it to be revised, or even terminated. Early on

Fitzgerald indentifies,

a healthy cynicism toward contemporary reviews. Without undue vanity

one can permit oneself a suit of chain mail in my profession. Your pride is

all you have, and if you let it be tampered with by a man who has a dozen

prides to tamper with before lunch, you are promising yourself a lot of

disappointments that a hard-boiled professional has learned to spare

himself. (223)

With this fascinating answer to his earlier representation regarding the rejection and editing of This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald advises against taking seriously all that critics have to say about a given work, though he is obviously damaged. Fitzgerald knew his role within the business of literature at this point. No less than five weeks after the publication of Tender, Fitzgerald was urging Perkins to produce a “big omnibus” of stories and a collection of articles, essays and miscellany (Dear Scott/Dear Max 196-97).

By 1938 he was pressing further when he asked for a possible omnibus collection, including stories, essays, and letters, as well as a reissue of This Side of Paradise to a


generation that Fitzgerald said had grown up without.87 Further yet, Fitzgerald envisioned a complete “Collected Works” similar to Henry James’s New York edition, going so far as to outline his intentions for the proposed collection. He implored Perkins:

“unless you make some gesture of confidence I see my reputation dieing on its feet from lack of nourishment” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 251). He worried about legacy, as well as finances, and losing control of his authorship – something he confidently wielded in his earliest prefaces – posed a serious threat to his profession.

His Gatsby preface signals these issues and hearkens back to an earlier exchange with Perkins over author Thomas Boyd, an early protégé of Fitzgerald’s at Scribner’s.88

After a falling out between the two authors, Fitzgerald wrote Perkins regarding Boyd’s newest book, Samuel Drummond.89 Fitzgerald lampooned the current trend of writing novels about “the simple inarticulate farmer and his hired man” (Dear Scott/Dear Max

110), and traced the trend from 1855 to 1926, the year Boyd published Drummond. He points out the unoriginality of Boyd’s output and likens the book to “dressing up a few heart throbs in overalls” (111). Still stinging from the relative indifference Gatsby had received, his letter to Perkins is echoed in his Modern Library introduction. Using his novel as an example, Fitzgerald explains: “because the pages weren’t loaded with big names of big things and the subject not concerned with farmers (who were the heroes of the moment), there was easy judgment exercised that had nothing to do with criticism but was simply an attempt on the part of men who had few chances of self-expression to

87 FSF to MP, 24 December 1938: “Since the going-out-of-print of ‘Paradise’ and the success (or is it one?) of the ‘Fifth Column’ I have come to feel somewhat neglected. Isn’t my reputation being allowed to let slip away? I mean what’s left of it” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 250).

88 Author of Through the Wheat (1924).

89 1 June 1925. 153

express themselves” (Introduction to The Great Gatsby 223). Blaming the critical reception of Gatsby on both cowardly and self-ingratiating critics leads Fitzgerald to a passionate defense of his work.

He insists that “never before did one try to keep his artistic conscience as pure as during the ten months put into doing it” and that the craft was the driving force rather than contemporary literary fads (224). He was attempting, in his words, “honesty of imagination” (224) akin to Conrad in his preface to The Nigger of the “Narcissus.” After citing Conrad, Fitzgerald laments: “I had recently been kidded half haywire by critics who felt that my material was such as to preclude all dealing with mature persons in a mature world. But, my God! it was my material, and it was all I had to deal with” (224).

Fitzgerald had lost some of his authorial light after publishing Tender Is the Night at the outset of the Great Depression, since his novel was concerned with affluent on the Riviera and failed to secure a consistent readership. Already pegged by certain critics as a past-chronicler of the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald holds on and defends what he knew he had the right to defend: his material. Bruccoli notes that Fitzgerald’s lament is a “defense of his career—of every writer’s career” (“Appendix 7” 222), and realizing the possibility of disappearance to which Fitzgerald espoused later on only amplifies the message in his introduction. It is this apologia that Andrew Myers considers central to the “disjointed” self-defense, likening Fitzgerald to a parent of a “Prohibition Age brainchild” still considered “a literary waif” (36). If his mission was to save Tender in some way, this introduction isolates his work as critically misunderstood or mistreated, a stance readers were not apt to reflect upon. Though Fitzgerald wanted to rewrite the introduction, he


was never given the chance, and the $50 paid him by Bennett Cerf was now represented in an introduction to a reprint that would not sell.

Interestingly, though wrought with cynicism, the advisory function this piece controls the remainder of the introduction. Immediately following his authorial lament

Fitzgerald advises: “If there is a clear conscience, a book can survive—at least in one’s feelings about it. On the contrary, if one has a guilty conscience, one reads what one wants to hear out of reviews. In addition, if one is young and willing to learn, almost all reviews have a value, even the ones that seem unfair” (Introduction to The Great Gatsby

224). Fitzgerald creates a formidable ethos and derives authority not only from his material but also from his role as author within the business of literature. He deftly decides that to return from the abyss one must be willing to critique that abyss and move forward. Perhaps that is his intention here, for he finishes his introduction with an odd collection of authorial revelations presumably wrought by himself and others. One in particular stands out, as he decries: “‘If one chooses to find that face again in the non- refracting surface of a washbowl, if one chooses to make the image more obscure with a little sweat, it should be the business of the critics to recognize the intention’” (225).

Choice, intention, and skill trump misreading, and critics should recognize talent and precision regardless of social circumstance. This leads to his apt conclusion: “But remember, also, young man: you are not the first person who has ever been alone and alone” (225). Fitzgerald offers a final piece of advice to young writers, maybe even to himself. If this Fitzgerald had been able to advise the writer of This Side of Paradise where could the author’s role have shifted? Could he have maneuvered contemporary critics more adroitly, and could he have been able to recognize the steady decline of his


career? Nowhere else is Fitzgerald more broken than in those final lines – “But remember, also, young man: you are not the first person who has ever been alone and alone” – and along with his earlier lament this introduction bears the mark of a writer besieged by the anxiety of authorship, a business taking its toll on one of its own. It seems fitting that Fitzgerald found his preface flippant upon review and asked Bennett

Cerf for permission to revise for subsequent editions.90 In somewhat tragic irony the

Modern Library edition of The Great Gatsby would not sell its 6,000 copies, and

Fitzgerald never got the chance to revise his introduction. This preface stands as another example of the difficult realities behind Fitzgerald’s steady decline.

Bruccoli notes that while writing Tender Is the Night, “Fitzgerald was competing with his own reputation” (Some Sort of Epic Grandeur 364), and that competition continued well into the thirties. After the poor sales of the Modern Library Gatsby and the mediocre reception of Tender Is the Night, Fitzgerald continued to justify his work to others. He wrote H.L. Mencken on 23 April 1934 and rehearsed what he would include in his Modern Library preface some months later:

…the motif of the ‘dying fall’ was absolutely deliberate and did not come

from any diminuition of vitality, but from a definite plan. That particular

trick is one Ernest Hemmingway and I worked out—probably from

Conrad’s preface to ‘The Nigger’—and it has been the greatest ‘credo’ in

my life, ever since I decided that I would rather be an artist than a

careerist. I would rather impress my image (even though an image the size

of a nickel) upon the soul of a people than be known, except in so far as I

90 See Andrew Myers’s article, “ ‘I Am Used to Being Dunned’: F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Modern Library.” 156

have my natural obligation to my family—to provide for them. (A Life in

Letters 256)

The obvious divide between the artistic intuition and the familial obligation of providing splits Fitzgerald in two. While Hemingway referred to himself as a “careerist” in correspondence with Perkins, Fitzgerald denounced his careerism to the critic who helped make that career possible.91 As William Charvat makes clear, “when a literary artist is also a professional writer, he cannot solve the problems of the one function without reference to the other” (3), and Fitzgerald’s struggle with those dual functions proves the palpable nature of his anxiety.

This continued into November 1934, when Fitzgerald assembled stories for his final short story collection. As usual, the author spent time worrying about format and publishing issues, mainly the jacket and his story layout. Fitzgerald apologized to Perkins on 20 November: “excuse me for being so finicky but in the pressure of doing many things at once I am slipping into the old psychology that if I don’t do it myself it will be all wrong—a fault that you, young man, are inclined to share with me. This Lee biography is shooting me in that direction. Again and again his weakness in trusting others, when he carried only the main scheme in his head, is emphasized” (Dear

Scott/Dear Max 212). Fitzgerald makes clear his authoritative expectations in the face of continued critical and popular uncertainty by referencing Douglas Southall Freeman’s biography of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Once a jacket was produced, Fitzgerald lamented: “I don’t know who Miss Doris Spiegal is but it’s rather discouraging to spend

91 EH to MP: 30 April 1934: “But I am a careerist, as you can read in the papers, and my idea of a career is to never write a phony line, never fake, never cheat, never be sucked in by the y.m.c.a. moment” (Only Thing 208).


many hours trying to make the creatures in a book charming and then have someone who can’t draw as well as Scottie cover five square inches with daubs that make them look like morons” (217).92 Not unlike his reaction to several jackets during production,

Fitzgerald’s concern with minutia mimics his attention to his earlier Tales of the Jazz

Age. Story collections just didn’t sell, even if Perkins assured his author on 26 November,

“Honestly, Scott, I think you are going to have a fine book of stories, and it is going to look well, and you may be fooled on the way it sells” (213). Though Bruccoli notes the balance and strength of the collection – and “” may be the author’s finest short story – Fitzgerald was ultimately unhappy with the final look of the book.

What became Taps at Reveille failed to sell out its first and only printing of 5,100 copies, and reviewers forgot or dismissed the author as a bygone character of American literature’s past (Bryer, The Critical Reception xxiii).

A fitting conclusion to Fitzgerald’s prefatory work lies in the pre-publication state of Taps at Reveille, a collection Fitzgerald and Perkins believed in and were once again disappointed by. Though attempting to evolve out of his initial authorial mode,

Fitzgerald’s foray into a medieval novel (and stories) bore little fruit, and he would fail to publish another book after Taps at Reveille. He kept on Perkins to establish omnibus collections and pressed Bennett Cerf to reissue Tender through the Modern Library. He wrote Cerf on 23 July 1936: “I would like to have another book on your list, not from vanity, (take a bow, Mr. Cerf) but simply because I think that two books would be stronger than one in building a permanent interest among those whose destiny leads them to accept my observations as part of their cosmology” (Letters 537). Fitzgerald recognized his artistic position as one caught between expectation and intention since the

92 FSF to MP: 9 March 1935. 158

two personae which had governed his authority eventually hollowed out completely.

Though he would write a series of “Crack Up” essays for Esquire in the mid-thirties, the real tolling bell of authorial anxiety can be found in his unpublished foreword to Taps at

Reveille. With little to no public left for his novels, Fitzgerald subtly apologizes for the material in his collection and dually justifies the art and work put into such material. Only three sentences long, Fitzgerald writes:

Before the last of these stories were written the world that they represented

passed. In consequence the reviewer may be tempted to apply the title

harshly to the fate of the collection. Yet almost all these stories, the

winnowing of fifty odd, meant a great deal to the author at the time of

writing: all of them tried for an arduous precision in trying to catch one

character or one emotion or one adventure—which is all that one can do in

the length of a short story. (“Author’s Foreword” 402)

Defensive, honest, pensive, and filled with critical anxiety, Fitzgerald relays to readers how much the material meant to him (akin to his declaration in the preface to Gatsby) and how his genre choice limited his ability to completely fulfill readers’ expectations.93

Rather than loudly proclaim the singular importance of his material, Fitzgerald quietly reminds readers of a writer’s obligation to his art, material, and intuition. Fitzgerald once wrote Perkins that he, Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe attempted to “recapture the exact feel of a moment in time and space exemplified by people rather than by things—that is, an attempt at what Wordsworth was trying to do rather than what Keats did with such magnificent ease, an attempt at a mature memory of a deep experience” (Dear Scott/Dear

93 Short stories made Fitzgerald money, whereas novels failed to earn him adequate income. This is prevalent throughout his career. See Fitzgerald’s Ledger.


Max 203-04).94 This intention is mirrored in his foreword, as each story catches characters, moments, and adventures. These stories meant something to Fitzgerald, and his attention to reviewers in the second sentence shows how far he had succumbed to the anxiety of his profession. The foreword to Taps at Reveille is Fitzgerald’s attempt at “a mature memory of deep experience,” and he wanted his readers to understand that maturity. Though Fitzgerald apologizes for the material, his dedication to precision, character, and depth rings true for all of his fiction.

Unfortunately he determined that this heartfelt reminder of memory and maturity could not help sell a $2.50 book in the middle of the Great Depression. Though the foreword survived all the way through second galleys, Fitzgerald asked Perkins to

suppress the forward to ‘Taps at Reveille.’ Zelda didn’t much like it and

her taste is usually good in such things and it doesn’t read well to me. It

has a kind of snappy-snooty sound which I intruded into the preface of

Cerf’s publication of ‘The Great Gatsby.’ If you can, without undue

fermentation, arrange this, I think the fortunes of the book will be

furthered. (Correspondence 396)95

Fitzgerald’s foreword provides a cogent definition of short stories as small vessels filled with singular moments. By diluting the genre down to its simplest particles, Fitzgerald returns to his youth and asks readers to remember when things were good, when things were better. This foreword may not have been published with the collection, but in it

Fitzgerald comments on craftsmanship, effort, and ingenuity, all integral components

94 30 July 1934.

95 26 December 1934.


crucial to understanding his work. Perkins had suggested that he “could write a short preface which would explain that all the stories dealt with this period. I doubt if this would be right, but I thought I might speak of it” (Letter to Fitzgerald 19 June 1934). Few authors understood the twenties as well as Fitzgerald, and Perkins felt that This Side of

Paradise, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night had “the intrinsic qualities of permanence, represent[ing] three distinct periods.-And nobody has written about any of these periods as well” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 243).96 A stirring testament to Fitzgerald’s authorship, the foreword to Taps at Reveille grants us access to the writer attempting to set his record straight.

Once published, Taps at Reveille failed to meet critical or commercial expectations. Fitzgerald would move to Hollywood and begin script-writing, where eventually he began his Hollywood novel and felt an artistic resurgence.97 He informed

Kenneth Littauer of Collier’s that “I would either be a miracle man or a hack if I could go on turning out an identical product for three decades. I know that is what’s expected of me, but in that direction the well is pretty dry and I think I am much wiser in not trying to strain for it but rather to open up a new well, a new vein” (A Life in Letters 402).98 He similarly wrote Zelda on 6 December 1940 that “everything is my novel now—it has become of absorbing interest” (474). He then wrote Perkins one week later: “this is the first day off I have taken for many months and I just wanted to tell you the book is coming along and that comparatively speaking all is well” (Dear Scott/Dear Max 268).

Ever the student of authorship, Fitzgerald concludes his letter “P.S. How much will you

96 MP to FSF, 9 March 1938.

97 Published posthumously as The Last Tycoon (Scribner’s, 1941).

98 Bruccoli guesses that the letter was written in July 1939. 161

sell the plates of ‘This Side of Paradise’ for? I think it has a chance for a new life” (268).

Still set on seeing his first novel back in print, Fitzgerald showed optimism late in life regarding his early work. His letter to Littauer presents an author incredibly knowledgeable about his market, his authority, and his purpose in the business of literature. Three years prior, in “Early Success” written for Esquire, Fitzgerald remarked on his past self: “and there are still times when I creep up on him, surprise him on an autumn morning in New York or a spring night in Carolina. […] But never again as during that all too short period when he and I were the one person, when the fulfilled future and the wistful past were mingled in a single gorgeous moment—when life was literally a dream” (The Crack-Up 90). Willing to give that dream another chance,

Fitzgerald’s request regarding the plates fits his endeavor to give the wistful past its fulfilled future. His death two weeks later puts a somber conclusion on an otherwise optimistic period for Fitzgerald, whose material was again promising.

Therefore, the apology and justification of his foreword to Taps as Reveille may have suited this resurrection in artistic energy and primed a reader to engage with the newly refreshed F. Scott Fitzgerald – “serious novelist” – rather than the unfulfilled Scott

Fitzgerald – “Jazz Age oracle.” His prefaces, both published and unpublished, consistently show a writer struggling with the public persona of an author and shifting his authorship in order to appease both public and critic. Though he never truly melded the two states, his prefaces trace an authorial anxiety brought on by the compromised position any writer experiences when faced with the realities of the literary marketplace.

Such anxiety only amplifies his textual output and reinforces to readers that a writer’s material is equal parts private and public, and that he was equal parts writer and author.


F. Scott Fitzgerald’s prefaces amplify his authorial cosmology and ground his fiction in craft, depth, and memory.



My Word Yes a Most Pleasant Business: Ernest Hemingway and the Functions of


I: Breaking Forelegs: Exploring the Prefatory Space

It is all skinning dead horses to me. –Ernest Hemingway1

The initial difficulty in defining Ernest Hemingway’s authority is the myriad guises that authority took throughout his career. Forcing him into a specific mode of authorship does a significant discredit to his writing career, as well as literary legacy.

Hemingway’s centrality in this study stems from two very important aspects of his career: one, no other author in this study was as universally popular during their lifetime as Ernest Hemingway, nor were they as financially rewarded; two, Hemingway spent as much time writing prefaces, advertisements, and public letters for others as he did for himself. In short, Hemingway’s work – both critically and popularly – exists in concert with his vast public authority. More so than most writers of his time, Hemingway showed remarkable public staying power, both with his fiction and his persona. Unlike Fitzgerald, who buckled under the pressure of the literary marketplace, or Lardner, who did not need to serve it for financial security, Hemingway consistently promoted a specific authority of strength, regularly commented on the business of literature itself, and took aim at literary critics when necessary. These motifs run through nearly every public piece he

1 EH to MP: 3 September 1930: Hemingway refers to notions of libel and slander regarding certain stories in the Scribner’s edition of In Our Time (Only Thing 147). 164

ever wrote, but the most salient laboratories for the themes listed above were his combative prefaces. Though he frequently railed against the use of prefaces in his own work and the work of others, he chose to use them in an economic and functional way.

Hemingway understood the difference between writing and public authorship, and his prefaces allow for a close analysis of that authorship over time.

Several pieces elucidate Hemingway’s many authorial positions. Beginning with his unpublished foreword to “The Lost Generation / A Novel” (The Sun Also Rises) and the excised “Author’s Preface” to The Torrent of Spring, Hemingway asserted his literary careerism. Concerned early on with the structure and style of his work, a concern he would continue to hone for the remainder of his career, Hemingway showed dedication to craft at the earliest stages of authorship by cutting both pieces prior to publication.

Though he was far from a success while drafting what would become The Sun Also Rises,

Hemingway’s earliest prefaces speak to his initiation into the literary game – to steal from Lardner – in which he crafted and omitted in order to seek clarity of purpose.2

Nevertheless, the context mined from these early materials assists in evaluating

Hemingway’s prefaces as his career gained traction. Reading prefaces as authorial performances echoes Debra A. Moddelmog’s assertion that “in sum, mapping the historical field of meaning and the shape-shifting of an author engages us in unending textual activity” (39), whereby Hemingway can be treated as more than the hyper- masculine trope of various cultural depictions. These spaces provide ample textual and authorial examples by which the author can be constructed and analyzed, for Hemingway had a combative relationship – and created a combative pose – with prefaces from the

2 Hemingway wrote a cryptic epigraph in the form of a dialogue for in our time (Three Mountains Press, 1924). Though not a preface, his experiment with epigraphs would resurface while drafting The Sun Also Rises. 165

outset. Just as he strove to create an authority over his eventual public persona, he also continued to textually determine that authority in various prefaces.

Interestingly, this examination begins with two false starts. Since neither the foreword to “The Lost Generation / A Novel” nor the “Author’s Preface” to The Torrents of Spring were published with their intended fictional antecedents, it is difficult to infer the textual impact such pieces could have had. Though prefaces such as these remain unpublished, their use and value lies beyond the textual. If considered alongside the entirety of the author’s work, these pieces perform a necessary apprentice function crucial to the understanding of Hemingway’s writing career. As Gerry Brenner notes,

“naturally a writer cannot compete with literary precursors unless he enters their ‘event,’ unless he adapts, adopts, or imitates the modes, genres, or formulas they used. Otherwise there are no grounds for judging the competition” (7). The early materials show this attention to the works of others. They germinated initially in his unpublished forward to

“The Lost Generation / A Novel” but came to a head with his all-out of one-time mentors Sherwood Anderson and (The Torrents of Spring). I read

Hemingway’s two earliest prefaces in order to better understand his willingness to experiment with prefatory form. From his earliest attempts, these pieces show that

Hemingway understood the authorial preface and the traditional standards by which one is produced. The narratives of omission and revision crucial to Hemingway’s aesthetics are amplified, for the author establishes his stylistic integrity in both and, in the case of his foreword to “The Lost Generation,” rehearses an important aspect of his text in order to solidify his clarity of purpose, an essential exercise in composition. Though both pieces were cut, each gain in importance when put beside his experimental “Introduction


by the Author” for In Our Time. His published prefaces were meant to show authorial ingenuity rather than tradition, and many of them promoted a Hemingway unable to write prefaces due to a lack of knowledge regarding their construction.3 Structurally, his two earliest prefaces fit the mold of the traditional authorial preface, but when understood within their historical and creative contexts, both pieces offer an initial window by which

Hemingway’s later prefaces – and literary career – can be explicated and better positioned.

As a first effort, the foreword to “The Lost Generation” offers an incredibly mature authorial and social stance from a writer as young and still unproven as

Hemingway. Frederic J. Svoboda, in his detailed account of the drafting of The Sun Also

Rises, notes the many changes the novel underwent in revision.4 Most significant – aside from Hemingway’s own revision through 1925 – was when F. Scott Fitzgerald read a carbon copy of the final draft “sometime before 5 June [1926]” (Trogdon, Lousy Racket

39); he suggested cutting “a good deal of the novel’s beginning, all the way through the first two chapters that were eventually published” (Svoboda 98). Svoboda considers the cut galleys (available at the JFK Library and reprinted in Svoboda’s study) “very much introductory” for “as yet we are completely within the mind of Jake Barnes and Ernest

Hemingway, still far from the action of the novel” (102). In many ways the first three galleys are a pseudo-introduction for the novel, though they do not offer the same manner of omission for which his published novel would become famous. Jake explains Lady

3 Robert O. Stephens notes that “Hemingway’s approach to preface writing was highly personal and at first glance either ignorant of or indifferent to the several conventions comprising the art of the preface” (Hemingway’s Nonfiction 135).

4 Hemingway & The Sun Also Rises: The Crafting of a Style. Lawrence, KS: U of Kansas P, 1983. Print.


Brett Ashley’s back story, as well as how Mike Campbell and Brett came to be together.

The first chapter begins explicitly: “This is the novel about a lady. Her name is Lady

Ashley and when the story begins she is living in Paris and it is Spring. That should be a good setting for a romantic but highly moral story” (rpt. in Svoboda 131). The stilted introductory nature of this beginning marks the first three galleys as prefatory to what the story would become, a point Svoboda makes clear. 5 Incidentally, recalling the nature of these galleys and Hemingway’s eventual cutting of them leads us to another introductory experiment earlier in the drafting process.

Well before Fitzgerald read the carbon copy, and before editor Max Perkins prepared the galleys for revision and publication, Hemingway wrote a “Foreword” in a notebook dated 27 September 1925 for what he was then titling “The Lost Generation / A

Novel” (Svoboda 106). Hemingway struggled with the title of his work, offering five options (including The Sun Also Rises)6 in the same notebook as his foreword. The level of introductory attention Hemingway gave his work here significantly factors into the genesis of the novel. If Brenner’s notion of competitive authority is true, it certainly manifests here. The initial foreword takes on several thematic and textual roles, as

Hemingway attempts to preface his work with appropriate positioning. His carbon draft becomes an introductory echo of his earlier attempt, as he reworked the foreword into new epigraphs (from Stein and the Biblical Book of ). The foreword marks a crucial moment in Hemingway’s development, as he expands upon another paratextual

5 Later in galley two Hemingway writes, “So my name is Jacob Barnes and I am writing the story” (rpt. in Svoboda 134).

6 Along with “The Sun Also Rises” Hemingway includes: “River to the Sea” [crossed out]; “For in much wisdom is much grief and he that increases knowledge increaseth sorrow”; “Two Lie Together”; and “The Old Leaven” (reprinted in Svoboda 107). All possible titles come directly from the Bible, as Svoboda outlines (108-10).


device (the epigraph) only to cut the expanded material in favor of that device alone. The contraction results in another of Hemingway’s many omissions, the mode his name became synonymous with early on and for the remainder of his career. Aside from compositional importance, the foreword also acts as a competitive response to his many early mentors, including Fitzgerald, Stein, and Anderson, and is eventually condensed into Stein’s (mis)quoted epigraph. Finally, Reynolds refers to “Hemingway, the preacher,” who advises the current generation on a number of cultural, spiritual and social issues and provides a poignant understanding of generational cycles (Hemingway:

The Paris Years 327).7 These three notions – omission, competitive response, and “the preacher” – prove the introductory nature of Hemingway’s early draft significant in the final version of The Sun Also Rises and provide us with his first combative textual relationship.

In many ways the foreword is an expansion of the epigraphs that appear in the final published edition. The first half explicates the situation and episodes by which

Gertrude Stein came up with her now famous line, “You are all a lost generation” (SAR viii), and the second portion details the cyclical qualities inherent in ever-passing generations, as well as the religious connotations of such passage. Svoboda insists that the foreword “seems both to confirm and to falsify the structure of meaning that typifies

The Sun Also Rises” (108), while Reynolds points out the importance “religion and its substitutes” had on Hemingway during his drafting as his relationship with Pauline

Pfeiffer (a Catholic) blossomed (Hemingway: The Paris Years 327). With the structural split, each half is easily recast into stripped down and condensed devices, which results in a remarkable thematic shift. As opposed to telling readers of the “many new salvations

7 A double reference to the preacher in Ecclesiastes. 169

brought forward” (SAR Facsimile Ed. 628) or recounting the many kinds of salvation sought from his generation,8 Hemingway condenses everything into his now famous epigraph from Ecclesiastes:

One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the

earth abideth for ever … The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and

hasteth to his place where he arose … The wind goeth toward the south,

and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the

wind returneth again according to his circuits … All the rivers run into the

sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come,

thither they return again. (SAR viii)9

The double reduction allows Hemingway to display his now signature omission while offering the clearest evocation of theme. What could have been explained with a foreword is now left in an ambiguous state, with neither an explanation nor finality needed; a modern approach, which advocates textual questions, takes precedence.

Interestingly, his foreword over-explains and makes final the cycle of life his novel eventually portended to continue. Hemingway explains his generation’s permanent scarring from the Great War, which resulted in useless men that Stein felt had become

“no good” (SAR Facsimile Ed. 626); he then shifts gears and offers reasons behind the title to his work: “I had thought of calling it Fiesta but did not want to use a foreign word.

Perdu loses a little something by being translated into lost. There is something much

8 He lists five: The , DaDaism [after crossing out Communism], the Movies, Royalism, and finally, the Catholic Church again. See Bruccoli’s The Sun Also Rises: A Facsimile Edition (628).

9 Hemingway cut the epigraph in the fourth printing to its present state, which is quoted above. The first three printings began with verses two and three: “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?” As we can see, Hemingway was always concerned with the opening of his novel. 170

more final about perdu” (627). By questioning his own title and its effectiveness,

Hemingway makes evident the strength his own experience with the language garners. If perdu loses “something” by being translated then its usage is compromised, resulting in a dishonest title. This questioning and self-criticizing populates his manuscript, as Bruccoli notes the “self-consciousness” inherent in the work (“Introduction” SAR Facsimile Ed. vi). From there the criticism results in a somewhat pessimistic outlook on life: “this is about something that is already finished. For whatever is going to happen to the generation of which I am a part has already happened” (SAR Facsimile Ed. 627). The finality does not necessarily echo the author’s concerns by the following year, when he wrote Perkins that “the point of the book to me was that the earth abideth forever— having a great deal of fondness and admiration for the earth and not a hell of a lot for my generation and caring little about Vanities” (Only Thing 51).10 He eventually moves past the pessimism and asserts that the point of the novel lies beyond the inhabitants’ issues and into their positions within a much larger cyclical framework. To this point Svoboda concludes: “in Hemingway’s novel, evil is balanced by good; wisdom is gained, though at the price of vexation; the sea is never filled; life continues; and the sun goes down, but it also rises” (110). In many ways Hemingway had to excise the initial pang of doubt and pessimism surrounding both his generation’s prospects and his own writing career in order to create a stronger and more refined text. Maturity weighed on Hemingway, as he wrote Perkins in the same letter that “there can be the tour de force by a kid like The Red

Badge of Courage – but in general they were pretty well along and they knew a few things – and in time they were learning and going through it they learned how to write by writing” (Only Thing 51). The distillation of learning how to write by writing shows how

10 19 November 1926. 171

far Hemingway thought his methodology would take him. The Sun Also Rises embodied his writing technique’s evolution, as he was willing to remove pieces perhaps unnecessary to the final work, which marked maturity. The foreword, then, becomes an exercise in revision for Hemingway, as he shed the initial foreword (and title) in favor of the next stage in his drafting: The Sun Also Rises.

Therefore, the foreword to “The Lost Generation” provides an early window into the craft, style and intentionality behind Hemingway’s writing. Finding snapshots of authorial shifting prove Moddelmog’s idea of unending textual activity correct, as

Hemingway continued to shape his authorship for the remainder of his career. He would return to his foreword nearly forty years later when writing A Moveable Feast. Much of his foreword is reworked into his chapter on Gertrude Stein (“Une Generation Perdue”), and he commiserates on the passing of the lost generation in a similar tone to his earlier work.11 Hemingway regularly repurposed material for future projects, and his early attempt at defining his generation comes full circle in A Moveable Feast.12 Though cut early on to hone and refine his craft, the piece found new life in a later work when

Hemingway was searching for ways to define and strengthen his legacy. Well before that search, Hemingway toyed with his burgeoning authority while drafting “The Lost

Generation.” The Torrents of Spring, Hemingway’s oft-forgotten satiric composed during Thanksgiving week 1925, separates the composition and publication of

11 Hemingway considers Stein’s classification – “I thought that all generations were lost by something and always had been and always would be” – and eventually decries, “to hell with her lost-generation talk and all the dirty-easy labels” (MF-RE 62).

12 See Hilary K. Justice’s excellent study on Hemingway’s repurposing: The Bones of the Others: Hemingway Texts from the Lost Manuscripts to the Posthumous Novels (Kent State UP, 2006).


the author’s first major novel.13 Written as a satire of Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude

Stein, and others, the novel utilizes several intertextual devices labeled “Author’s Notes” or “Notes to the Reader” throughout. According to Reynolds, Trogdon, and others, the major function of the text may have been to force the severing of Hemingway’s contract with his first publisher, Boni & Liveright, in order to join Scribner’s.14 His contract stipulated that Hemingway would produce three books for Boni & Liveright, though if the house rejected any of the three for publication the author would be free to take his work elsewhere. This has become a source of wide speculation in Hemingway studies.

Though Hemingway insisted that he did not write Torrents for such a purpose and felt that the novel could stand on its own, the circumstances surrounding its inception and publication lead many scholars to question the author’s veracity. 15

Hemingway defended his methods to after submission: “I do not think that anybody with any stuff can be hurt by satire” (Letters Vol. 2 434).16 Though the references to Anderson are too many to count, Hemingway insisted that “this one has the advantage of starting with all the people who have read Black Laughter [1925] to sell to first and when it gets started it will be awfully hard to stop. It does not depend on

Anderson for its appeal, but it has that to start with” (435-36). Hemingway was quite aware of Liveright’s possible reaction, since Anderson was a key success in the Boni &

Liveright house. Whether the intentions of his novel married with the results or not, the

13 See Baker, Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story (159).

14 Reynolds refers to the novel as a “literary foul to force Liveright to break their contract” (Hemingway: The Paris Years 332).

15 The main source of this insistence comes, of course, from the author’s correspondence with his publisher Horace Liveright. Trusting the author’s overtures proves questionable at best.

16 7 December 1925.


work was rejected by Liveright due to its depiction of Anderson’s fiction. He later wrote

F. Scott Fitzgerald: “I have known all along that they [B&L] could not and would not be able to publish it as it makes a bum out of their present ace and best seller Anderson.

Now in 10th printing” (459).17 Once published by Scribner’s it did not sell well, though critics picked up on the author’s wit and comedic styling, as well as his intertextual author’s notes. The same comedy apparent in the satire is also apparent in the unpublished author’s preface, in which Hemingway indirectly outlined his intention to break from Anderson’s influence.

The importance of the preface lies in its omission, similar to the foreword for

“The Lost Generation.” The idea of the novella is completely encapsulated within the preface, as Hemingway briefly outlines the entirety of his satire in one paragraph. He begins with an explanation of how critics felt In Our Time “resembled the excellencies” of Anderson, and how he now wishes to actually write like Anderson (“Author’s Preface”

62). The following cements his feelings towards critics’ connections:

Having just read a novel by Mr. Anderson which was called, I believe,

Dark Laughter and which is, I believe, generally acknowledged to be a

masterpiece and being exceedingly impressed by what these critics had

written I resolved to write henceforth exclusively in the manner of Mr.

Anderson. The careful reader will see that in my attempt to write as Mr.

17 1 January 1926.


Anderson writes I have failed most signally. It is therefore to his

indulgence that I commend myself most diffidently. (62)18

The tone mocking, the sarcasm thick, Hemingway takes his cue from Henry Fielding’s

Joseph Andrews, a satire of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela. The publication of Dark

Laughter gave Anderson continued critical success, and Hemingway recognized the critical community’s penchant for Anderson’s fiction. Furthermore, the work took aim at

Stein with the last chapter, “The Passing of a Great Race and the Making and Marring of

Americans,” a play on Stein’s . With his dual satire, the repetitive and indirect nature of his preface would have ably begun his published work.

The digressions and repetitions – “I believe”; “Mr. Anderson”; slant rhyming

“exceedingly” and “exclusively” as well as “most signally” with “most diffidently” – point to his textual work within the novella. For instance, Hemingway brings in Stein and

Anderson stylistically at the outset of Chapter XIII:

Yogi Johnson walking down the silent street with his arm around the little

Indian’s shoulder. The big Indian walking along beside them. The cold

night. The shuttered houses of . The little Indian, who has lost his

artificial arm. The big Indian, who was also in the war. Yogi Johnson, who

was in the war too. The three of them walking, walking, walking. Where

were they going? Where could they go? What was there left? (TOS 73)

Fragmentary glimpses akin to Stein, followed by the incessant questioning of Anderson, and coupled with the meandering thoughts and actions of thinly-sketched characters, provide the work with an ample satiric quality, something explained in his preface.

18 Hemingway’s combative relationship with critics would be more evident in Green Hills of Africa (1935), in which he explains how critics make good writers “impotent” (GHOA 24). The beginnings of that sentiment are found in this preface. 175

Cutting the piece, then, proves important. It is surprising that Hemingway cut anything from this text, as Reynolds concludes that composition ended “ten days after it was begun, the book was finished: unplanned and unedited, The Torrents of Spring was ready for the typist” (Hemingway: The Paris Years 334). However, Hemingway eventually wrote on the typescript of the preface, “I will probably cut this out” and put a large “x” through the entire text (“Author’s Preface” 62). Why Hemingway cut this piece is unknown. If he was worried that he had gone too far with a preface to his satire, his final text proper shows no such worry. Littered with section epigraphs (from Fielding’s

Joseph Andrews), tongue-in-cheek section titles (Part One: “Red and Black Laughter”

[TOS 1]), overt digressions from author to reader, and easily discernible stylistic machinations of Anderson and Stein mark the work as anything but restrained. Though

Hemingway makes foils of his satiric subjects, he never mentions why or how he is doing it, something his preface would have provided. To get at the truth behind his satire

Hemingway had to trust his readers’ abilities to recognize the style and laugh at the punch lines. Had he given them the punch in a preface, the work may have lost some of its bite. However, a sinister reason for writing and cutting the preface may be more believable. It is possible that Hemingway wrote the preface as part of his submission for

Boni & Liveright, knew it would contribute to the rejection of the novel, and went on to cut it for Charles Scribner’s Sons. As a trigger, the preface certainly puts readers like

Horace Liveright in a difficult position right away. Even so, his choice to cut the preface asserts again his willingness to remove unessential pieces already submerged into other textual components. His two early prefaces highlight a young writer’s understanding of craft along with the revision necessary to make clear authorial intention.


Incidentally, the history of prefaces and The Sun Also Rises did not end with either the omission of the foreword or the composition and publication of The Torrents of

Spring. After finishing Torrents, Hemingway continued with his major novel revision and eventually cut – as explained earlier – the first three galleys at Fitzgerald’s suggestion. Though his star author’s advice had resulted in his rising star author’s revision, Max Perkins never fully agreed with the cut. On 26 August 1926 Hemingway directed Perkins to include as his epigraphs “the quotation from Gertrude Stein which I believe was ‘You are all a lost generation’ ” along with the “quote from Ecclesiastes” before stating conclusively, “I believe that the book is really better starting as it does now directly with Cohn and omitting any preliminary warming up. After all if I’m trying to write books without any extra words I might as well stick to it” (Only Thing 45).

Hemingway had made peace with his composition, allowing any “preliminary warming up” to go by the wayside in favor of his ingenious effect of omission. Though concerned,

Perkins held his reservation until after the publication of the book and wrote Hemingway on 30 October with advertisements and positive early reviews in and

Conrad Aiken of the Herald Tribune (47).

Once commencing with the reviews, Perkins carefully presents his argument by noting “I too, came to the conclusion that you did right in taking out the first chapter and part of the second. They are not written in the method of the book. Almost all that is in them comes out in the story” (47). He explains that by removing his preliminary material

Hemingway’s book “gains by their withdrawal” (47). Perkins was apt to give

Hemingway credit and encourage his confidence throughout their relationship. If he were going to ask for a preface, he would first have to qualify the excellences of an already


published work, which he did. He then gets to the point, for “a good deal of that material must have been written with an idea that your objective method did require – at least in this first novel in which it has been used and so is new, and to many also strange – a sort of preparation” (47). Here Perkins notes the strangeness alongside the newness, a point he uses to buoy the possibility of a preface: “you might gain this effect without impairing the method of the book itself, by making up a foreword or prologue, or whatever it might be called. This could tell some of the things about Brett which were in the first galleys and did not altogether come out in the narrative” (47). Perkins’s concern was reader confusion, since Hemingway’s novel did away with exposition in favor of action, which made Brett’s arrival all the more inventive. Without back story, Hemingway allows his characters to inhabit their own histories rather than explain them for readers. Perkins knew this, though his eye to the future and further critical reception merited his response.

The editor repeatedly asked Ring Lardner for new prefaces and encouraged the inventive

“Table of Contents” to Fitzgerald’s Tales of the Jazz Age. Even so, with The Sun Also

Rises Perkins wanted to get it right, for Hemingway’s success rested on the reception of his first major novel. His worry that readers may have missed important textual information shows his willingness to consistently consider the viability of prefaces regarding sales. Whether second-guessing his editing or simply quelling any self-doubt,

Perkins prompted one of Hemingway’s earliest disavowals of prefaces altogether.

Responding two weeks later, Hemingway let Perkins down easy, as “any sort of a foreword or preface would seem to me to break up the unity of the book and altho it does not show there is a certain rhythm in all that book that if it were broken would be very


much missed” (48).19 This leads into an excellent early reduction of his own literary career:

You see I would like, if you wanted, to write books for Scribner’s to

publish, for many years and would like them to be good books – better all

the time – sometimes they might not be so good – but as well as I could

write and perhaps with luck learning to write better all the time – and

learning how things work and what the whole thing is about – and not

getting bitter – So if this one doesn’t sell maybe sometime one will – I’m

very sure one will if they really are good – and if I learn to make them a

lot better – but I’ll never be able to do that and will just get caught in the

machine if I start worrying about that – or considering it the selling. (48)

Though his tone refrains from the combative nature some of his letters exhibit, he sees prefaces as a part of “that,” the system of publication and promotion any writer must enter into if he or she wishes to be a professional. Hemingway’s recognition of such forces early in his career speaks to the business acumen that successful writers have, for

“what I lose by not compromising now we may all cash in on later” (48). Trogdon considers Hemingway’s response a call to Perkins and Scribner’s to “handle the business of selling his books so he could concentrate on writing them” (Lousy Racket 48), a separation of functions made clear by his decision to learn the craft while Perkins managed the market. Hemingway’s reference to the literary business as “the machine” draws parallels to Lardner’s definition of the same business as “the literary game” (HWSS v). Good writers knew their business, and they knew how best to manage that business given their predilections and reservations. Just as Lardner maintained indifference toward

19 16 November. 179

book publishing, Hemingway resisted the early urge to over-maneuver his authorship in favor of sales.20 Perkins’s response of 26 November solidified Hemingway’s stance, and he assured the author that “the book is making its way, and being fully understood”

(Letter to Hemingway). With the success of The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway entered into a new class, which Reynolds refers to as the “major league” (Hemingway:

The American Homecoming 75). His condensation of the foreword to “The Lost

Generation” into the Stein epigraph for The Sun Also Rises highlights the craft

Hemingway would utilize for the remainder of his career. However, when pressed for prefatory materials moving forward, he continued his combative stance toward such pieces and weighed the viability of authorial positioning in the face of the ultimate authorial product: the text itself.

The best example of conflicting authority in Hemingway’s prefaces can be found in the first Scribner’s printing of In Our Time (1930).21 After severing his contract with

Boni & Liveright, and publishing The Torrents of Spring and The Sun Also Rises in 1926, the story collection Men Without Women in 1927, and A Farewell to Arms in 1929,

Hemingway and Scribner’s sought to further strengthen their already successful relationship. The matter of getting all Hemingway titles under the house of Scribner’s required republishing In Our Time with new material, since the first printing had been

20 Conversely, Catherine Turner notes Scribner’s deft marketing and advertisement of The Sun Also Rises as proof that Hemingway “understood the value of rumor” and “recognized that rumors were important as publicity” (Marketing Modernism 155).

21 Bibliographer C. Edgar Grissom notes: “Although Scribner’s 1930 printing is commonly considered the second American edition, it is a revised sub-edition (two introductions added) utilizing the plates purchased from Boni & Liveright” (33). Though the contract for the new printing calls the book a “revised” and “new edition,” Grissom correctly defines the 1930 In Our Time as the fifth printing, with revised contents (34). For clarity, Fredson Bowers points out that “the formation of another true edition by resetting is a most important fact that must never be confused with sub-editions stemming from the original setting” (Principles of Bibliographical Description 393). 180

published only five years prior. The case for Hemingway’s odd inclusion of an

“Introduction by the Author” and its genesis allows for a more complete understanding of the author’s contentious relationship with prefaces, both structurally and thematically. In a 7 December 1929 letter Hemingway wrote Perkins concerning the status of In Our

Time: “I wish you could get it from Liveright – There is no reason why they should hang on to that one book – Remind them that they promised me absolutely that they would sell the book to you if you wanted it – I remember wanting to get it settled at the time” (Only

Thing 132). After the critical and financial success of A Farewell to Arms Hemingway and Perkins wanted to reissue In Our Time for Scribner’s. Audre Hanneman notes that

Scribner’s acquired plates, bound stock, and reprint rights from Boni & Liveright on 19

June 1930, and published the new printing on 24 October (9-10). In the five months between acquiring the plates and publishing the book, Hemingway’s interest in the prefatory materials of the Scribner’s printing shifted drastically from concerned to indifferent to defensive.

Trogdon notes Hemingway’s change of heart regarding a newly published In Our

Time, for by 1930 the author was fully immersed in his bullfighting book, and revising the collection was “not worth delaying the progress he was making” (Lousy Racket 99).22

His correspondence with Perkins shows a multifaceted writer attempting to write something new while revising something old, an endeavor Hemingway found taxing. It also shows a lazy Hemingway unwilling to create something new for his already published collection. Hemingway had written Perkins the previous year regarding a disclaimer for A Farewell to Arms, in which he professed “the idea that a writer can write

22 Death in the Afternoon was not published until 23 September 1932 (Hanneman 31).


a book then become a business man, – then a writer again is all – as we say. It’s hard enough to write – and writing prose is a full time job and all the best of it is done in your subconscious and when that is full of business, reviews, opinions etc you don’t get a damned thing –” (Only Thing 136). 23 In writing a new work, Hemingway felt the pressure of authority, even though Perkins assured him that “ ‘In Our Time’ is your book” and “the big thing is that you should go on writing while it goes well, and anyhow that the important book is the one that is not done.– ” (144).24 Hemingway’s response of

12 August puts critic Edmund “Bunny” Wilson in the picture.25 He tells Perkins “as I understand it you are getting it out somewhat as a new book i.e. you want new material from me and it is not fair to do this without explanation since it is not new but my first and earliest book. I’ll be damned if I will write a preface but Wilson, if he would, could write what it would need as an introduction” (145). Hemingway concedes that the book needs an introduction of some kind, even if he says it does not one sentence later. He goes on to admit that “what it needs The In Our Time is a good introduction – What you are doing is making it really available for the first time to the people who have read the other books – I am too busy, too disinterested, too proud or too stupid or whatever you want to call it to write one for it” (145), and he again suggests that Wilson write an introduction. Perkins agreed and wrote Hemingway on 18 August: “I believe Bunny will do the introduction – I think it is a good idea he should – and I’ll write him immediately”

23 EH to MP, 15 December 1929.

24 MP to EH, 1 August 1930.

25 Wilson had written favorable reviews of Hemingway’s work.


(Letter to Hemingway). Hemingway’s initial disregard for a personal introduction continues the trend set by the excision of early prefaces from other works.

However, by 3 September Hemingway had changed his mind again. He wrote

Perkins: “The Smyrna chapter can go as an Introduction by The Author—To follow

Wilson’s introduction. It goes pretty well that way” (Only Thing 147). Written sometime in the winter of 1926-27 (Smith 189), “” was included in the small amount of new material Hemingway had somewhat promised Perkins three weeks earlier.26 In casting it as his introduction, Hemingway insisted it “not be mentioned on jacket nor in advertising but simply to be included in the book. You can advertise it as

‘new material’ if you like. I’ve other stories but I’ve tried them – They break up the book, destroy the unity and being of a different period stand out in a way they shouldn’t”

(149).27 Hemingway’s concern with unity echoes the earlier issue with writing a foreword for The Sun Also Rises, as prefaces required dedication to time and place. By including a piece of the time Hemingway refused to “jazz it up with any things of another period”

(145),28 and in many ways he heeded Perkins’s order to “make it exactly as you please”

(144).29 Perkins was puzzled by the title, structure, and purpose of the piece and wrote

Hemingway three weeks later:

26 EH to MP, 12 August 1930: “Anyway I will return the book to you with a few corrections, the original Mr. and Mrs. Elliot, and with or without a couple of short pieces of the same period depending on how these seem in the book between now and then –” (Only Thing 146). The corrections also included a revised “A Very Short Story,” in which Hemingway prominently changed the character ‘Ag’ to ‘Luz’ to avoid slander. Ag stood for Agnes, believed to be , Hemingway’s first love while convalescing in after his wounding in Italy.

27 Since it was first published as “Introduction by the Author,” and not a story, I refer to it throughout as such. Conflating the two prior to the first appearance of the piece as a story eight years later disrupts the prefatory power it holds in its initial state.

28 EH to MP, 12 August 1930.

29 MP to EH, 1 August 1930. 183

I telegraphed you to ask if we could call the piece you entitled

‘Introduction by the Author’ either ‘Prelude’ or ‘Foreword.’ It is not in

any sense an introduction, and I had a sort of queer idea that following an

introduction by Edmund Wilson which would be a regulation introduction

it might seem as if in entitling this an introduction when it is not

conventionally so, might seem in a way to be saying, ‘To Hell with

introductions’ and so reflect a little on Bunny’s. (Letter to Hemingway) 30

Perkins worried about the piece’s function and its efficacy alongside the Wilson introduction. If Hemingway was trying to please his editor, he had done the opposite.

Though he had initially shown almost complete disinterest and outright disregard for his preface, he asked Perkins “what in hell was objection to calling my piece Introduction by the Author – you can call it a Preface if you like but it is not nearly as good –” (Letter to

Perkins 28 September 1938). The following week he wired Perkins and insisted that his introduction “called anything else it loses all force and significance STOP I wanted the contrast of two introductions” and “changing it ruins it STOP after all in writing you get your effect one word at a time and if somebody changed the words for you the effect is gone” (Wire to Perkins 3 October 1930). Now a staunch defender of his introduction,

Hemingway forced Perkins to understand his thematic and structural intentions, a far cry from his original position.

Perkins’s letter to Hemingway eleven days later included an apology along with

Wilson’s blessing, though the editor still made a point to reassert his doubts regarding the piece: “So he writes this introduction and then there comes an introduction by the author

30 MP to EH, 27 September 1930.


which disregards all rules, so to speak, and in that way might be thought, I feared, to say,

‘to Hell with introductions’. The reason it ought not to do that is that it is so moving and genuine in itself that it ought not to arouse any after-thoughts of that kind” (Only Thing

150). 31 To Perkins, the preface read like a story in its own right, thereby separating itself from Wilson’s introduction without negating his commentary. Perkins consistently assured Hemingway that his artistic scruples were of the utmost importance, even when he questioned them.32 Hemingway’s response provides another key criticism of prefaces.

Recovering from a car crash outside of Billings, Montana, Hemingway dictated to his wife Pauline:

There has never been a word written in criticism or explanation of Miss

Gertrude Stein’s, or Mr James Joyce’s work which was not a reflection or

a derivation of something explained by Miss Stein or Mr Joyce to some

critic in conversation. All interpretation of what they have done,

explanations and glorifications, have originated with the writers

themselves. […] I do not explain because of some noble virtue you see in

myself nor the friendship of critics but only because to do so would make

writing not worth doing and all together disgusting. Writing is meant to be

read; the writer should keep out of it. (151)33

Hemingway’s vacillating ideas regarding prefatory materials reaches its zenith here, for the author wants to remove the writer from the writing and grant the reader free access to

31 Reynolds notes that rather than editor, Perkins “was Ernest’s corporate protector, confidant, banker, and private book buyer…when Ernest rages against the realities of commerce, Max always responded in a lower register” (Hemingway: The 1930s 36).

32 At one point Hemingway wrote Perkins, “Oh well to hell with all that – I’m in the racket to write new and better ones rather than try to preserve the old ones –” (Letter to Perkins 28 October 1930).

33 EH to MP, 1 December 1930. 185

the material. That he wrote this while unable to write himself is crucial. Hemingway knew how to control his textual and cultural personae equally, and he rarely lost control of his output. The compromised preface of the 1930 In Our Time was done at

Hemingway’s discretion after being given an out by Perkins. By including his own piece,

Hemingway made a conscious move in favor of his fiction and thematically positioned his collection for new and old readers alike.

Paul Smith considers the lifespan of the preface a “meandering path – first a late variety of the In Our Time chapters, then something of a thematic introduction to a reissue of his first major volume of stories, and finally joining his last collection—it achieved the status of a story” (190). Louis H. Leiter contends that Hemingway “creates a fairly strong picture of the humane that endures in spite of horror and brutality” (138), while J.M. Harrison sees the chief function of the piece as preparation for the interchapters in the collection, since they show a wealth of perspectives with no real explanation (141-2). Matthew Stewart continues Harrison’s notion of perspective and argues that Hemingway’s narrator “needs to tell this story, but will not allow himself straightforwardly to confess the degree of horror he felt, nor to elaborate the particulars of his experience” (60). Such a perplexing text is made all the more difficult if titled an

“Introduction by the Author” rather than “On the Quai at Smyrna,” since the former marries Hemingway’s own voice directly to the text and adds another level of inquiry.34

Throughout the piece Hemingway plays with a variety of narrative shifts and vacillates between perspectives without warning. Reading the text as an introduction proves confounding, for just as Perkins noticed, it is not a “regulation introduction” by any

34 “Introduction by the Author” was republished eight years later as “On the Quai at Smyrna” in Hemingway’s The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories and remains so titled to this day. 186

stretch. But in its initial prefatory state, the piece can be read as an aesthetic and experimental compliment to the collection as constituted.

The most intriguing, and perplexing, issue regarding the work is its narrative perspective. The first two sentences use both the first and third persons without warning.

Determining the speaker proves paramount – as with any literary piece: “The strange thing was, he said, how they screamed every night at midnight. I do not know why they screamed at that time” (In Our Time 9). The “he” and “I” are the same person, a British officer witnessing events during the Greco-Turkish War at Smyrna, while the voice narrating is unknown (either a reporter, Hemingway, or “author”). The immediate duality

“pulls the reader quickly through the page into the fiction” (Reynolds, Hemingway: The

1930s 49); it is difficult to recognize who speaks for whom and why, which gives the story a chaotic tone. A series of events populates the remainder of the piece, and discerning the veracity of the narrator – whose story is being filtered through the voice of the writer – leads to an examination of horror, war, and traumatic response. Leiter figures that the confusion of the piece “catches the psychological shattering Hemingway is trying to dramatize” (139). Following the screaming and an apparent insult of a Turkish officer by another British sailor, “the worse, he said, were the women with dead babies” (In Our

Time 10). A detailed image of women refusing to “give up their dead babies” compliments an episode in which the officer finds an old woman “quite dead and absolutely rigid” protecting a “litter” of dead babies on the pier (10). Lost innocence, coupled with horrific realities and the separation in age between the old woman and the


babies, foreshadows the stark vignettes in the collection, some of which were written during the same time as the “Smyrna” composition.35

Harrison notes the difference in perspective between Hemingway’s stories and his vignettes, as the vignettes comprised the “distant picture” and the stories a closer view

(143). The introduction reads as a long form that honestly introduces the structure of the collection by buttressing images one on another. The vignettes of In Our

Time focus on a singular image within each, whereas the introduction offers several in favor of one overarching conclusion. Once the officer recounts the Turks firing “a few blank charges as we came in,” he repeats the refrain established earlier – “You remember…” – and avails the reporter: “You remember the harbor. There were plenty of nice things floating around in it. That was the only time in my life I got so I dreamed about things” (In Our Time 11). The indirect description and the repetition of “things” rather than actual detailed images show the power of confusion on a mind witnessing concrete horrors. In “Big Two-Hearted River,” begins to dream while drinking “the coffee, the coffee according to Hopkins. The coffee was bitter. Nick laughed. It made a good ending to the story. His mind was starting to work” (191).

According to the officer, dreams are not necessarily good things, as they expose images which may lead to escalated horror. Young Nick witnesses the result of a suicide in

” rather than the birth of a child (20), similar to the officer covering pregnant women on the pier in order to “let them go to it” (11) rather than see the possibility of babies’ deaths he had outlined earlier.

35 See Smith’s A Reader’s Guide to the Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. “On the Quai at Smyrna” (189- 92). 188

However, the shield is lifted when the final horror occurs, as the evacuating

Greeks, with an overabundance of baggage animals, “just broke their forelegs and dumped them into the shallow water. All those mules with their forelegs broken pushed over into the shallow water” (12). Leiter notes the officer’s traumatic indifference, a result of the escalating horrors the introduction creates (139), while Stewart refers to the piece as a “spotlight” with the speaker “speaking out of a deeper history” (59). What

Hemingway creates is a multi-narrative historical anomaly built on a doubly removed perspective shot through with subtly realized horrors. Seeing the hell of it all, the officer concludes “it was all a pleasant business. My word yes a most pleasant business” (12), for he represses – along with other soldiers – in order to survive. The cold removal of the soldier’s perspective is galvanized when he defines the horror as a “pleasant business.”

We see this same removal in Nick Adams (“Big Two-Hearted River”) and Harold Krebs

(“Soldier’s Home”), two witnesses of trauma who attempt to characterize their experience. Hemingway signals the effect of these stories in his introduction, as he points to the detachment of narrative perspective and the immense reduction of dialogue in favor of specifics and omission. These spaces are populated by real memories for the

British officer, whereas many of Nick’s memories – as well as Krebs’s – are subsumed far beneath the realities they inhabit. By elucidating some of the officer’s horrific

“dreams,” Hemingway ushers in his intention to create living histories with his characters, for his men and women deal with their own traumas and pasts internally with little to show on the surface.

In many ways, reading the piece as an introduction rather than a story proper amplifies the collection. Hemingway shows what immersed histories mean for characters.


He uses narrative complexity to recall reality and deftly outlines a distinctive authorial intentionality, rather than a one-off manuscript meant to fill pages or please his editor. In sum Reynolds believes the introduction “fit with the other stories like the Elliots trying but unable to have a baby, and the bloody cesarean operation at the Indian Camp, war sketches with the dead in the street, and Nick having to return to the States because of his pregnant wife, the punchy boxer that night by the rail line, and Nick ending up after the war not quite right on Big Two-Hearted River” (Hemingway: The 1930s 49-50). More than just fitting, the piece delivers prefatory dimension to an already multi-dimensional collection. If read as a preface, the “Smyrna” piece significantly changes how we read In

Our Time and requires readers to solve “the riddle” (Harrison 141) before pursuing the craft, which results in Hemingway’s first published preface.


II: Excuse the Preface: Introductions for Other Writers

You had to trust the people you worked with completely or not at all, and you had to make decisions about the trusting. – Ernest Hemingway36

Another important facet of Hemingway’s preface writing exists outside of his own texts. Following the publication of A Farewell to Arms in 1929, Hemingway wrote a series of introductions, forewords, and prefaces for an interesting cross-section of artists and writers. While some came at the request of Max Perkins and Scribner’s, others were the result of the author’s connections to figures from Paris and the Spanish

Civil War and war in general. All benefited from his role as national celebrity. Study of these materials leads to a better understanding not only of the works they introduce, but also and more importantly of the role Hemingway played in framing literature and cultural productions of his day, while also negotiating the highs and lows of his authorial career and public persona.37 Beginning with his 1929 introduction to Kiki of

Montparnasse (and reprinted in Kiki’s Memoirs in 1930), Hemingway expresses his thoughts regarding “big writing” and the work of a professional writer (15-17). Although

Hemingway informs readers that “this is the only book I have ever written an introduction for and, God help me, the only one I ever will” (17), his distinctive authorial voice penetrates the piece. Following Kiki, Hemingway’s introductions are best separated into four thematic categories—professional writing and publishing, war, art and artists, and sports—each providing access to different aspects of Hemingway’s persona, including the author, the stylist, and the professional tradesman. Although his prefaces

36 For Whom the Bell Tolls (4).

37 I am greatly indebted to two works which partially analyze Hemingway’s prefaces: Robert O. Stephens’ Hemingway Nonfiction: The Public Voice and John Raeburn’s Fame Became of Him: Hemingway as Public Writer. 191

for artists Luis Quintinilla, Antonio Gattorno, and John Groth, sportsmen S. Kip

Farrington and Charles Ritz, and war journalists/editors Joseph North and Ben Raeburn all merit closer examination, this study focuses on Hemingway’s prefaces for fiction writers and memoirists in a literary cultural context. As a writer’s author in these pieces, he often elucidated the problems with professional publishing and the constraints put upon writers.

Hemingway’s prefaces for others demonstrate the author’s business acumen, his views on form, style, and criticism, and his willingness to publicly advise other writers.

Moreover, the history of these pieces attest to the importance of prefatory material for attracting readers. Jimmie Charters and his editor Morrill Cody insisted that

Hemingway’s introduction would carry This Must Be the Place. In fact, Charters went so far as to write Hemingway that he was “a thousand times more proud of” the introduction than his own book (Letter to Hemingway 23 January 1934). Similarly, Max Perkins asked Hemingway to preface Jerome Bahr’s short story collection, knowing that it was important to have an established persona introduce the book and its author to the reading public. As popular as he was, Hemingway also wrote prefaces in order to defend writers over critics. His work for Gustav Regler’s The Great Crusade (1940) and ’s

In Sicily (1949) provides clear examples of action writing over “big writing,” and both prefaces are the result of Hemingway’s growing dissatisfaction with critics. Although his prefaces were written in service to the given texts, each says more about Hemingway and his impact than about the text itself. In fact, many of the book reviews for these works singled out Hemingway’s prefatory contributions.38

38 Reviews for All Good Americans in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (21 March 1937) and The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (28 May 1937) begin with invoking Hemingway’s preface, for better or worse. A 192

The process of creating and marketing these pieces allowed for Hemingway’s professional persona to grow beyond the confines of his fiction, resulting in a larger public role. Written in various moods and under a wide array of circumstances,

Hemingway’s introductions show the artist, colleague, advisor, teacher, critic, comedian, revolutionary, and statesman: the true professional writer. Robert O. Stephens argues that

“Hemingway’s approach to preface writing was highly personal and at first glance either ignorant of or indifferent to the several conventions comprising the art of the preface”

(135). However, Stephens further explains that Hemingway balanced his “highly personal approach and comment against conventions” (135) and developed a formula consisting of the following: a citation of the artist’s credentials, personal expertness, significance of the appearance or inception of the work, struggle with his own status as a man of letters, comments on quality, and finally, positioning the work within an artistic tradition.39

Although Stephens has constructed the means by which one can analyze the author’s prefaces, my goal is to uncover a more rigid connection between the form and the author.

Through correspondence and biography, we become acquainted with the impact of these prefaces on Hemingway’s writing life. In several unpublished letters detailing the creation and purpose behind these prefaces, Hemingway reveals how he produced a deliberately controlled persona that enhanced his authority, granted him greater public exposure, and allowed him to defend his positions on good writers and writing.

Hemingway began manipulating his public writing persona in 1929 following the successful publication of A Farewell to Arms, when the author set out to denounce

review in the New York Sun (11 December 1940) cites the influence For Whom the Bell Tolls had on Regler’s The Great Crusade, while mentioning Hemingway’s preface.

39 See “The Man of Letters” (Part Two, Chapter VI) in Stephens’ Hemingway’s Nonfiction. 193

criticism of his work and become the preeminent novelist of his time (Raeburn 33). John

Raeburn contends that “the critics had made him champion with their early enthusiasm, and by creating a public personality and thereby enlarging his reputation, he was trying to make certain that what the critics had done they could not easily undo” (35).

Hemingway’s many articles reflect this conscious attempt to defend his positions as an established literary icon of his day and the consummate stylist of contemporary fiction.

This effort required careful placement of printed material, both primary and prefatory, throughout the 1930s. Hemingway’s articles for Esquire, for example, demonstrate his effort to manage his persona, intentionally bolstering the image of Hemingway as

“rugged, virile, and self-confident” and “in complete control of himself, capable of the appropriate response in any situation” (Raeburn 35). But Stephens points out that

Hemingway also “had to accept the responsibilities of a recognized man of letters” (13), and become “a man of prefaces” as much as a man of letters (135). During this period, which includes Hemingway’s first attempts at preface writing, he became “more renowned for his personality than for his accomplishments, however substantial those might be” (Stephens 37). While little has been documented concerning the relationship between Hemingway and Kiki, Hemingway’s first introduction, which has more to do with his image than with Kiki’s text, provides an initial glimpse into the author’s use of prefatory materials to create, sustain, and manipulate a public writing persona in league with his many dispatches, articles, and fiction.

Published in 1930, Kiki’s Memoirs collects the reminiscences of French art model and sometime prostitute Kiki (real name Alice Prin). Known primarily as modernist artist


Man Ray’s muse and the subject of his Le Violon d’Ingres,40 (which depicts a nude Kiki with violin f-holes painted on her naked back), Kiki was a prominent figure in expatriate

Paris during the twenties. Hemingway certainly would have known Kiki, but his introduction to her memoir lacks a clear purpose as he plays with several themes, offering advice on “big writing,” “Eras,” and “the workers” (Kiki 15). What emerges clearly is

Hemingway’s attempt to position himself in relation to writing and popular ideas about artistic work ethics. Early on, he notes the habit of some writers (including Kiki) to enact a specific type of “big writing,” and claims that “the essential in big writing is to use words like the West, the East, Civilization, etc., and very often these words do not mean a damned thing but you cannot have big writing without them” (15). Big writing produces hollow “Eras,” since “no one knows when they begin, at least not at the time, and the ones that are noted and advertised at the start usually do not stand up very long” (15).

Hemingway considers in the 1920s one of these eras. The similarity to

Frederic Henry’s denunciation of “abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow” (184) in A Farewell to Arms is clear. While Henry is testifying to the gross overuse of “proclamations” in favor of truth in warfare, Hemingway sees fit to establish a similar continuum in his introduction, insisting that “you can write very big putting those words in capitals but it is very liable not to mean anything” (Kiki 15). At various times throughout his career, Hemingway was prone to reusing material, as many writers did, and many of his introductions take the tone and substance of a concurrent text. Here, the connection to the recently published A Farewell to Arms leads readers to establish a

40 Literally translated as “Ingres’ Violin,” but the phrase is also a French idiom meaning “hobby” (J. Paul Getty Museum). 195

comfortable relationship with Hemingway’s introduction, a comfort he could cultivate and sustain, and one that reinforced his image as a writer with a concrete style.

Hemingway continues to position himself, while also compensating for the questionable character and reputation of his introduction’s subject (Kiki), by focusing on the work ethic of real artists. He defines Kiki’s Montparnasse as “the cafes and restaurants where people are seen in public. It does not mean the apartments, studios and hotel rooms where they work in private” (15). Despite the negative tone o the introduction, Hemingway reminds readers that work often came before the revelry, but it also allows Hemingway to critique artistic culture as he saw it and differentiate between

“workers” and “bums” (15). Hemingway had rehearsed this cultural critique seven years prior in his 25 March 1922 Star article “American Bohemians in Paris,” in which he described the “loafers expending the energy that an artist puts into his creative work in talking about what they are going to do and condemning the work of all artists who have gained any degree of recognition” (DLT 115). Eager to stress the importance of writing and writing faculties, Hemingway offers a distinction between writers and bums: “In the old days the difference between the workers and those that don’t work was that the bums could be seen at the cafes in the forenoon” (Kiki 15). A real writer, having finished his work for the day, goes to the café with the lonesomeness that a writer or painter has after he has worked all day and does not want to think about it until the next day but instead see people and talk about anything that is not serious and drink a little before supper. And maybe during and after supper, too, depending on the individual” (15-16). Separating those that create (workers) from those that consume (bums) situates the ironic conclusion of an era which “passed along with the kidneys of the workers who drank too long with


the bums” (16). However, Hemingway assures us that with Kiki, “we do not have to worry about her kidneys,” and segues back to the book which, at this point, he has spent little time introducing. Hemingway finally praises Kiki as a woman who “never had a

Room of Her Own, but I think a part of it will remind you, and some of it will bear comparison with, another book with a woman’s name written by Daniel Defoe” (17). He also approvingly reminds us that she “was never a lady at any time” (17). The playful tone and references to and Moll Flanders are his concession to the expectation that he will offer a critical framework; nonetheless, he mostly begs off since

“the people who tell me which books are great lasting works of art are all out of town so I cannot make an intelligent judgment” (16).41 Such a stance reinforces his identity as a writer and not a critic, for Hemingway always maintained his status as a writer, and actively avoided writing introductions solely about art.42 If his introduction to Kiki’s

Memoirs tells us anything, it is that Hemingway pursued his prefatory role with carefully constructed and combative pieces designed to elevate work and action over contemplative reticence.

The prefaces for Jimmie “the Barman” Charters and Jerome Bahr testify to the growing power of the Hemingway name and his confident familiarity with the publishing industry. As the 1930s rolled on, his public persona gained momentum, with the Esquire letters, Death in the Afternoon, and Green Hills of Africa promoting the technically sound and unabashedly egotistical Hemingway. During his most productive decade

Hemingway also wrote two slight prefaces for unknown writers. The common

41 Woolf wrote a negative review of Hemingway’s 1927 short story collection Men Without Women, probably prompting the author to get back at her in print (similar to his continued barbs aimed at Stein). See Woolf’s “An Essay in Criticism.” (New York Herald Tribune Books 4 [Oct. 1927]. 1, 8).

42 See Chapter Five of Fame Became of Him. 197

denominator between Hemingway’s introduction for Charters’s This Must Be the Place

(1934) and his preface to Bahr’s All Good Americans (1937) is his insistence on explaining the rules of publishing. Whether he is addressing the politics of culture or providing advice on how best to release a new author’s work, Hemingway shifts the focus away from artistic judgment in favor of an insider’s technical prowess. The business of literature dominates these works, with the authors happily taking a backseat to an established name. While neither book sold well (both are since long out of print),

Hemingway’s introductions spoke volumes about what it meant to be a professional author and the desire of publishers to solicit material from established literary commodities to sell new, unproven properties.

Correspondence with Charters and his editor, Morrill Cody, shows that they recognized the importance of Hemingway’s name for marketing and selling their book.

Jimmie “the Barman” Charters had been a bartender at the Dingo American Bar, a crucial location in Hemingway’s expatriate milieu. It was there he met F. Scott Fitzgerald in

April 1925 and drank with Duff Twysden (the model for Brett Ashley in The Sun Also

Rises). Along with La Closerie des Lilas, La Rotonde, Le Dôme, and Le Select, the

Dingo made its way into The Sun Also Rises as one of the central meeting places in the novel. Jake’s colleague Krum refers to the bar as “the great place” (SAR 44), and Jake

Barnes meets Mike Campbell and Brett Ashley there prior to departing for with

Bill Gorton (87-90). It likewise serves as the meeting place for Hemingway’s aborted sequel to the novel, “Jimmy the bartender,” featuring Jimmy, Brett, Mike, and Jake.43

Capitalizing on the exposure the Montparnasse café culture had received following

43 See Items 530 (9pp. manuscript) and 530a (6pp. revised typescript). Story and Fragment Manuscripts. Ernest Hemingway Collection. JFK.


Hemingway’s novel, Charters and Cody planned the memoir, which without

Hemingway’s glamorization of expatriate culture would have been an ill-advised venture.

In a 1 June 1933 letter, Charters requested that Hemingway write the introduction “in memory of the many times we have ‘chinned’ across the bar about boxing and other things” (Letter to Hemingway). A similarly themed letter arrived the following day, this time from Morrill Cody, asking Hemingway, “could you be persuaded to write the introduction to such a book? Could you be persuaded to put down a few of your thoughts about the lost generation?” (Letter to Hemingway).44 These factors led Hemingway to grant them their request, and although no letters could be located from Hemingway to either Charters or Cody, one undated letter finds Cody all but suggest the author “get in a few digs at Gertrude Stein” (Letter to Hemingway). The evidence leads the reader to expect a piece including both reminiscences of the Paris scene (similar to Kiki) as well as a personal retort to Stein’s portrayal of Hemingway in The Autobiography of Alice B.

Toklas.45 Raeburn attests that even though Hemingway “did not mention her by name, the reference was clear to any knowledgeable contemporary,” and it initiated a period during which Hemingway frequently maligned Stein in print (63). What results is an

44 A letter from L.E. Pollinger to Morrill Cody discusses the book’s Canadian rights, including an offer which reads: “This offer is made on the understanding that Ernest Hemingway will be doing an Introduction for the book.” The book’s Canadian rights hinged solely on Hemingway’s introduction, exactly the intent Cody and Charters intended when requesting he write the piece (Pollinger to Cody. [19 January 1934]. Ernest Hemingway Collection. JFK.)

45 Stein attempts to reestablish her and Sherwood Anderson’s influence on Hemingway’s writing career, as Hemingway had lampooned them openly in The Torrents of Spring seven years earlier. Stein (as Alice) famously proclaims that Hemingway “looks like a modern and he smells of the museums” and “was yellow, he is, Gertrude Stein insisted, just like the flat-boat men on the Mississippi river as described by Mark Twain. But what a book, [Stein and Sherwood Anderson] both agreed, would be the real story of Hemingway, not those he writes but the confessions of the real Ernest Hemingway…What a story that of the real Hem, and one he should tell himself but alas he never will. After all, as he himself once murmured, there is the career, the career” (Stein 265-66).


introduction critiquing Stein, the salon culture she helped create, and her use of

Hemingway’s name to sell her book.

Hemingway’s disdain for Stein receives ample treatment in Green Hills of Africa,

For Whom the Bell Tolls, and A Moveable Feast. However, his introduction for This Must

Be the Place helped initiate the long publicized post-Alice B. Toklas period, which found

Hemingway reacting “furiously, over and over, as if he could not get enough of expressing his hatred” (Raeburn 62). While conceived as a piece intended to assist

Charters and Cody with the sale of their book, the introduction like the one for Kiki says little about the book itself. Hemingway does not even mention the book or its author until the fourth paragraph. Rather, he uses the first three paragraphs to determine how best to be mentioned in a “salon woman’s” memoir, for “if you go to the salon you will be in the memoirs; that is you will be if your name ever becomes known enough so that its use, or abuse, will help the sale of the woman’s book” (“Introduction to This Must Be the Place” 27). Hemingway purposefully attached himself to many projects and allowed his name to be used for marketing and publicity, but he disliked moments when his name was used without his consent. Hemingway did not choose to be in Stein’s memoir, and he lacked control over how he is represented in it. In Charters’s book, Hemingway has some control over how his name is used, and he takes the opportunity to vindicate his name after Stein’s “abuse.” He would play at this vindication for several years and within several works, forcibly retrieving the rights to his own name. Raeburn marks this piece as the moment when “his readers would decide who was telling the truth” (63), as

Hemingway pits Stein’s portrayal against his own. He calls her book “the pantheon to her own glory that every self-made legendary woman hopes to erect with her memoirs”


(“Introduction to This Must Be the Place” 27) and critiques her penchant for favoritism and exclusivity. He also ironically advises readers “how to achieve a lengthy mention [in a memoir], if you want one” by noting, “you must start young. Literary ladies like them young or famous; and not too famous and famous in some other line” (28) Three-quarters of the preface is dedicated to attacking Gertrude Stein, and he segues to Charters by relaying that the barman “served more and better drinks than any legendary woman ever did in her salon” and gave “less and better advice” (28). Although both Charters and

Stein have written memoirs, Hemingway concludes that Charters’s work does less damage, and therefore his book offers a more honest look at Paris in the twenties.

Charters’s work was his bartending, and because he was able to serve “more and better drinks than any legendary woman ever did” (28), Hemingway is able to endorse the exploits of a simple barman over the artistic creation of a complex memoirist like Stein.

Charters’s advice—“ ‘You should go home, sir. Shall I get a taxi?’ ”—proves to be better than anything Stein has to offer (28). Just as he strove to avoid aestheticism within Kiki,

Hemingway avoids artistic judgments and instead reduces Stein to the level of a barkeep.

In contrast to his work for Charters, Hemingway’s association with Jerome Bahr centers solely on the business of authorship. Bahr, brother-in-law to artist and

Hemingway friend , had initially written Hemingway requesting a letter of recommendation for a $1000 Houghton Mifflin fellowship for purposes of finishing a first book. On 21 January 1936, Bahr wrote Hemingway that he had recently sold “a long story of a Polish priest which follows somewhat your construction in The Undefeated and

Fifty Grand” and hoped that the author could vouch for his character and ability (Letter to

Hemingway). Hemingway submitted a letter on Bahr’s behalf, and Houghton Mifflin


wanted to read Bahr’s book soon after. Bahr thanked Hemingway on 1 May: “I want to thank you for this. I want to thank you also for consenting to do a preface for me if I sell the book. But more than anything I want to tell you I’m damn glad you liked my writing”

(Letter to Hemingway). In recommending Bahr, Hemingway had offered his services in writing a preface should the book be published. Although Houghton Mifflin had Bahr under consideration for their fellowship, his agent had also sent the manuscript to Max

Perkins, evidenced by the editor’s 9 May letter to Hemingway. Upon receiving the manuscript, Perkins wrote Hemingway about the possibility of publishing and promoting


In the 9 May 1936 letter, Perkins is forthright in asking Hemingway his feelings on Bahr’s position as a first time author. Perkins was always concerned with the viability of short story collections in a market built for novels. The economic realities of the publishing business merited such concern. Short story collections were rarely best sellers, and authors were encouraged to begin their careers with a novel rather than a collection.

Interestingly, Perkins may have endorsed a Hemingway preface because In Our Time was his first major publication, not a novel. Even so, Perkins sees the issue coming: “of course there will be the objection that stories, a first book of them, are almost impossible to sell, but the man has to get started” (Letter to Hemingway). This conceit is mirrored early on in Hemingway’s preface, as he reminds readers that for a young writer, “the only way you can get a book of stories published now is to have some one with what is called, in the trade, a name write a preface to it” (“Preface” vii). Earlier Hemingway had satirized the idea of being a literary property in “The Sights of Whitehead Street: A Key

West Letter” for Esquire (April 1935), in which he tells an unnamed visitor, “the name’s


sort of like a trade-mark” (BL 195). The impossibility of selling short fiction as a first authorial effort allows Hemingway to comment publicly on the difficult mechanism of publication. Should a name be offered, Bahr’s stories have a better chance at selling. If he were to write a novel first, the name, though helpful, would be not be necessary, for novels carried more weight than a collection short fiction. Given this reality, the first edition dust jacket (created by Waldo Peirce) prominently featured the words

“Introduction by Ernest Hemingway” (Bahr jacket). In the introduction, Hemingway explains that the publication of new authors presents a range of economic issues rarely recognized by the general reading public. Where Hemingway had attacked Gertrude

Stein in his preface for Charters’s book, here he turns his critical eye again (as did

Perkins) on the means by which writers become published authors.

Hemingway’s finished preface reads as a microcosm of the publishing industry and his own composition process following the disappointing sales of several works in the middle thirties. Perkins consistently pushed for Hemingway to produce a novel following the relatively dismal sales of Death in the Afternoon (1932), Winner Take

Nothing (1933), and Green Hills of Africa (1935), two nonfiction books and a short story collection. As he wrote Bahr’s preface Hemingway was continuing work on what would become To Have and Have Not (1937), an experimental book which he characterized as

“that thing the pricks all love—a novel—” (Bruccoli, Only Thing 244).46 Hemingway’s dissatisfaction with the publication expectations of a professional author (even one as popular as he) inevitably led to his attitude throughout the Bahr preface, an attitude he had partially rehearsed in his letters for Esquire. Although he begins his preface with an

46 Reynolds refers to To Have and Have Not as “an ambitious, complicated plan, a in miniature” (233). Such qualification leads to reading Hemingway’s preface to All Good Americans as a reaction to complications arising from his own writing. 203

admonishment of prefaces (“These stories need no preface” [“Preface” vii]), Hemingway constructs an analytical frame where he gives readers insight into the mechanisms and considerations behind the rough business of publishing, including the need to have a recognized author recommend new work and the dangers of beginning a literary career with a short story collection. After reading and approving Hemingway’s preface, Perkins wrote on 18 February 1937, “the preface for Bahr seemed to me excellent,- much better than if it had all been given over to high praise of the stories.- And what you said about them carries conviction. It should be much more effective than a eulogy” (Letter to

Hemingway). The preface relies more on economics than literary praise, a theme set up early on with Kiki and This Must Be the Place. Hemingway’s concerns are business in action and professional writing in action. For him, “a novel, even if it fails, is supposed to sell enough copies to pay for putting it out. If it succeeds, the publisher has a property, and when a writer becomes a property he will be humored considerably by those who own the property” (“Preface” vii). Attention to publishing dynamics, rather than Bahr’s stories, alters our understanding of the industry. Hemingway had publicly given similar literary advice earlier in “Monologue to the Maestro: A High Seas Letter,” which appeared in Esquire (October 1935): “Most live writers do not exist. Their fame is created by critics who always need a genius of the season, someone they understand completely and feel safe in praising, but when these fabricated are dead they will not exist” (BL 218). Authors (and their books) are created through compromise and criticism, which tends to swallow up younger writers, as “many natural, good story writers lose their true direction by having to write novels before they are ready to if they want to earn enough at their trade to eat; let alone to marry and have children” (“Preface”


vii). Hemingway’s cogent distillation of the profession hearkens to William Charvat’s definition of professional authorship some thirty years later, in which professional writing

“provides a living for the author, like any other job; that it is a main and prolonged, rather than intermittent or sporadic, resource for the writer” (Charvat 3). Hemingway shows readers how the sausage gets made, and in doing so he adds literary credence to Jerome

Bahr’s initial authorial effort.

Hemingway knows that a writer will be humored by his publisher “as long as he continues to make them money, and sometimes for a long time afterwards on the chance that he will produce another winner” (“Preface” vii). Hemingway wrote To Have and

Have Not with the hope that it would rebound his somewhat-floundering literary output of the middle thirties, a hope Perkins shared. Author and editor perceived its release as a failure, although Robert Trogdon notes that “a sale of over 37,000 copies within seven months was very good for the 1930s” (185).47 Even so, prior to the release of his novel,

Hemingway’s relative disillusionment with the process spilt over into his preface. We see this disillusionment in perhaps the most crucial metaphor of the introduction:

Hemingway’s comparison between publishing and boxing. In particular, he emphasizes the dangers to young fighters developing their skills: “the same system by which young prizefighters are overmatched and destroyed because their managers need the money that the fight, which the fighter does not yet know enough to win, will bring” (viii).

Comparing the writer to the boxer reinforces Hemingway’s style and continues the aversion to literary elitism visible throughout his prefaces. At the same time,

Hemingway emerges as a practical artist, able to determine the value of art as product,

47 To Have and Have Not sold better than any other Hemingway book published that decade (Trogdon 185).


rather than celebrating art for art’s sake. The system destroys as many writers as it creates, and Hemingway was keenly aware of his role in Bahr’s publishing efforts: a creator, not a destroyer. He was also a survivor of similar treatment. Boni & Liveright short changed the advertising and promotion of In Our Time since a short story collection as first book rarely sold better than a novel, and Hemingway was never satisfied with his first publishers’ efforts in selling his work. In one way, his preface for Bahr is an answer to Boni & Liveright for past indiscretions. In the end, Hemingway apologizes to Bahr’s readers “for the economic necessity of pointing out qualities that would be perceived without any pointing” and asks them to “excuse the preface” altogether (viii).

Categorizing his preface as a publishing need rather than a simple act of friendship positions one final time the importance Hemingway put on understanding the publishing industry and how that industry controlled its literary properties.

Issues of control and literary merit are also at the heart of Hemingway’s prefaces for Gustav Regler and Elio Vittorini, two authors in need of a name to push their books.

Hemingway continues his efforts to define his persona and his writing as vigorous and authentic by emphasizing his authority as both /writer and late career man of letters and culture. Regler, a German Communist writer (disillusioned, he would defect from the party following the war) and commissar of the 12th International Brigade during the , helped recruit Hemingway to the Loyalist cause (Thomas

443). Hemingway spent significant time with Regler and the 12th Brigade during Spring

1937, documenting the war effort with for . Scott

Donaldson notes that Regler and the other officers of the brigade treated Hemingway “as a fellow soldier and as an artist,” and the author “basked in the warmth of their


comradeship” (391). Alex Vernon observes that Hemingway disparaged many of the officers he encountered during the war, but praised Regler for his attention to duty (68).

When Regler was gravely wounded during the Huesca offensive of May 1937,

Hemingway allegedly wept (as he states in the preface). Italian writer Elio Vittorini’s

1941 novel, Conversations in Sicily, is a dream-like, modernist allegory highly critical of fascist Italy. Due to its content, the novel was censored by the Fascist Italian government but eventually re-released in 1949 (as In Sicily) with Hemingway’s preface. The two authors were not close, but Hemingway’s participation helped launch the novel for an

American readership. Both Regler and Vittorini were well served by Hemingway’s prefaces, as their works cultivated the continued obsession with action and truth that

Hemingway professed. Written eleven years apart, both mark interesting moments in

Hemingway’s writing career. As much as To Have and Have Not and his Esquire letters informed his preface for Jerome Bahr, Hemingway’s authorial confidence surrounding his Spanish Civil permeates the framework of his preface to Regler’s The

Great Crusade, which was published the same year as For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940).

In his preface to Vittorini’s In Sicily, Hemingway continues his efforts to demean literary critics and their work as derivative as opposed to the vital work of authors. He also prophetically presupposes the critical backlash to Across the River and Into the Trees, published one year later. His work for Vittorini bookends his writing for other writers; within twenty years Hemingway had grown from the young, brash author of A Farewell to Arms to the experienced man of culture depended upon to promote ale, pens, and

Italian reprints to a mass public. The shift signifies the growing authorial duties

Hemingway undertook as writer and celebrity from the middle of his career onward.


Hemingway’s preface to Gustav Regler’s novel positions both authors as men of action. He opens with a passage indicative of For Whom the Bell Tolls, explaining, “the one who being beaten refuses to admit it and fights on the longest wins in all finish fights; unless of course he is killed, starved out, deprived of weapons or betrayed. All of these things happened to the Spanish people. They were killed in vast numbers, starved out, deprived of weapons and betrayed” (“Preface to The Great Crusade” 81).

Hemingway reinforces the lost ideal, which he notably expands in For Whom the Bell

Tolls, and he instructs readers to trust Regler’s account. Immediately Hemingway informs readers, “no one has more right to write of these actions which saved than Gustav Regler. He fought in all of them” (81). Linking Regler’s right to write to his military duty, Hemingway firmly establishes the action-oriented writer/author, capable of providing readers with truths based on real experience. Hemingway’s praise for Regler’s abilities was likely strengthened by the latter’s role as houseguest of the Hemingways during its composition (Vernon 156). With both novelists writing Spanish Civil War books under the same roof in , a confluence of ideas certainly fueled their work and enhanced their friendship. Taking time away from his novel to write the preface for

Regler, Hemingway, as in previous prefaces, writes little about the novel. In this case, he focuses on its author and his cause as well as their personal relationship. As a result, this preface becomes a personal reminiscence, with Hemingway relating several “inside” anecdotes involving Regler and “the religious order” of the 12th Brigade (Donaldson

445).48 He notes that it was his privilege to cover the 11th and 12th Brigades “a good part

48 In his autobiography, The Owl of Minerva (1960), Regler recalls an exchange with Hemingway in which the author (probably drunk) accosted him about leaving the Communists. This revisionist depiction stands in contrast to the anti-Communist stance in For Whom the Bell Tolls; there may be some middle ground here, as Reynolds notes, “Although Hemingway would never be a communist any more than he would 208

of this time” and specifically references the “spitting test,” the idea that “you cannot spit if you are really frightened” (“Preface to The Great Crusade” 82), which also occurs in

For Whom the Bell Tolls. The emotional state of war is at the heart of the preface, as

Hemingway asserts:

there is no man alive today who has not cried at a war if he was at it long

enough. Sometimes it is after a battle, sometimes it is when someone that

you love is killed, sometimes it is from a great injustice to another,

sometimes it is at the disbanding of a corps or a unit that has endured and

accomplished together and now will never be together again. (83)

He shares details of Regler’s experience that anchor the authenticity of his fiction, discussing his war injuries where “a pound and a half piece of steel drove through

Gustav’s body from side to side” (83). He also cites Regler’s continued perseverance, arguing “he has, intelligently and unselfishly, the same bravery and immunity to personal suffering that a fighting cock has, which, wounded repeatedly, fights until it dies” (83).

As Stephens points out, Hemingway believed Regler had earned his authority to write this book, and Hemingway (through action) had earned his right to comment (136).

The right to write lifts this preface beyond the novel itself. Beginning with his preface for Bahr, Hemingway is deeply concerned with the authentication of writing.

The writer must adhere to principal and truth, and his ideas must be rooted in action in order to achieve clarity of purpose. The linkage of action, knowledge, and experience support any political party, his support for the leftist Republican government of Spain was the strongest political statement of his life thus far” (Hemingway: The 1930s 261). Another revised account of the Regler-Hemingway relationship is found in Stephen Koch’s The Breaking Point: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and the Murder of Jose Robles (2005), in which Regler acts as one of Hemingway’s handlers during the war: “The business of keeping Hemingway seeing and saying what the Popular Front wanted him to see and say was in the hands of these three apparatchiks: Kolstov as mentor, Ivens as collaborator, and Regler as friend” (Koch 99). This reduction has been disputed, with Donaldson noting, “Koch undervalued his man, who may have been mistaken but was nobody’s fool” (399). 209

with writing meant that “beyond all politics, a man finally must do his duty, just as a writer must write” (Reynolds, Hemingway: The 1930s 304). For Whom the Bell Tolls represented Hemingway’s fusion of these ideals with writing, a fusion he reinforces for

Regler: “But there are events which are so great that if a writer has participated in them his obligation is to try and write them truly rather than assume the presumption of altering with invention” (“Preface to The Great Crusade” 84). Even though “the greatest novels are all made-up” (84), Hemingway celebrates Regler (and by extension himself) for creating from real events a representation as close to realistic feeling as possible. His contradictory message—giving himself credit for invention and Regler praise for experience—finds Hemingway expressing the potential of his own Spanish Civil War novel. Alex Vernon asks and considers: “Does Hemingway imagine his novel will be a tour-de-force? His own status as participant-observer in the war, a status reinforced through the rest of the preface, ambiguously and maybe anxiously marks the book’s nature and potential” (156). If, as in Green Hills of Africa, there were a fourth or fifth dimension to writing (GHOA 26), Hemingway reinforces that “it is events of this importance that have produced Regler’s book” (“Preface to The Great Crusade” 84); the same important events would produce Hemingway’s bestselling novel. Hemingway achieved a critical artistic nexus with For Whom the Bell Tolls, a point he deftly considered by commenting on the potential of his novel in the preface for another.

As each preface has shown, Hemingway’s concern with his writing career merged seamlessly into his writing for others, and he frequently defended the importance of writing in the face of critical scrutiny. Hemingway was writing Across the River and Into the Trees in 1949, and his introduction to Elio Vittorini’s In Sicily all but anticipates the


eventual critical backlash heaped upon the novel once released in 1950; it also continues his dedication to active art over idle criticism in perhaps his strongest language to date. In many ways, his final published preface for another writer considers the power of literary authority in a contentious literary landscape. Most telling is his attention to critics as dust upon the earth, an “Academic” America/Italy that “periodically attacks all writing like a dust storm and is always, until everything shall be completely dry, dispersed by rain”

(“Introduction to In Sicily” 102). He characterizes New York literary reviews (and reviewers) as “dry and sad, inexistent without the water of their benefactors, feeding on the dried manure of schism and the dusty taste of disputed dialectics, their only flowering a desiccated criticism as alive as stuffed birds, and their steady mulch the dehydrated cuds of fellow critics” (103); opposed to these reviewers are the “good writers,” made of

“knowledge, experience, wine, bread, oil, salt, vinegar, bed, early mornings, nights, days, the sea, men, women, dogs, beloved motor cars, bicycles, hills and valleys, the appearance and disappearance of trains on straight and curved tracks, love, honor and disobey” (103). These natural elements bring life to the dry country, creating for

Hemingway a stimulant which encourages literary growth. He heralds Vittorini for “his ability to bring rain with him when he comes if the earth is dry and that is what you need”

(103) and assures readers that “if there is any rhetoric or fancy writing that puts you off at the beginning or the end just ram through it. Remember he wrote the book in 1937 under

Fascism and he had to wrap it in a fancy package. It is necessarily wrapped in cellophane to pass the censor” (103). Since Hemingway finds Vittorini’s politics “honorable,” he rewards the author with a preface that promotes life against death, growth against stagnation, writing against criticism.


The importance lies in Hemingway’s use of natural metaphors to describe writers and unnatural metaphors to describe critics. He had critiqued fakery and dishonest writing in Green Hills of Africa a decade earlier, calling New York writers (and critics)

“angleworms in a bottle, trying to derive knowledge and nourishment from their own contact and from the bottle” (GHOA 21); these writers suffer from writing “when there is nothing to say or no water in the well” (23). Criticism feeds on art and exerts pressure on authors, and those authors “read the critics and they must write masterpieces. The masterpieces the critics say they wrote. They weren’t masterpieces, of course. They were just quite good books. So now they cannot write at all. The critics have made them impotent” (24). Critics render the natural writing process sterile, and given the upcoming publication of Across the River and the Into the Trees, we can read his introduction to In

Sicily as preparation for critical reaction. We can also read it as a piece on par with his other work critical of literary critics. Whether this piece was written solely to promote

Vittorini’s reprint or as a call for readers to stick with Hemingway regardless of critical favor, the introduction to In Sicily highlights the importance of writing in the midst of critical uncertainty. Rain and growth must win out over dryness and death, his active, natural metaphors populating pages in the face of critics’ unnatural, artificial tomes. The organic force of writing combats any critical onslaught, and the rain inevitably comes and nourishes the dry country.

For Hemingway writing meant action, and nowhere were his comments on active writing qualities more apparent (and reinforced) than in his introductions for other authors. Hemingway sides squarely with the writer over the critic, the creator over the consumer, and the active over the idle, and in this unique prefatory space Hemingway


was able to create a battleground where the efforts of good writing could always win out over critical trends. Therefore, we should not excuse Hemingway’s prefaces, for his craft, talent, and knowledge of literary publication attune readers to the functions of authorship in his time, with control over literary value at stake from his first preface to his last.


III: I Hope that I am Very Prejudiced: Authority Reconsidered

I’m just a God-damned writer. – Ernest Hemingway49

Hemingway’s prefatory output from 1935 until the end of the shows an evolved sense of authority for the writer. With his earlier unpublished pieces,

Hemingway attempted to position himself in an already established genre: the authorial preface; with “Introduction by the Author” for In Our Time he created something so unlike the genre that his preface would complement his fiction in aesthetic rather than pedagogic terms. By the middle 1930s Hemingway’s output was strong.50 After republishing In Our Time in 1930 he released his immense bullfighting treatise, Death in the Afternoon (1932); began writing letters for ’s popular men’s magazine Esquire; and brought out a new collection of short stories, Winner Take

Nothing (1934). Aside from two unpublished introductions to the glossary, his published

“Bibliographical Note,” and the extensive appendices – complete with photographs, a glossary of terms, and other ephemera – Death in the Afternoon possessed no prefatory material.51 Incidentally, Hemingway’s experiment did not result in the kind of reception or sales he had hoped for; the book sold for $3.50 a copy, a large sum given the

Depression, and “the indifference of the so-called common reader” restricted sales (Lousy

Racket 124).52 Perkins hoped for a novel to follow Death, a stance the editor usually took

49 EH to MP: 16 November 1934 (Only Thing 214).

50 Grissom includes over 120 C-Items from 1930-1939 in his bibliography of Hemingway (532-534).

51 For an excellent study of the paratexts in Death in the Afternoon, see Nancy Bredendick’s “ ‘¿Que´ tal, hombre, que´ tal?’: How Paratexts Narrow the Gap between Reader and Text in Death in the Afternoon.”

52 20,780 copies were eventually printed, and if all were sold Hemingway would have earned approximately one-quarter the amount he made on A Farewell to Arms three years earlier (Lousy Racket 124-5).


with his authors after a story collection or a nonfiction work. However, Hemingway pressed through – which was not well-received –before settling on an account of his 1933–34 African with wife Pauline and other hunters. The result was his major offering of 1935, Green Hills of Africa, which marked the mid-point of

Hemingway’s most productive decade.53

Green Hills of Africa is significant for a number of reasons. Hemingway seamlessly blurs time to create a non-linear narrative centered on landscape, atmosphere, and “word pictures” (Reynolds Hemingway: The 1930s 205); he counteracts the nonfictional elements of the safari with the prose style of a novel, particularly in a single- sentence, stream-of-consciousness description of the Gulf Stream and artistic longevity

(GHOA 148-50); at several junctures Hemingway analyzes the role of critics in American letters and cites their negative practice of forcing writers to “write masterpieces” as opposed to taking risks (24);54 and finally, the work tests Hemingway’s notion of the

“fourth and fifth dimension in writing,” whereby time and memory fuse with the concrete realities of the landscape and the hunt (27). Much scholarly work chiefly focuses on these subjects, and rightly so. Due to its secondary status within the Hemingway canon, Green

Hills suffers from quote-picking, and many of the meanings and intentions of the work go unnoticed and undervalued. However, the importance of the work comes not from an independent context but rather from pieces of the work which help illuminate outside

53 He would go on to write his fourth novel, To Have and Have Not (1937), his first and only play, The Fifth Column (1938), an omnibus collection of his stories (published with the play), The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938), and he began drafting his bestselling mid-career masterwork For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) in March 1939 (Lousy Racket 198). He was also instrumental in the production of the Spanish Civil War documentary The Spanish Earth (1937), doubling as its narrator.

54 Trogdon describes the work as Hemingway’s “most involved and systematic answer to his critics” (“Forms of Combat” 2).


practices. I make this point for one reason: Green Hills of Africa condenses so much of

Hemingway’s authority into a complex text that our understanding of his 1930s persona relies on its unpacking. A point of reference for such an exercise rests in his three sentence foreword to the American edition, and a short “Dedicatory Letter to Mr. J.P.” for the first English edition.55 With these prefaces Hemingway sparingly offers his intentions while commenting on the reduction of authorial value his previous works had engendered. Robert E. Fleming points out that with Green Hills, and other 1930s offerings, “Hemingway seems both concerned and troubled about the possible failures of a writer, potential heresies against the faith that had informed his whole life” (67). Green

Hills – as with Death in the Afternoon – is as much about writing and authorship as it is about the natural world, and as he wrote Perkins on 30 April 1934, from the outset

Hemingway’s intentions relied on the following: “my idea of a career is never to write a phony line, never fake, never cheat, never be sucked in by the y.m.c.a. movement of the moment, and to give them as much literature in a book as any son of a has ever gotten in the same number of words” (Only Thing 208). With this intensity of purpose,

Hemingway’s prefaces to Green Hills of Africa represent the author’s wish to comment on reading and critical tastes, a position he would continue to mine in various texts moving forward.

Hemingway’s shortest and most subtle preface, the foreword to Green Hills encapsulates authorial and pedagogical intention simultaneously, which results in clarity of purpose. The foreword reads in its entirety:

55 Genette describes a “contract of fiction” of a preface, as “a function that is more or less inevitably reserved for works of fiction, particularly novelistic fiction, consists of what I will call (with the touch of suspicion that adheres to the term) professing the work’s fictiveness” (215). He cites Hemingway’s foreword as a “humorously reversed” example of the contract function (217). 216

Unlike many novels, none of the characters or incidents in this book is

imaginary. Any one not finding sufficient love interest is at liberty, while

reading it, to insert whatever love interest he or she may have at the time.

The writer has attempted to write an absolutely true book to see whether

the shape of a country and the pattern of a month’s action can, if truly

presented, compete with a work of the imagination. (GHOA vii)

In terms of function, the foreword reads as a distillation of Wordsworth’s “Preface to the

Lyrical Ballads,” which opens: “It was published, as an experiment, which, I hoped, might be of some use to ascertain, how far, by fitting to metrical arrangement a selection of the real language of men in a state of vivid sensation, that sort of pleasure and that quantity of pleasure may be imparted, which a Poet may rationally endeavour to impart”

(1). Wordsworth’s mixing of real language and vivid sensation pairs with Hemingway’s desire to blend true action with the imagination and asks the reader to accept the writer’s imparted “quantity of pleasure.” The first sentence is a play on legal disclaimers, specifically ones found in A Farewell to Arms and In Our Time, when Hemingway and

Perkins were chiefly concerned with libel dating back to The Sun Also Rises.56 Rather than simply state the realism of all characters, Hemingway reminds readers of the novel conventions he works under and describes his characters in novelistic terms. This book is not like the others, and he affirms the position of his new text by negating fictional traditions.

56 EH to MP, 17 November 1933: “95 per cent of The Sun Also was pure imagination. I took real people in that one and I controlled what they did – I made it all up –” (Only Thing 203). Hanneman notes that Hemingway insisted on adding a legal disclaimer to the second American printing of A Farewell to Arms, though it ceased to run with the novel after that printing (24).


The second sentence is a veiled crack at his novel writing, for his preceding novels included romantic relationships and were advertised as such alongside their war connotations. Though Green Hills charts a month in Hemingway’s marriage to Pauline

Pfeiffer, the relationship is secondary to the narrative, which operates on landscape and action rather than romance or domesticity. He calls instead for readers “while reading” to include some if they wish, a comic aside which forces readers to recognize the author’s shift in focus. The final sentence of the foreword outlines the three main tenants of the book: truth, landscape, and action. Hemingway’s role as “writer” rather than “author” is important. First, by characterizing himself as the writer he leads his readers toward reality rather than fiction, even if that reality is populated by fictional prose. Second, the act of writing takes precedence over authorial posturing. The word “author” does not appear once in Green Hills of Africa, whereas derivations of “writer” appear over forty times.

Needless to say, the writer of Green Hills takes precedence over the author, a splitting of functions Hemingway had played with in Death in the Afternoon three years earlier.57

Third, by designing his work to “compete with a work of the imagination,” Hemingway forces readers back into his own writing canon. The competition, centered on creating something from real lived experience which has the ability to foster similar emotional and visceral reactions akin to fiction, represents Hemingway’s desire to topple critical negativity toward his experimentation. When Perkins considered publishing pictures with the book Hemingway replied, “I don’t think pictures help the book. I make the pictures”

(Letter to Perkins ca. 14 April 1935). The foreword is also similar to Perkins’s 30 August

1935 directive to Hemingway, where “All you have to do is follow your own judgment,

57 Death in the Afternoon features a long middle section devoted to a dialogue between “Old Lady” and “Author,” whereby Hemingway steps out of his writerly persona in order to characterize and subtly lampoon authority itself. See Hilary K. Justice’s The Bones of the Others for a full analysis. 218

or instinct, + disregard what is said […] the utterly real thing in writing is the only thing that counts, + the whole racket melts down before it” (Only Thing 224). Perkins wanted

Hemingway to complete the book as he saw fit, and he allowed his author to complicate his critical reputation in favor of aesthetic merit. The piece acts as a harbinger for what is expected, similar to his unpublished preface to The Torrents of Spring. Without the foreword the book may still have weight, but because he adds a preface Hemingway points directly to what he wants this book to achieve.

Michael Reynolds notes that Green Hills of Africa was meant to “turn everything around” for Hemingway in the mid-thirties, since “from the beginning, he establishes ground rules: no photographs, he makes his own word pictures; keep the price at $2.50; never advertise it as a novel or a travel book” (Hemingway: The 1930s 204-5). Indeed, throughout his correspondence with Perkins, Hemingway consistently spoke highly of his work, much higher than his follow-up novel To Have and Have Not. His praise was a matter of authenticity, for “after you have read it I think you will have been there” (Only

Thing 215).58 However, the confidence began with renewed artistic vigor, as Hemingway wrote Perkins from : “there is a time in every man’s life, if he is worth a damn, when he has to be unpopular. The only writers who survived the war were the ones who did not believe in it. You have to believe in writing. I am against and outside of this present damned YMCA economic hurrah business and you will find, when it is over, that

I will be neither old-fashioned, nor behind the times” (205).59 Obviously on the author’s mind were the critical responses that Winner Take Nothing was receiving, as well as his

58 EH to MP: 20 November 1934.

59 17 January 1934.


continued strain with Scribner’s. Since he and the firm had not produced a true winner since A Farewell to Arms (1929), tensions undoubtedly took their toll. Hemingway continued writing Perkins concerning professionalism and honesty, traits he intended to manifest completely in his next work. While critiquing Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night

Hemingway noted that “you can make up every word, thought, and action. But you must make them up truly. Not fake them to suit your convenience or to fit some remembered actions. And you must know what things are about” (209).60 This hearkens specifically to the idea of honest depiction he intended with Green Hills of Africa, even if those depictions were wrought upon a reading public ill-equipped to recognize their importance

(i.e. – Death in the Afternoon). Hemingway wanted to force the issue, a trend present throughout his career. Much of his correspondence leading up to the publication of Green

Hills of Africa directly links writing ideology to fictional components, in which

Hemingway acts out what he had rehearsed with Perkins. These correlations lead to the foreword, a deft condensation of critical and popular authority that results in a clear evocation of Hemingway’s combative intentionality.

The rehearsal is key to understanding Hemingway’s text. Writing Perkins on 16

November 1934, Hemingway asserted: “you know why your geniuses stall so long and are afraid to publish may very well be because they have a big fear inside of them that it’s phoney instead of being a World Masterpiece and are afraid somebody will find it out”

(Only Thing 214). Referring to Thomas Wolfe and Fitzgerald respectively, Hemingway

60 EH to MP: 30 April 1934.


places himself above both authors to remind Perkins of his stature.61 He continues, “It’s better to write good ones one at a time and let the critics jump on what they don’t like and have orgasms about what they do like and you know they’re good yourself and write them and get them out and not give a good God-damn about what anybody says” (214).

He feels that “the only way you can do that is not to fake and most of the boys, if they don’t fake, would be starved to death by Wednesday next” (214). These link directly to

Green Hills, in which Hemingway informs Kandisky that economics and critics destroy

American writers, and “if they believe the critics when they say they are great then they must believe them when they say they are rotten and they lose confidence” (GHOA 23).

Even worse, “they read the critics and they must write masterpieces. The masterpieces the critics say they wrote. They weren’t masterpieces, of course. They were just quite good books. So now they cannot write at all. The critics have made them impotent” (24).

Once Kandisky asks Hemingway about the “damn serious subject,” he defines “the kind of writing that can be done. How far prose can be carried if any one is serious enough and has luck. There is a fourth and fifth dimension that can be gotten […] it is a prose that has never been written. But it can be written, without tricks and without cheating” (26-27).

This oft-quoted section calls back directly to his correspondence with Perkins, as well as his foreword. Asking readers and critics to insert a love story if necessary stokes the initial fire, and Hemingway asserts his goal of truth-telling amidst the current literary landscape before concluding that action propels his narrative more so than ornamentation; this directive gives readers clear instructions. His attention to “shape” and

“pattern” clearly situates the physical specifics of a landscape and the structural specifics

61 In the same letter Hemingway calls the title to a recent Wolfe story (entitled “Dark in the Forest, Strange as Time”) “the most Christ-awful grandiloquent title of anything I ever read,” before referencing his “overassed and underbrained contemporaries, your World Geniuses” (Only Thing 214). 221

of his book. By requiring an amplified reader to read his book, Hemingway makes his performance clear to them, as clear as he had to Kandisky and Perkins. 62

In essence, Hemingway performs for his readers. Thomas Strychacz refers to the book as a “drama of manhood-fashioning acted out before an audience that crucially affects his sense of manhood by approving or scorning his efforts” (171). Similarly,

Kevin Maier discusses a dichotomy inherent in Hemingway’s hunting ideology, asking

“how could the hunter be at once an elite individual and a democratic everyman? How could the hunter be both a gentleman sportsman and a frontier backwoodsman?” (267).

Hemingway’s doubling of critical and popular acceptance with brash artistic and personal individualism coalesces initially in his foreword, structurally prior to making his connections within the text proper. In the case of Green Hills, Robert O. Stephens clarifies Hemingway’s awareness “of the pitfalls of the travel-writing tradition.

Hemingway thought he could practice it more honestly than some” (65). However,

Reynolds points to early criticism of the book, where “no none saw clearly what he was trying for in his multi-dimensional prose, but if he did it well enough, no one on first reading should have noticed” (Hemingway: The 1930s 215). In many ways, Green Hills was a complex dual experiment for Hemingway. He wanted to be both critically accepted and dismissive of criticism; he wanted readers to track kudu with him and get lost in the

African savannah; he wanted to write the action and emotion of a novel without writing a novel; his foreword claims to present a “writer” attempting something new, while butting

62 Hemingway wrote Perkins, “there’s no feeling, Max, like knowing you can do the old stuff, even though it makes you fairly insufferable at the time to your publisher” (Only Thing 214); “The old stuff” is a reference to Hemingway’s efforts in writing “Big Two-Hearted River,” the story to which he frequently compared Green Hills. 222

against other authorial imaginations in competition. His conscience effort to enact complexity behind the mask of truth draws textual antagonisms.

During his long flashback in Part II, Hemingway compares scars with his guide

Droopy, for “my own scars were all informal, some irregular and sprawling, others simply puffy welts. I had one on my forehead that people still commented on, asking if I had bumped my head; but Droop had handsome ones beside his cheekbones and others, symmetrical and decorative, on his chest and belly” (GHOA 53). Similarly, Hemingway wrote Perkins two years earlier and commented openly on critics and their role in his public authority: “I’m just getting to the age when a novelist really starts—And they all

(critics) have tried to bury me after every book. Instead of being brittle am very durable

(in spite of G. Stein) and only bones I’ve ever broken were broken by the full weight of a car turning over on my arm and by high explosive” (Only Thing 199-200).63 At play are

Hemingway’s textual and actual wounds. His “informal” wounding does not compare to the tribal wounds he admires in Droopy and others, but his durability and acceptance matters in terms of action, writing, and hunting. Following the scar comparison,

Hemingway shoots a reedbuck for meat. After bleeding the animal out he starts “to open him, with the little knife, still showing off to Droopy, and emptying him neatly took out the liver, cut away the gall, and laying the liver on a hummock, put the kidneys aside”

(GHOA 54). The showing off is a result of Hemingway’s subtle reaction to Droopy’s superior scarring, as he enacts something visceral to counteract what we perceive he lacks. Strychacz argues that “performance in Green Hills always involves an unsettling negotiation between the primary meanings of the word: performance as an unfolding in action of one’s will, and performance as confronting one’s actions to an audience’s

63 EH to MP: 31 August 1933. 223

expectations” (173). Between personal will and exterior expectation, Hemingway accepts

Droopy’s hunting acumen, as well as his “good tricks,” which leads to increased personal confidence: “I knew that I was shooting well and I had that feeling of well being and confidence that is so much more pleasant to have than to hear about” (GHOA 55).

However, in defining his own experience Hemingway denies his readers’ access, as he prefers to own his feeling rather than relay them to others. By setting up this antagonism in his foreword, Hemingway seeks to complicate his own textual play by bringing his readers in and out of the experience; this effectively forces readers to “compete” with

Hemingway’s imagination.

The complicated experimentation behind Green Hills of Africa generates from the author’s foreword, which begins a chain reaction of dual ideas played out amidst a landscape few had experienced. Though the foreword to the first American edition adds to the duality and establishes a somewhat firm ground for readers to begin, his

“Dedicatory Letter to Mr. J.P.” for the first English edition the following year – 3 April

1936 – complicates intention further. Reynolds notes the disparate reviews Green Hills received upon its publication, “for a writer desperately wanting his work to be well received, Hemingway was almost daring the reviewers to trash Green Hills,” and “to seek unqualified praise from the very critics his book professed to despise was, he now saw, a game he was bound to lose. No one, it seemed, wanted natural history from a novelist whose last novel was published six years ago” (Hemingway: The 1930s 205, 215). Such critical indifference led to Hemingway omitting his initial dedication – “To Philip, to

Charles, and to Sully” – and foreword in favor of a single letter to Mr. J.P.64 In doing so,

64 Jackson Phillips in the book, based on Philip Percival, the who accompanied the Hemingways on their safari in 1933. 224

Hemingway utilizes the prefatory space to respond, yet again, to critical standards his works fought to refine and defy. Hemingway instructs Mr. J.P.:

Just tell them you are a fictional character and it is your bad luck to have a

writer put such language in your speeches. We all know how prettily the

best brought up people speak but there are always those not quite out of

the top drawer who have an ‘orrid fear of vulgarity. You will know, too,

how to deal with anyone who calls you Pop. Remember you weren’t

written of as Pop. It was all this fictional character. Anyway the book is

for you and we miss you very much. (GHOA English Ed. 7)

Reynolds reads the new letter as a response to New York critics like John Chamberlain, who felt the book was “spoiled by characters all speaking in Hemingway’s pidgin

English […] Could people really speak this way, and would they keep asking the narrator to lecture them?” (Hemingway: The 1930s 214). As usual, Hemingway responded quickly and omitted his foreword in exchange for this letter only months after the

American edition appeared. Such a move continues the combative prefatory narrative of

Hemingway’s career. His clarification of truth and fiction in the letter does not appear in the foreword, for Hemingway held English readers in a higher regard than American readers. He explained to Arnold Gingrich one week after the release of the English edition that “over there they understand that a man might write about shooting or hunting and that those subjects do not automatically make the contents shit just as over here to write about a strike automatically makes it literature” (Letter to Arnold Gingrich 10 April

1936). His frustration mirrors Fitzgerald’s vitriol concerning Thomas Boyd’s 1926 novel

Samuel Drummond, which he called “dressing up a few heart throbs in overalls” (Dear


Scott/Dear Max 111). Hemingway did not want to explain himself, especially when it came to his writing, and he disapproved of American critics and readers evaluating his work against current popular trends.65 He expected readers to go along with his experiments needing little clarification, even though his duality throughout the text does exactly what his foreword says it will do. The prefaces for Green Hills of Africa show

Hemingway evolving his authority beyond the young architect of omission and into the combative man of letters that he eschewed for the remainder of his career.

Though the foreword to Green Hills of Africa had shown Hemingway dealing with a new level of critical and popular decline, his preface to The Fifth Column and the

First Forty-Nine Stories (1938) represents the author’s most straight-forward effort at preface-writing. Coming off the middling success of his 1937 novel To Have and Have

Not, Hemingway sought to publish and produce his new play, The Fifth Column, and put out an omnibus collection of short stories for fall 1938.66 Most of the correspondence between Perkins and Hemingway regarding these publishing matters deals with two major issues: one, should the play be published separately from the stories or as part of the omnibus; and two, in what order should the stories be set for the collection? These questions lingered between the two for most of 1938, with each offering solutions, schemes, and compromises. However, a unifying factor was developed by 12 July, when

Hemingway wrote Perkins: “the preface I would write, if you wanted a preface, would

65 Hemingway lamented the following to Perkins nine days after writing Gingrich, 19 April 1936: “[Critics] can’t tell literature from shit and I have no more illusions on that score, nor any of fairness, nor any idea but what they want to put you out of business. Nor will I ever again notice them, mention them, pay any attention to them, nor read them. Nor will I kiss their asses, make friends with them, nor truckle to them. Am going to work by myself, for myself and for the long future as I have always done” (Only Thing 243).

66 Compared to his earlier thirties offerings, the novel sold well. Trogdon reports that the novel sold over 37,000 copies (Lousy Racket 185), compared to 11,592 for Green Hills (164), 18,300 for Winner Take Nothing (142), 20,780 for Death in the Afternoon (124), and 4,275 for the Scribner’s In Our Time (104). 226

naturally be changed by whether the play was produced or not. Can write that in a day or two at the most at any time” (Only Thing 261). He recommended publishing “the play as the first story. Then the forty eight others” (261). He insisted on calling the book “The

Fifth Column and the first forty eight short stories of Ernest Hemingway” and concluded:

“put them all together and no matter how they damn them nor what happens I won’t feel bad because I know that there is the work that I have done, there you can see what I have learned, and all the vitality of dialogue and action is there in the play, and it comes after all that solid body of work” (261). His introduction to the collection would help explain the order in which pieces were written and result in a big book, and Hemingway noted that “I’d like to have a pretty big one for a change” (262).67 Important here are

Hemingway’s concerns with structure and narrative, specifically the authorial narrative derived from exhibiting his previous short story work with a new play. If an introduction were necessary, Hemingway would utilize its pedagogic function more so than before.

Always concerned with showing off his development, Hemingway’s second letter to Perkins on 12 July outwardly lists places alongside certain stories in response to

Perkins’s communication with early Hemingway bibliographer Louis Cohn.68 Believing

Cohn’s chronology “all preposterous” and “simply nonsense,” Hemingway gives allegedly concrete composition locations for “,” “The Killers,” “Today Is

Friday,” “A Banal Story,” “,” and “Hills Like White Elephants,” before asserting, “so if they are not to be chronological let’s have them in the order they

67 Hemingway wanted to publish his entire short story backlog in one book, including the stories from his collections In Our Time, Men Without Women, and Winner Take Nothing, as well as previously uncollected stories “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “Old Man at the Bridge,” “,” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.”

68 Known as “Captain” Cohn for his service in the French Foreign Legion during WWI, he published A Bibliography of the Works of Ernest Hemingway. New York: Random House, 1931.


were in the books which was always carefully worked out” (263). Hemingway rebuffs

Cohn’s chronology in favor of his own inner order, both artistically and editorially.69 He furthers his self-conscious attempt at exhibiting development, adding: “I could explain that by saying in introduction that some people complained that last novel was a little short so had decided that there should be plenty of reading matter in this book” (263).

Increasingly concerned with the size of his books, Hemingway wanted his book to contain “so much good reading, and so obviously good that you have them on quality and bulk anyway” (264). In fact the sales dummy referenced the “unmatched value” of the book, which contained stories “that thousands of readers will want to have in one book”

(rpt. in Lousy Racket 195). However, Hemingway finishes with a suggestion: “I could write a modest, straight, and I think interesting introduction about writing the stories and the play. There are some things which are rather impressive if just stated baldly about the play and there are some interesting things about the stories” (264). Within five weeks

Hemingway had drafted a preface to his omnibus collection, an essay designed to situate the multiple genres in the collection and clarify the composition of each part.

The preface considers the play and the short stories separately, with his first nine paragraphs centered on The Fifth Column. Unlike previous prefaces, Hemingway produces a straight-forward piece which chronicles the composition of the play, the difficulty in getting it produced, the significance of the title, and the greater implications of the play’s subject matter. The play “was written in the fall and early winter of 1937 while we were expecting an offensive” (FC v), and Hemingway recounts the excessive

69 This is the same lazy attitude Hemingway took with Scribner’s and the fifth printing of In Our Time. Hemingway usually disliked having to work too hard on story collections, especially ones composed of material he had already written and published.


shelling of his hotel, for “if it is a good play, perhaps those thirty some shells helped write it” (v). He also alleges to have kept the play “slipped inside the inner fold of a rolled up mattress” while he went to the front (v). Important are the additions

Hemingway made in typescript and galleys once the piece was drafted. A corrected carbon, dated 18 August 1938, features significant additions to the first half of the preface during drafting. Most apparent are Hemingway’s added flourishes regarding war and its impact on readers. Paragraph seven – concerning the fates of the captured members of the

Fifth Column – informs readers that “later they were to be tried and given prison or labor camp sentences or sentenced to execution depending upon the crimes they had committed against the Republic” (FC vi). He added the following in typescript: “But in the early days they were shot. They deserved to be and expected to be” (Preface Carbon 2). He would clarify this further in galleys, adding “under the rules of war” to read: “they deserved to be, under the rules of war, and they expected to be” (FC vi). Hammering home the immediacy of violence and judgment relates back to his in our time vignettes and A Farewell to Arms. The remainder of his changes were equal in weight and similar in structure, with many coming at the ends of various paragraphs to further modify his thematic immediacy. Hemingway wanted his readers to engage in the material as passionately as he had. After confessing that his play did not attempt to show “the nobility and dignity of the cause of the Spanish people,” he added in typescript: “It will take many plays and novels to do that, and the best ones will be written after the war is over” (vi). Indeed, the publication of his bestselling novel For Whom the Bell Tolls two years later – which took as its subject “the nobility and dignity of the cause of the

Spanish people” – made true his prophetic assertion that creative work would come from


the conflict, especially his own. His final major addition calls directly to readers and critics by indirectly judging their inexperience in the face of his carefully laid out experience: “But if being written under fire makes for defects, it may also give a certain vitality. You who read it will have a better perspective on this than I have” (vi). As with the Green Hills foreword, Hemingway knows his experience trumps that of his readers and critics, and rather than leave them to their own devices, he offhandedly reminds them of their vacancy in the face of his activity.

His short story section offers a catalogue of place names followed by a critique of his reception in the classroom, a critical move in the narrative of these materials. Before

Hemingway had little to say about the longevity of his fiction, but entering his fortieth year the author recognized the power his name now had in classrooms. He begins adroitly: “about the stories there is not much to say. The first four are the last ones I have written. The others follow in the order in which they were originally published” (vi). As he had assured Perkins, his preface would functionally explain the ordering of his stories, for chronology meant little in the face of theme. He informs readers that “the first one I wrote was Up in Michigan, written in Paris in 1921. The last was Old Man at the Bridge cabled from in April of 1938” (vi). He displays his worldliness and activity, cabling his last story from Spain only months before this collection was published. He then offers a list of writing locations and expands his cultured tone and dedication to landscape by mentioning Madrid; Paris; Key West, ; Cooke City, Montana;

Kansas City; Chicago; Toronto; and , (vii). Offering these places speaks directly to his second 12 July letter to Perkins, where he mentions Schruns, Madrid, and

Paris as composition locations for his stories (Only Thing 263). His overt concern with


location rebuts his declaration to Perkins that “if you put me on the witness stand I could not tell exactly when each story was written. Nor do I give a good god-damn” (263).

However, his preface shows a dedication to landscape and place equal to his work in

Green Hills, and from this point on Hemingway would continue to associate his work with the place of its composition.

After listing his favorite stories and referencing their usage in classrooms by teachers who “include them in story collections that their pupils have to buy in story courses, and you are always faintly embarrassed to read them and wonder whether you really wrote them or did you maybe hear them somewhere,” he singles out “The Light of the World” as a story “which nobody ever liked” (vii). From this he concludes that “there are some others too. Because if you did not like them you would not publish them” (vii).

Throughout this section Hemingway ably deconstructs the difference between author and writer; this intentionally puts the author Hemingway – the one taught in schools – at odds with the writer Hemingway – the one cabling stories from Spain during a civil war. His dedication to approving his own material in the face of market demands references his somewhat derisive comments70 regarding authors like Fitzgerald, who “is scared and builds up all sorts of defences like the need for making money with stories etc. all to avoid facing the thing through” and who “has ever had more talent or wasted it more”

(Only Thing 71, 82).71 Hemingway makes certain to elevate his work over his public persona and concludes with an oft-quoted metaphor concerning writing:

70 EH to MP: 21 April 1928; EH to MP: 11 October 1928.

71 Fitzgerald wrote many stories purely for profit, a point Hemingway disliked. However, Bruccoli notes that Fitzgerald disparaged his commercial work as much as Hemingway (Fitzgerald and Hemingway: A Dangerous Friendship 92).


In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing

what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with.

But I would rather have it bent and dulled and know I had to put it on the

grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and

know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and

shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but

unused. (FC vii)72

Here is Hemingway the creator, the chiseler of words and images, the sculptor of prose – a pose he amiably performs in service to his fiction. He uses the almost child-like metaphor of putting one’s instrument to the grindstone to simplify his process for readers.

By publishing the collection near the end of a critically and commercially difficult decade, Hemingway reinforces his dedication to work and action over easy contemplation or flippant pleasantry and reminds readers of his work ethic and craft. Selling a play and stories with a long, cumbersome title required something direct from Hemingway, so direct that he concludes: “now it is necessary to get to the grindstone again. I would like to live long enough to write three more novels and twenty-five more stories. I know some pretty good ones” (vii). If ever Hemingway pleaded with his public to stay with him regardless of critical fanfare, this is it. He informs readers and critics that he has more left in the tank, and he sets up his public for future results. A strikingly prophetic comment considering the publication of For Whom the Bell Tolls soon after, his preface to The

72 Hemingway offered a similar call in Death in the Afternoon concerning wine drinking and experience: “Our bodies all wear out in some way and we die, and I would rather have a palate that will give me the pleasure of enjoying completely the Chateaux Margaux or a Haut Brion, even though excesses indulged in in the acquiring of it has brought a liver that will not allow me to drink Richebourg, Corton, or Chambertin, than to have the corrugated iron internals of my boyhood when all red wines were bitter except port and drinking was the process of getting down enough of anything to make you feel reckless” (DIA 11). 232

Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories offers a straight-forward view of a writer recognizing his ability, and betting on future results to further his public persona.

With bets come results, and when Hemingway published For Whom the Bell Tolls in 1940 the book reinvigorated his popular and critical acclaim. The novel both won and lost Hemingway a Pulitzer Prize, and the book made enough money for him to live off of for the rest of his life.73 Coming off renewed success and authority, Hemingway’s final two prefaces of the 1940s show yet another authorial guise, represented in the introductions to Men at War (1942; revised 1955) and an illustrated edition of A Farewell to Arms (1948). Issues of war consumed Hemingway’s writing as he transitioned from the Spanish Civil War to the Second World War. Collected primarily for troop support and morale, the short story anthology Men at War was the brainchild of Nat Wartels at

Crown Publishers, who asked Hemingway to edit and introduce the collection in March

1942, with the author “putting his shoulder to the war wheel as best he could” (Reynolds,

Hemingway: The Final Years 54). Reynolds claims that much of the introduction was a result of Hemingway’s non-involvement in the current war, his piece a partial reaction to his stasis (55). Much of the correspondence leading up to publication, as with his other works, centers on the purpose of the piece, which blends a distinct love of country with a blunt, straight-forward presentation meant to “instruct and inform rather than to influence anyone’s opinion” (MAW xxvi). Over 10,000 words long, the piece stands as his longest preface, even if it accompanied the stories of others. His role in Men at War leads to the more caustic and cynical author of the introduction to A Farewell to Arms six years later, both war-inspired – and war-haunted – pieces.

73 The novel was chosen by a selection committee as the winner before the executive committee rejected the selection. No award was given that year. 233

Once commissioned to write the introduction to Men at War, Hemingway consulted the only editor whose advice he trusted: Max Perkins. In a 12 March 1942 letter, Perkins reminds his author that “a book is a book whoever publishes it, and if they do a good anthology of war stories they will have done something” (Only Thing 317) and offers a crowning piece of editorial advice: “Anything that spreads a writer’s public is to his advantage” (318). For Hemingway, the collection would initiate his authority in the war effort; he would become a keeper and purveyor of war history while offering troops gusto and support. Though important to his public image, the anthology created a thorn in

Hemingway’s side, as he cut and added stories to fit his editorial concerns and struggled to write a 10,000 word introduction. Exasperated, he apologized to Perkins over a potential volume of stories for Scribner’s:

I am very sorry, Max, if you are disappointed in not having the manuscript

by the end of June or early July as I had planned. It is that damned war

anthology which has held me up. I take it you also know the difficulty of

working in these times. I can really do it though but it involves putting

yourself into a sort of temporary vacuum, and you do not feel very happy

in that place. I have to do it though in order to be free to do what I want

and I will do it and finish it. (320)74

Hemingway knew the part his authorial role played in editing and introducing the collection. In order to break into the war effort, a large writing effort was warranted.

Earlier in the letter he wants the book to “do some good” (319), before concluding with the charge “to make this book into a good weapon” (320). His piece offers a cogent, if at times overwrought, analysis of honor and moral. He presses that “we must win it. We

74 30 May 1942. 234

must win it at all costs and as soon as possible, We must win it never forgetting what we are fighting for, in order that while we are fighting Fascism we do not slip into the idea and ideals of Fascism” (MAW xi-xii). In a 25 August 1942 letter to third wife Martha

Gellhorn, Hemingway conceded: “I couldn’t be Olympian about the subject of war with a war on. Instead wrote all the things I thought needed saying but probably put them too badly or two baldly so may have to address me next care of the competent authorities”

(Letter to ). The usual deference present in his finished prefaces is instead filtered through correspondence with Gellhorn, and he wrote her several times during his Men at War assignment. Perhaps these letters helped Hemingway shed the self-deprecating pose he usually assumed in preface writing; the result is a massive essay on war, politics, society, and the role of honor.75

James Meredith points out that for Hemingway the Second World War featured

“arguably his most intense and involved war experiences” (402),76 and Carlos Baker argues that “his consolation was that all these vital new experiences were going to give him plenty to write about after the war was over” (385). In fact Rose Marie Burwell attests that Hemingway “had gone reluctantly and late to report on WW II, filled with anger, quite literally in a mood to kill, and half-hoping to die a heroic death witnessed by the kind of men he most admired” (52). Early in his introduction he relays his combat history motives and reminds readers “that nothing could happen to me that had not happened to all men before me. Whatever I had to do men had always done. If they had

75 Hemingway would explore these concepts more fully in his preface to editor Ben Raeburn’s war anthology, Treasury For the Free World (1946). With the war over, he offers a harsher critique of war and its aftermath.

76 Michael Reynolds lists Hemingway’s various war activities, including patrolling Cuban waters with his boat, the , hunting u-boats, serving as a frontline correspondent for Collier’s, and joining the 22nd Infantry Regiment (Hemingway: The Final Years 362). 235

done it then I could do it too and the best thing was not to worry about it” (MAW xii). He then claims, “I would have given anything for a book like this which showed what all the other men that we are a part of had gone through and how it had been with them” (xii- xiii). He places himself in a continuum of combat participants, consciously equalizes himself with past and present soldiers, and asserts his textual significance in creating a volume he wished he could have used. He insists that the “one complete obligation” of a writer during wartime is “to tell the truth,” which only elevates his stature as the writer of

“absolute truth” (xiv). Prior to beginning a preview of the stories in his collection,

Hemingway concludes: “So each year in July, the anniversary of the month when I got the big wound, I read ‘The Middle Parts of Fortune’ and it all comes back again as though it were not yesterday, nor long ago, but as though it were this morning before daylight and you were waiting there, dry-mouthed, for it to start” (xv).77 He is present, ready, and prepared by history to act upon his goal to combat forces set against the ideals of his country.

In his introduction, Hemingway bands together with the present age of soldiers and promotes his own future involvement should it come. He finally assures readers and soldiers that “this introduction is written by a man, who, having three sons to whom he is responsible in some ways for having brought them into this unspeakably balled-up world, does not feel in any way detached or impersonal about the entire present mess we live in.

Therefore, be pleased to regard this introduction as absolutely personal rather than impersonal writing” (xxiii). Reinforcing his sincerity is another equalizing act, and

Hemingway assures readers that his words would prove crucial to the war effort and serve “as a corrective after experience” (xxiii). To be clear, Hemingway intended for his

77 The Middle Parts of Fortune is a Great War novel by published in 1929. 236

words to matter, and he recognizes the endurance of the country should the war come to an end. The need to endure inhabits not only his government and country, but also his authority and writing practice. The functionality of the introduction to Men at War, coupled with its dual purpose of entering Hemingway into the war effort, sets up the cynicism and reduction inherent in the introduction to the 1948 illustrated reissue of A

Farewell to Arms, his final preface written in service to one of his own works.

Prior to Max Perkins’s death on 17 June 1947, he and Hemingway had brought up the possibility of releasing some of the author’s earlier titles with illustrations, constituting a new edition of his most celebrated works. Writing Perkins on 5 March

1947, Hemingway noted: “I think Patrick might do a good A Farewell To Arms. Will not know for a while. If I can get to Europe think I might be able to get Picasso to do at least one of the books. He can illustrate beautifully you know and is a good friend of mine. I would like to have really good illustrations” (Only Thing 340). His concern with quality illustrations, along with recommending his own son and Picasso, relates back to

Hemingway’s earlier experience with the photographs in Death in the Afternoon and the drawings in Green Hills of Africa.78 As much as Hemingway appreciated creating word- pictures, when he wanted quality adornments he frequently provided plenty of possibilities. Perkins agreed about quality illustrations, though he bristled at Picasso, fearing “that he would not do what he should as an illustrator, and subordinate himself to the writer” (341).79 One week following Perkins’s death, Charles Scribner III wrote

Hemingway concerning his status with the firm and updated him on various projects in

78 “Decorations” were provided by highly respected Scribner’s illustrator Edward Shenton and are still a part of the book to this day.

79 MP to EH, 19 March 1947.


the hopper.80 He mentions “a new edition of A FAREWELL TO ARMS about which

Max and I were talking about the last day he was here” (343). Hemingway responded three days later and assured Scribner that even though “one of my best and most loyal friends and wisest counselors in life as well as in writing is dead,” he intended to stay with the firm (345). He mentions the three volume edition of A Farewell to Arms, The

Sun Also Rises, and For Whom the Bell Tolls, “showing the relationship between the three with illustrations and an introduction by [Malcolm] Cowley” (345), and acknowledges Scribner’s earlier idea of A Farewell to Arms discussed with Perkins. The three volume set never came to fruition, but an edition of A Farewell to Arms, featuring illustrations by Daniel Rasmussen and an introduction by Hemingway, was published on

15 November 1948 (Hanneman 28).

As the final piece written in service to his own work, the introduction displays

Hemingway’s varied guises simultaneously. At times humorous, serious, tragic, cynical, and prophetic, the introduction grants the author a platform to remind readers yet again who controls the means of artistic creation in the face of publishing compromise.

Hemingway saw himself quite differently in 1948, not having published any new fiction since 1940 and still reeling from his World War II experience. Reynolds notes that by late

1947 and early 1948, “the specter of his own death was never far from his consciousness;

‘the old whore,’ as he called her, was always there, rocking the cradle” (Hemingway: The

Final Years 163), and “the only newfound lands left to him were in his fictions” (164).

Though Reynolds acknowledges the renewed intensity with which Hemingway proceeded to write, the introduction to A Farewell to Arms provides a prophetic summing up of the author’s combative prefatory output dating back to the 1920s. In some ways a

80 CSIII to EH, 25 June 1947. 238

reduction and clarification of his immense introduction to Men at War, the theme of war pervades the piece, and Hemingway rehearses several themes found in the former introduction, the preface to The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories, “On the

Quai at Smyrna,” and the foreword to “The Lost Generation.” Even more prevalent are the deaths of major men of American letters, and how their deaths impacted his treatise on death and legacy. Having lost Fitzgerald in 1940 and Perkins just one year earlier,

Hemingway makes a fitting tribute, albeit cynical, to a lost generation of literary lights while professing his disgust with being left behind. Hemingway’s final piece serves his legacy well and offers a combative and tactful essay on death and its many forms.

Hemingway begins the introduction by establishing place, similar to his work with the short stories in The First Forty-Nine. He chronicles the various locales utilized in drafting the novel and offers a timeline for each draft, which results in a unique exercise in authorial memory:

This book was written in Paris, France, Key West, Florida, Piggot,

Arkansas, Kansas City, Missouri, Sheridan, , and the first draft

of it was finished near Big Horn in Wyoming. It was begun in the first

winter months of 1928 and the first draft was finished in September of that

year. It was rewritten in the fall and winter of 1928 in Key West and the

final rewriting was finished in Paris in the spring of 1929. (FTA 1948 vii)

Hemingway’s concern with tactile writing and the place of composition evokes a return to the past, with memory built on action and success. Each place and each draft positively mark Hemingway and his novel, as the method of actual writing outweighs reception.

Hemingway continually puts his readers through a worldly gauntlet of locales in order to


give his text physical and emotional subtexts. The text is a part of the landscape, and vice versa, and he created landscape out of experience. He fails to note the buildings or rooms in which each draft was written – which he had done for the short fiction in a 12 July

1938 letter to Perkins – instead allowing each place to breathe freely; this mirrors the effect Hemingway wanted for the locations in his novel. The exercise effectively maps

Hemingway’s greatest literary achievement and shows readers the mobility of the author rather than his stasis. He then recounts the duality of the human cycle – the birth of his son Patrick by Caesarean section and the suicide of his father Clarence – both events marking the history of the novel. He misremembers the novel appearing the day the stock market crashed and notes that “I always thought my father might wait for this event, but, perhaps, he was hurried then too. I do not like to make judgments since I loved my father very much” (vii). By bearing witness to the immense personal history of the novel, readers gain kinship with Hemingway and feel for his ability to muster strength in the midst of tragedy, a pose he fully intended with the introduction.

Much of this section was already rehearsed in an inscribed copy of the novel in

1929 to Dr. Don Carlos Guffey,81 in which Hemingway wrote: “This book was started in

Paris in January – written on in Key West in April – May – Piggot – Ark – early in June –

K.C. June – July – Finished in Wyoming in August and it was in September my father shot himself dead when I was half way through rewriting it” (rpt. in Ernest Hemingway:

A Literary Reference 99).82 The inscription, found on the final page of the novel, marries the reality of Pauline’s labor with Catherine’s death in childbirth. This inscription calcifies the event as integral to the end of the novel, a point made clear again when

81 Guffey delivered on 28 June 1928 (Baker 195).

82 Clarence Hemingway killed himself on 6 December 1928, not September as Hemingway recounts. 240

Hemingway recounts Patrick’s birth for his new introduction. He immediately testifies that “I remember all of these things happening and the places we lived in and the fine times and the bad times we had in that year,” which again continues his pose of absolute honesty. However, he rebuffs his real life experiences by remembering “much more vividly living in the book and making up what happened in it every day. Making the country and the people and the things that happened I was happier than I had ever been”

(FTA 1948 vii). Doubling his obvious frustration, sadness, and vexation over Patrick’s birth and Clarence’s death with the accomplishment of his novel allows Hemingway to claim ownership of his memory. By introducing his novel nearly twenty years after its first appearance, Hemingway offers lament, joy, sorrow, and happiness, with the positives coming from his work. Since readers would rather engage in material passionately created, the author gives them what they need to appreciate it fully.

He claims that his novel was an improvement on his first, which was apparently written too fast and exhausted him, though it taught him the power of revision (viii).

Hemingway’s account of early career composition techniques justifies his writing career, as he offers the gestational period by which his techniques forged and his work habits sharpened. Rather than recording exactly what happened, Hemingway strove to make one feel that events actually happened. He wanted to make and create rather than record and dictate. He told Perkins fifteen years earlier that, “the point is I want them all to sound as though they really happened. Then when I succeed those poor dumb pricks say they are all just skillful reporting. I invented every word and every incident of A Farewell To

Arms except possibly 3 or 4 incidents. All the best part is invented –” (Only Thing 202-


03).83 His introduction features a similar idea, as he states that “I believed that life was a tragedy and knew that it could have only one end. But finding you were able to make something up; to create truly enough so that it made you happy to read it; and to do this every day you worked was something that gave a greater pleasure than I had ever known.

Besides it nothing else mattered” (viii). Hemingway swings his focus fully toward his fiction and forces readers to forget the birth of Patrick, which for most would have been a happy moment. The fiction matters more so than biography or familial accounts, and his insistence on creating, making, doing, and knowing trumps any other artistic possibilities.

His emphasis on imagination – think Green Hills – overrules such accounts and leads him to decry the very illustrations in the new edition. Hemingway offers his answer to Charles

Scribner regarding illustrations: “That can be answered quite simply: unless the artist is as good or better a painter or draftsman than the writer is a writer, there can be no more disappointing thing than for the writer to see the things and the places and the people that he remembers making drawn and put on paper by someone else who was not there” (viii).

Hemingway must be the sole creator, and if his creation is to be interpreted, he will do the interpreting.

Earlier letters between Scribner and Hemingway offer background to the author’s thesis. Scribner asked Hemingway if he would write an introduction for the reprint, to which Hemingway eventually responded, “I do not give one inferior fuck whether

Scribners makes a dime on an edition such as you describe. All that is is a prestige (for me and you both) and a piece of good will edition and you do not need to make any money out of it,” before concluding: “But you don’t need love for Christ sake for a damn book publishing business or a government or a good military unit. All you need is

83 EH to MP: 17 November 1933. 242

loyalty. You have it” (Letter to Scribner 3 June 1948). Hemingway agreed, and his preface included a caustic review of the illustrations, which took Scribner by surprise.

Hemingway found Scribner’s view of the illustrator off-putting:

About the illustrator: if I hurt his feelings it is too bad. It was you who

asked me to write how it felt to be illustrated and I tried to answer

honestly. I believe an honest answer, if it is honest, in the end does no

harm to anyone. If a woman stinks but you pretend she smells wonderfully

sooner or later you arrive at the realization that she stinks. This has

nothing to do with the illustrator; only with the question of the honest

answer. (Letter to Scribner 25 August 1948)

Scribner was “a little disturbed at the prospect of meeting the poor guy who illustrated

‘Farewell,’ ” and added that “he just did your book because he thought so much of it and tried to give his feeling of it – not just illustrate scenes. Can will understand no two people see a novel the same way – least of all author + reader” (Letter to Hemingway 28

August 1948). He finally concludes that “illustrating books is usually stupid except perhaps costume book of another era to give the local color –” (Letter to Hemingway), and signals to Hemingway a marked caution regarding his introduction. Denouncing the marketing mechanism created for the new edition puts Hemingway in a tough spot. His 6

September response coolly deflated Scribner’s worries: “I don’t think illustrator should get sore. I just answered honestly. Maybe he is better than me. If he is he knows it. If he isn’t he has nothing to be sore about. Maybe just a quick and passing regret” (Letter to

Scribner). The debate over the quality of the illustrations did not end in pre-publication.

Once released, Scribner returned to the illustrations and told Hemingway that he “was


certain that you would like them, and I am only sorry that you took a crack at them in your introduction. It hurt the illustrator’s feelings. He is a most sincere young man, and if you can see your way to writing him a letter care of us, I know that it would be very much appreciated. It did not help the book any either” (Letter to Hemingway 21

December 1948). Hemingway responded furiously and reminded Scribner, “If he is a sensitive young man tell him to re-read it. His job is illustrateing [sic]. Mine is writing.

What am I supposed to do? Kiss his ass every time he comes up on the bridge?” (Letter to

Scribner 31 December 1948). He calms down mid-letter and apologizes – half-heartedly

– before offering his final judgment of the illustrations: “I tried to be nice about the illustrations. At first they struck me as absolutely mediocre; then they seemed, between covers, as respectable and pleasant but mediocre. I’m glad to buy the illustrator a drink, or tell him how wonderful he is if I have at least three drinks” (Letter to Scribner).

Hemingway’s treatment of the illustrations and the illustrator shows the author grappling with several artistic issues, and his attitude regarding reprinting previous work is in line with his earlier treatment of In Our Time and The First Forty-Nine. As he aged,

Hemingway continued to wrestle with authenticating his work through memory and experience, and his preface to A Farewell to Arms forecasts his intentions in A Moveable

Feast several years later.

Figuring why Hemingway chose to denounce the illustrations proves puzzling, as he goes on to list several artists he would prefer to work with, including Winslow Homer,

Toulouse Lautrec, and Renoir, if he were Guy de Maupassant. He then laments that “all those writers are dead and all of those painters are dead too, along with Max Perkins and the other people that died last year” (FTA 1948 viii). His quick shift to death echoes his


tales of execution for the preface to The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories, where death came full force in many forms. Hemingway now centers his work on death itself. He recalls a 1948 New Year’s party in where he and are drinking in a corner and refusing to participate in a game – a telling metaphor considering Perkins’s recent death. Once Bergman denounces Hemingway’s view that it will be “the worst year that we have ever seen,” the author assures her that “the wealthy and the gay crawling on their backs under this stretched cord or wooden stick did nothing to reassure me” (viii). Hemingway’s caustic view of the contemporary American landscape seems justified in the face his editor’s death, as well as the uncertain future of the “sea-air-land novel” Hemingway was writing (Reynolds, Hemingway: The Final

Years 185). With his future fortunes built on the strength of a back list, editions like the illustrated Farewell would assure Hemingway continued income, even if it meant reissuing with illustrations he disliked.

This “loose remembrance of things past” then delves into a catalogue of death

(Baker 466). As significant as the towns and locales were early on, the deaths of contemporaries and war victims loom larger now. Max Perkins, Fitzgerald, James Joyce,

Thomas Wolfe, John Bishop are all dead, as are “plenty of characters that should be dead,” referencing Mussolini in particular (FTA 1948 ix). The toll these deaths had on

Hemingway led to his cynicism, for “there are all the non-name men dead too; most of whom liked life very much” (ix). The specter of death, to which Reynolds refers, casts a long shadow on Hemingway’s preface from here on out. World War II enacted a greater trauma on Hemingway than any war prior, including World War I.84 His experiences

84 James Meredith, Rose Marie Burwell, and Michael Reynolds all consider the Second World War the greatest traumatic event of Hemingway’s life. 245

galvanized in the Men at War introduction return here, albeit more dejected and cynical.

Gone are the days of pleasure in writing, creating, and doing. Instead he now must remember, tolerate, and endure “the constant, bullying, murderous, slovenly crime of war” (x). In a vein similar to his Men at War introduction, Hemingway qualifies war participants as “the finest people that there are,” though he is “very prejudiced” due to his war experience (x). He relegates those who administer and plan war as “swine” that should be shot “by loyal citizens of their country who will fight it” (x). The countless victims of war and violence force Hemingway to counter in his introduction, as he offers to “take charge of this shooting” or be shot if he began a new war, “willing, if not pleased, to be shot by the same firing squad and be buried either with or without cellophane or be left naked on a hill” (xi). The macabre conclusion shows Hemingway grasping for closure amidst the backdrop of violence, the same violence inherent in his fictional account of World War I. Angry, unhappy, and filled with cynicism, Hemingway finally states, “so here is the book after nearly twenty years and this is the introduction”

(xi). Noticeably combative to the point of terming this piece an “anti-introduction,”

Hemingway’s many fissures are exposed within this piece, which leave the author to navigate “an inevitable gap between the author’s and the artist’s conception of things and places and people” (Baker 466), while equally widening the gap between he and his readers.

The last line is a fitting conclusion to Hemingway’s prefatory experimentation, as he had manipulated, satirized, tangled with, and altered the form to best suit his ever- evolving authorial conceptions. Prefaces offered Hemingway one of many canvases for authorial self-establishment, and he thoroughly explored that canvas for most of his


writing career. He wanted to be known as a creator rather than a reporter, and his final statements on writing came in the posthumously published A Moveable Feast (1964), the author’s memoir of Paris in the 1920s. Hemingway struggled over a preface for the book, and it was eventually released with a cobbled together foreword Hemingway did not write. But most important are his lasting impressions of memory, which for Hemingway was always a blend of construction and real experience. Though his memoir purports to contain honest renderings of actual events, conversations, and experiences, the chief purpose of A Moveable Feast was to solidify Hemingway’s status as active writer rather than passive critic. Several episodes point to a leitmotif of creation and construction, two metaphors which ably personify Hemingway’s career. In “A Good Café on the Place St.-

Michel” Hemingway creates a memory of story construction; though a story had begun by “writing itself,” Hemingway sharpened his pencil and “went back to writing and I entered far into the story and was lost in it. I was writing it now and it was not writing itself and I did not look up nor know anything about the time nor think where I was nor order any more rum St. James” (MF-RE 18). He felt as though he “had made love,” and

“was sure this was a good story although I would not know truly how good until I read it over the next day” (18). Hemingway insisted on furthering his own mythology, and he created episodes centered on writing, action, and creation, ideas he had covered extensively in his prefaces. He advises writers in “On Writing in the First Person” that

“while you were making [stories] up you had to make them happen to the person who was telling them. If you do this successfully enough, you make the person who is reading them believe that the things happened to him too. If you can do this you are beginning to get what you are trying for, which is to make something that will become part of the


reader’s experience and part of his memory” (181).85 Hemingway’s attention to active creation over passive recording culminates in the final lines of the first paragraph, for ultimately “there must be things that [the reader] did not notice when he read the story or the novel which, without his knowing it, enter into his memory and experience so that they are a part of his life. This is not easy to do” (181). Indeed, Hemingway reminds readers of his skill, craft, and dedication to making memory, and he makes clear the functions necessary in creating a successful literary career. In writing prefaces for himself and others, Ernest Hemingway fostered a combative, yet fruitful, relationship with his reading public and reminded them at every juncture that “this is not easy to do.”

85 This section was restored and included as part of the 2009 reissue of A Moveable Feast. It bears remarkable resemblance to Hemingway’s foreword to Green Hills of Africa. 248


Doing the Impossible: James Gould Cozzens, Toni Morrison, and the Retrospective


I: Rarities and Relics: James Gould Cozzens’s Late Career Forewords

It seems true that if you make no point of pursuing Fame, Fame will often turn around and pursue you: but Fame probably runs well only when someone’s after it. If it’s after you, you needn’t be caught unless you want to be; it’s easily left behind. – James Gould Cozzens1

Writing is always an egotistical occupation, but Cozzens had long since purged himself of the appetite for fame. – Matthew J. Bruccoli2

Novelist James Gould Cozzens observed in a 1976 interview that “the longer I watch men and life, the surer I get that success whenever more than minor comes of luck alone. By comparison, no principles, ideas, goals and standards of conduct matter much in an achieving of it” (Who’s Who in America 678). Cozzens’s writing philosophy relied on the ethics of duty and the work of serious men. He wrote novels about community facilitators, men of responsibility and discipline who confronted the issues of the everyday, and many of his novels take place within a day or two rather than long periods.

This makes for difficult reading, as few of his books feature heady idealism or lyricism.

They instead focus on the realistic depiction of what Cozzens called “the new acquist of

1 Selected Notebooks: 1960-1967. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. Columbia, SC: Bruccoli Clark Publishers, 1984. 14.

2 James Gould Cozzens: A Life Apart, 188-89. 249

true experience.”3 A largely forgotten literary figure, Cozzens eschewed an authorial public persona for a private, contemplative life, since he chose to remain outside of the literary limelight. Having kept his carefully ordered life private for thirty years, Cozzens rarely gave interviews and made few, if any, public statements. Upon winning the

Pulitzer Prize for (1948), he accepted, though Bruccoli points out that

“he was honestly indifferent to popularity—apart from the money it brought—and utterly contemptuous of the literary life of self-promotion and reciprocal back-scratching. To be sure, he wrote to be read, but on his own terms” (A Life Apart 189). His protagonists dealt with problems as presented and left little time for panic or chaos. Beginning with the publication of S.S. San Pedro (1931), Cozzens’s novels featured a distinct “professional” protagonist dealing with the burden of duty surrounding his given trade: Senior Second

Officer Anthony Bradell in S.S. San Pedro (a sailor); Doc Bull in The Last Adam (a town doctor); Ernest Cudlipp in Men and Brethren (an Episcopalian vicar); Francis Ellery in

Ask Me Tomorrow (a young novelist); Abner Coates in The Just and the Unjust (an assistant district attorney); Colonel Ross in Guard of Honor (a judge and senior assistant in AFORAD during WWII); Arthur Winner in By Love Possessed (a lawyer and community man); and finally Henry Dodd Worthington in Morning Noon and Night (a financial management consultant). Cozzens chose to center on men destined to facilitate rather than empower, therefore his novels read as conduits for the everyman, though that everyman possesses an astute intelligence and willingness to accept certain exigencies as long as order is the motivating factor.

3 From Milton’s Samson Agonistes: "His servants he with new acquist./ Of true experience from this great event. / With peace and consolation hath dismist,/ And calm of mind all passion spent." 250

Beyond these characterizations, Cozzens’s novels also feature daunting structures, difficult vocabularies, and heavy doses of irony – Cozzens called this the “tongue-in- cheek stuff”4 – though Bruccoli accounts for this as an author attempting to present a

“precision of statement” (A Life Apart 213). Cozzens presented an objective view of reality to a certain type of reader: intelligent and well-read. Cozzens noted in 1958 that

“normally no boob would so much as try to read beyond a first page of mine. Sometimes the long word will be the one right word and I don’t scruple to use it—if the reader doesn’t know it, it’s time he learned” (qtd. in A Life Apart 212). Accessibility was certainly not Cozzens’s concern, though his novels never suffered from poor exposure.

Six of his books were main selections of the Book-of-the-Month-Club (including By Love

Possessed), and he was cited for two Pulitzer prizes, winning one.5 By Love Possessed sold 226,969 copies by 1959, with the BOMC distributing an additional 270,000 copies.

Upon signing a lucrative deal with Reader’s Digest Condensed Books – for which

Cozzens received $100,000 guaranteed against a royalty of five cents a copy – the novel sold 3,094,935 copies (Bruccoli, A Life Apart 220-21). All of this points to one fact:

Cozzens had become more than the secretive author of the majority of his career. With By

Love Possessed, Cozzens took an unfamiliar route in marketing; Joan Shelly Rubin notes that Cozzens “profited from the post-war vogue of the novel as magnum opus,” and “for authors whose view of their craft coincided with prevailing taste and economics, the form offered built-in benefits” (152). Part of this phenomenon included making public statements regarding one’s work, and Cozzens uncharacteristically participated in an

4 Quoted in Bruccoli’s biography, James Gould Cozzens: A Life Apart (212); from a 5 July 1958 letter to Frederick Bracher.

5 All relevant bibliographic information can be found in Bruccoli’s James Gould Cozzens: A Descriptive Bibliography (1981). 251

interview with Time magazine.6 Bruccoli notes that Cozzens’s wife and agent, Bernice

Baumgartner, herself an influential print agent with Brandt & Brandt and the driving force behind her husband’s business dealings from San Pedro on, advised against the interview. She apparently warned him that people found his remarks cutting, especially when laced with the heavy irony Cozzens utilized in his fiction (A Life Apart 215).

Nevertheless, Cozzens accepted the interview, and the subsequent reaction indirectly led to the hollowing-out of his authority in the face of critical and popular reassessment.

Of note are three epitextual pieces: Cozzens’s 2 September 1957 interview with

Time (“The Hermit of Lambertville”), ’s January 1958 review of By

Love Possessed and its reviews in Commentary magazine (“By Cozzens Possessed”) and

Cozzens’s rebuttal to MacDonald and others in a 1963 letter to Fact. The timeline for these pieces lays out the critical terrain and narrative the interview created in Cozzens’s carefully ordered writing life, and of utmost importance are the moves Cozzens took before and after the publication of the Time interview. To clarify, the epitext is “any paratextual element not materially appended to the text within the same volume but circulating, as it were, freely, in a virtually limitless physical and social space” (Genette

344). For our usage “we must look on these various exercises as occasions capable of furnishing us with paratextual scraps (sometimes of prime interest), though they must often be sought with a magnifying glass or caught with rod and line: here once again, we are dealing with a paratextual effect (rather than function)” (346). Genette presses the effect of epitexts, and these definitions work well in terms of Cozzens’s orbit, for a

6 Popular postwar long novels in this vein include From Here to Eternity (James Jones, 1951; 861 pgs.), The Naked and the Dead (, 1948; 731 pgs.), (Ralph Ellison, 1952; 581 pgs.), All the King’s Men (, 1946; 464 pgs.), (, 1951; 494 pgs.) and Remembrance Rock (, 1948; 1067 pgs.). Cozzens’ novel checked in at 570 pages. 252

singular interview set a definite course for the remainder of the author’s career and resulted in almost complete academic and popular withdrawal by his death in 1978.

Understanding this rupture proves paramount in determining the value of his later work.

Prior to By Love Possessed, Cozzens had published twelve novels and several short stories, yet his life and art remained an enigma. A self imposed hermit, Cozzens and his wife preferred to live away from the spotlight, as Bernice dealt with the business of the literary profession daily and her husband worked hard at his writing. Because of this choice, by the mid to late fifties Cozzens had not achieved the popular literary status of

Ernest Hemingway, , or . The latter authors took ample time to interview, provide critical cultural commentary, and write public letters related to their authority. These epitextual extensions of authorship attach a style, ideal, and/or celebrity to a writer, which assists in the publication and reception of their works.

Cozzens told bibliographer James Meriwether that “writers should seldom be believed when they tell you about their own work; and they’re, most of them, great remembers of what wasn’t so” (rpt. in Checklist Plate 5).7 Cozzens rebuffed these qualities; therefore his interview for Time was somewhat of an anomaly. Bruccoli notes that Cozzens believed fully in his thirteenth novel – he called it his richest work – and the interview was an extension of that belief. Strangely, to an author who cared little for popular acclaim, Bruccoli claims “if he were ever going to reach a large readership, it would be with this novel” (A Life Apart 215). By Love Possessed proved a bestseller, but at what cost? He had grown a small, yet faithful coterie of readers over a span of nearly thirty years, lived a comfortable life on the outskirts of Lambertville, New Jersey, and went so

7 JGC to James Meriwether: 27 March 1962. 253

far as to threaten refusal of his Pulitzer Prize nine years earlier. Where had that Cozzens gone? Why grant this interview?

A compelling issue here is the author’s intention. Rubin notes further that

Cozzens’s “self-conception depended on distancing himself from the institutions of

American literary culture that conferred authorial stature” (154), partly possible because his wife was his literary agent. The interview was done partly as a favor to Henry Luce – owner of Time and Fortune, on which Cozzens spent some time as editor – and Cozzens knew his track record. But to think of this interview in modern terms would be misleading. Time would send a researcher to do the interviewing and then provide that material for a writer to compose. The finished product, “The Hermit of Lambertville,” serves as second-secondhand news, with Cozzens meeting the writer only after the interview had been conducted. Interviews themselves are tricky situations.8 F. Scott

Fitzgerald conducted self-interviews early in his career to bolster his reputation, and

Hemingway’s many letters to Esquire in the thirties serve as pseudo-interviews themselves. For Cozzens, engaging in such an act of celebrity proved disastrous. At several points in the piece Cozzens can be construed as sexist, racist, classist, elitist, anti-

Catholic, and a “rock-solid Republican” (“Hermit” 6), even though he was avowedly apolitical, not the “quaint eccentric that authors are expected to be, but a damn-your-eyes and damn-your-five-dollars arrogant anachronism” (Bruccoli, A Life Apart 218). Though the article commends Cozzens for his willingness to “painstakingly portray the complex professional strongholds of a complex country” (“Hermit” 1) and declares By Love

Possessed “the best American novel of the year” (4), the other side of Cozzens – his

8 In somewhat prophetic irony, Time interviewer Serrell Hillman assured Cozzens prior to publication that “the only reportorial skill I possess is the ability to quote people accurately. Finally, you said nothing shocking or damaging anyway” (Letter to Cozzens 25 June 1957). 254

personal life – proves his undoing. The article calls his treatment of the African-America

Revere family in the novel “feudally patronizing” (3), and incorrectly quotes Cozzens as saying “I like anybody who’s a nice guy, but I’ve never met many Negroes who were nice guys” (7); it also calls attention to the depiction of Marjorie Penrose’s conversion to

Catholicism and her husband’s reaction as “controversial” (3); his view of Jewish turned

Episcopalian lawyer Elliot Woolf is “racially barbed” (3); and finally, in quoting

Cozzens’s line, “Youth’s a kind of infirmity” (3), the piece indirectly positions the author as a crank and curmudgeon, even while professing his skill, tactfulness, and ability to create “recognizable people with recognizable problems in a recognizable world” (8).

After denouncing Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis, Faulkner, and Steinbeck, Cozzens allegedly quips, “I have no thesis except that people get a very raw deal from life. To me, life is what life is” (8). This message became the all-encompassing idea behind the writer and his life. Readers were seeing Cozzens for the first time in this interview, and because of the various circumstances and misrepresentations – many of his “critical” statements were laced with his trademark irony, which created the same kind of multi-layered and misunderstood responses many of his characters have – this was all they knew of him. As far as first impressions go, this one failed to present Cozzens as anything more than the arrogant cynic portrayed in the piece. The irony was not lost on readers; it was never found in the first place.

Consequently, Dwight MacDonald’s January 1958 review for Commentary, “By

Cozzens Possessed,” picked up on this attitude and provided an in-depth critique of

Cozzens, his novel, and reviewers, of which he wrote, “like other crimes, this one was a product of Conditions” (MacDonald 45). MacDonald was known for his caustic reviews,


and he consistently critiqued the middlebrow culture of the mid-century. Since

MacDonald’s goal was to derail the momentum of the book, most of the review catalogues how By Love Possessed has no business being either a best-seller or nominee for the Pulitzer; he felt that reviewers became drunk over the length of the novel, the

Cozzens’s style, and his efforts to write “Literature.” Even so, MacDonald questions whether the sales figures for the novel accurately depict popular acclaim and condemns the middlebrow culture for purchasing By Love Possessed as a cultural touchstone or coffee-table book rather than actual reading material.9 In order to denigrate Cozzens’s personal life, MacDonald uses the only reference he has – the Time interview – and cites the author as “signally lacking in self-knowledge” (44), calls his writing “contorted dialectic” (45), and wishes that “Cozzens’ mouthpiece weren’t quite so explicit” (45). He takes the author to task over the treatment of his wife in the interview, where Cozzens jokingly referenced her sexual congress as the main reasons for their coupling, and locks it next to his treatment of the lawyer Elliot Woolf. MacDonald’s review solidifies

Cozzens as the crank of the interview with little room for interpretation. When one is presented with few facts and strong opinions, this pseudo-biographical account of James

Gould Cozzens limits the possibility of understanding who and what he was, not only as author but as human being.

Bruccoli assures us that Cozzens’s “effort with language aims at achieving a greater precision of statement. Pondering a world in which nothing is certain, he uses language as a stay against disorder” (213). Cozzens made one effort to combat the

9 Rubin’s excellent essay regarding the middlebrow/highbrow battle between Cozzens and MacDonald offers a complete analysis of the circumstances in the reading public which led to BLP’s success (“Middlebrow Authorship, Critical Authority, and Autonomous Readers in Post-war America: James Gould Cozzens, Dwight MacDonald, and By Love Possessed.”). 256

inaccuracies in both the Time and MacDonald pieces with a 1963 letter to Fact, in which he proclaimed, “Yes, I do have first-hand knowledge of the inaccuracies in Time”

(“Letter to Fact” Plate 14). He goes on to explain his mistake in not fact-checking the piece prior to publication, and “cornered at last by Time, I had little idea of the usual, normal things I might be up against,” and “I had to realize I was very much more to blame for it than Time” (Plate 14). The letter to Fact came by accident, as Cozzens was unaware that his letter to editor Raphael Paganelli would be published. However, once informed of its publication Cozzens emphatically insisted that “…any ‘fiction’ they

[TIME] may have happened to publish about me was mostly my own fault, due to really inexcusable neglect of mine to check the copy. Though I did not expect you to, I have no objection to your printing my letter if you wish. But if you print any of it, I must most seriously insist that you print all of it” (Letter to Paganelli 20 January 1964). Though

Cozzens was given assurances that the full-text of his letter would appear in the magazine, his letter appeared in bowdlerized form once published.10 Sections of the excised portion provide insight into writing, editing, and proofing for publication. He advises that an experienced person, “before publication, [must] require that he be shown whatever he was going to be said to have said; and insist that it be agreed that he said it”

(Plate 14). Another excised portion speaks directly to caustic reviewers and their means of fact-gathering, since “no one ever found in Time anything to approach the conscienceless partisan distorting and misrepresenting done as a matter of course, and indeed, as their very reason for being, in periodicals of the liberal or sectarian ‘little review’ type” (Plate 14). Cozzens does much in his letter to give Time his highest regard,

10 Cozzens was notably furious, but he eventually wrote editor Ralph Ginzburg, “I gather there’s no great danger of Fact being around much longer to fake stuff up. So what the hell; we’ll just forget it” (Letter to Ginzburg 8 April 1964). 257

even if their researcher was “obtuse and humorless” and the interview writer “careless and imperceptive,” because the magazine’s reputation for truth and clarity (according to

Cozzens) trumped his own singular negative experience (Plate 14); but for ‘little reviews’ like Commentary and Dwight MacDonald, Cozzens displays his vehemence and disavowal. Facts drive biography, and Cozzens figured MacDonald to be as careless and imperceptive as a writer who uses unclear notes.

The published letter ends at the halfway point of his written letter and leaves out what may be his most poignant call for authorship, especially in his case. Cozzens concludes: “I’m driven to say that, all considered, you go a long way before you find editing with consistent basic regard for truth and respect for fact Time can generally be counted on to show. I’m sure the publisher has ‘biases’; but who doesn’t? Not I? Not you?” (Plate 14). This final call partially removes Cozzens from his published interview, for if we are to understand Cozzens we need look to his fiction and his ability to create in his characters the realistic burden of their decisions. Though not wholly a victim,

Cozzens saw his authority demolished by his own misjudged entry into the celebrity space. In the end, the undoing of James Gould Cozzens boiled down to conditions and decisions. A fitting characterization of Cozzens can be found in By Love Possessed, where Arthur Winner ponders, “doctrine and dogma could remain what first they were – unto the Greeks, foolishness – but nothing was foolish about the practice or the discipline” (BLP 396). The rewritten letter ran one year prior to the publication of

Children and Others, Cozzens only short-story collection. Placement of such a defense in a public forum may have been deliberate, for up to that point Cozzens had been satisfied


with privately writing Macdonald and others.11 In his notebooks he wrote of “one of those always odd-ball critical curs to be found without fail snapping at the heels of any writer whose book has sold in a really big way,” which was no doubt a reference to

Macdonald (Selected Notebooks 95). The collection was still the August 1964 selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club – as was Morning, Noon and Night four years later – but his popularity had significantly reduced. Practice and discipline drove his authority, and after the epitextual rupture of that authority Cozzens was unable to recover, even if he didn’t seem to care.

Cozzens’s activity between the publication of By Love Possessed (1957) and his death twenty-one years later indicates some interesting authorial moves. Bruccoli notes

Cozzens’s “almost involuntary writing of public letters,” cataloguing approximately eleven dispatches to several publications (including the 1963 letter to Fact) between 1960 and 1967 (A Life Apart 238). Along with these letters Cozzens began keeping notebooks, perhaps as a way to separate himself further from his critical adversaries. Though apparently indifferent to the reception of his work, in his notebooks Cozzens “frequently reminded himself that the wages of authorship include abuse; nonetheless he regarded his work as his own, and he didn’t want them fingering it or him” (Bruccoli, “Introduction” to Selected Notebooks x). These reminders read as personal justifications and amount to a catalogue of several possible prefaces for his past work. For instance, the following entry

– written in 1960 – concerns By Love Possessed:

It asks a good deal of the reader. He is expected first of all to be grown-up.

He is expected to have done a lot of reading. He is expected to have a

11 Though Cozzens told Paganelli he was unaware of the editor’s intent to publish, he may have simply been keeping up his authorial pose. The coincidence is certainly striking. 259

sense of humor. He is expected to pay attention. Those who through

stupidity can’t meet these expectations, or those who, having different

tastes, don’t choose to, must find the book unrewarding. This gives them

every right to call it ‘bad’; because as far as they go, that’s just what it is;

and their honesty in not pretending that they understood what they

couldn’t or wouldn’t understand is surely commendable. (Selected

Notebooks 2)

As ironic in delivery as his interview for Time, Cozzens’s entries consistently interrogate the role of readers. He does not want to commend readers’ poor tastes, and by ironically shifting from condemnation to congratulations Cozzens expresses the purpose behind his authorial role. His work is his work, and the writer’s material – as we saw with Fitzgerald

– has the potential to make and break an authorial career simultaneously. Cozzens was rarely in the role of the public author. He relied on his agent-wife to handle business matters and Harcourt Brace to sell his books, but these short bursts establish Cozzens’s private concern regarding his authority.

His entries continue to concern his past work, though he does not explicitly state which text he may mean. He notes “while it’s no doubt that health comports with temperance alone and you don’t get away with dissipation forever, you don’t get away with temperance forever, either” (4), which correlates to Dr. Bull in The Last Adam

(1933). Concerning two of his major preoccupations – law and justice – Cozzens determines “that perplexity of justice in trying to determine how far a man is fairly to be held answerable for having let himself become what he is, and so, more or less unavoidable, does whatever he may have done” (4), which could preface his 1942


courtroom novel The Just and the Unjust. His 1936 novel, Men and Brethren, could be prefaced with “anyone who enjoys any considerable success in this life must, unless he is a great fool (and of course, that is this point: he can be) recognize that merit never determines, nor even as far as you can honestly see, contributes to anything but small successes” (34). Even more conclusive, his entry from 31 March 1967 may have been the ultimate preface for Morning Noon and Night:

In MNN what I want to do is present stuff in a form of true experience, the

happenings of living life as I have found them to happen. That is: living,

you keep being confronted with facts, things as you discover them to be.

Sometimes right then, most often a good deal later, explanations may (or

may not, of course) come, showing you, letting you realize, how it

happened, why it happened, or even, what really did happen (at the time,

you may not have been knowing enough to know). (104)

My point here relies on Cozzens’s private self-fashioning. Akin to the unpublished prefaces of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, these entries are polished, attuned to authorship, and clearer than most authorial prefaces.

For an author known for difficult prose, selections from his notebooks would no doubt amplify his texts, most of which have now gone out of print. Given the division between experience and idealism present in the majority of Cozzens’s work, these pieces could reconcile what Harry Mooney calls “the gulf of experience which separates the wise man who has lost his illusions from the naïve one who holds to ideals not tested by reality” (51-52). This central premise, imperative to understanding Cozzens’s fiction, finds its public voice only in the author’s fiction rather than in a preface. Following a car


accident in 1971 and the declining health of he and his wife, Cozzens reconsidered his publishing role.12 He agreed to publish small, private books to avowed readers of James

Gould Cozzens, which prompted him to write an introduction for James Meriwether’s

James Gould Cozzens: A Checklist (1972), forewords for two newly issued short stories,

A Flower in Her Hair and A Rope for Dr. Webster (1974; 1976 respectively), and two introductions (one unpublished) for Just Representations: A James Gould Cozzens

Reader. By explicating these pieces we are privy to a reclusive author’s personal perspective regarding publishing, composition, and reception, here presented in a public forum for the first time.

The closest Cozzens ever came to writing an introduction to one of his novels at the time of publication was a prologue to The Just and the Unjust (1942) entitled

“Record,” which gives the background to an impending court case in the guise of a cold, objective court docket (The Just and the Unjust 3-5). No authorial voice intervenes, which gives the piece more of a chapter function than a prefatory function.13 This is in line with the remainder of Cozzens’s output. In place of prefaces Cozzens usually included apt epigraphs. Men and Brethren includes two verses from the Biblical Book of

Acts, concluding “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Men and Brethren i); Guard of

Honor features Ariel’s declaration from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “I and my fellows

12 Cozzens was a highly functioning alcoholic. Bruccoli notes that for Cozzens the timing of his drinking mattered more than consumption, depending on alcohol “to make his life agreeable and, as it turned out, to write” (A Life Apart 261). His accident occurred ten days after he quit drinking altogether (on doctor’s orders), plunging him into a state of anhedonia, “a total loss of pleasure in acts that normally give pleasure” (261). He even wrote his publisher two months later, “as a literary property I fear I scrape bottom and may justly be regarded with impatience when I show myself so lacking in grace under stress […] I have forgotten how to type, you’ll note” (Letter to Jovanovich 24 July 1971).

13 Cozzens regularly attended court proceedings at the Doylestown, Pennsylvania courthouse during composition of The Just and the Unjust (A Life Apart 148).


are ministers of Fate: the elements,/Of whom you swords are temper’d, may as well

Would the loud winds, or with bemock’d-at stabs/Kill the still closing waters, as diminish/One dowle that’s in my plume: my fellow-ministers/Are like invulnerable”

(Guard of Honor iii);14 perhaps most apt is his epigraph for By Love Possessed, in which

King Henry VI (from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part III) questions time and humanity:

“Thereby to see the minutes how they run,/How many make the hour full complete;/How many hours bring about the day;/How many days will finish up the year;/How many years a mortal man may live” (By Love Possessed iii). As striking as his epigraphs were, none of his novels featured a direct authorial perspective from Cozzens himself, and he wanted it that way.

When asked to speak on By Love Possessed at Princeton University, Cozzens replied in the negative and argued that “novelists are not very interesting when they air their views about the novel. As well as grieving the judicious by glimpses they generally give of that coxcomb and jackass seldom far to in anyone with creative faculty, those I’ve heard or read were never long in indicating that they don’t know a damn thing about their

‘art’ ” (qtd. in Ward 22). His voice was in his fiction, and his intentions were laden within his carefully structured prose. Prefacing his work meant aligning himself within a contemporary tradition better suited without him. John Ward notes that Cozzens’s books

“are not the product of any social or political movement” (23), which may have led

Cozzens to ignore extra explanation. Further, Frederick Bracher concludes that “on the whole, Cozzens seems content to limit himself to an examination of things as they are, rather than as they might or should be” (119), a stance non-conducive to preface writing.

14 Cozzens leaves out the first clause, “You fools.”


Cozzens included a non-translated Latin quote from Coke on Littleton when dedicating

The Just and the Unjust to Edward Biester, which translates to “any expert ought to be trusted in his own art” (The Just and the Unjust vii).15 This trust meant denying readers authorial introductory pronouncements so as to amplify the purpose of his fiction.

Given his views on professional writing, Cozzens’s refusal to write prefaces until late in his career – and four years after his last published book – makes sense. Morning

Noon and Night features several passages regarding writing, in which Henry Dodd

Worthington lays out specific literary concerns, traditions, and intentions. For instance,

“people with small aptitude and no talent through doggedly writing may now and then make themselves professional writers, but the common experience will usually be that those ‘interested in writing’ brought by their attempts to write to realize they lack aptitude or talent quickly lose their interest” (MNN 241-42). Later on Worthington denounces the folly in “the instruction of fools, of the pundits of the little cash-poor magazines, of the radical mouthy doyens of the small-fee sophomore circuit” (249) and concludes:

Egotistically sanguine and confident, he watches them with contempt, sees

them as simply good for unkind laughs; and once he is sure that staying in

their company offers nothing to his writing purpose, he drops out. By

temperament he is concerned with himself only, and how to express

himself. Even if stridulent instruction of the fools turns directly on him

and his work (which, should he begin to be successful and celebrated,

must be expected; after all, these are self-defense’s, self-preservations’s

15 Biester was Assistant District Attorney for Bucks County, Pennsylvania (A Life Apart 148). 264

envious gashes), his born-writer’s temperament is a sevenfold shield.


We could consider passages of this nature reasons for Cozzens’s supposed retreat from the literary establishment. Cozzens used his experience – as he felt writers should – to create characters in line with his principles, though adroitly different from himself.

Leland Cox argues that “the qualities of endurance, discipline, and singleness of purpose are precisely the ones that Worthington claims were not his” (121), while Cozzens possessed these qualities and utilized them when necessary. Though Worthington should not be read as a direct conduit for Cozzens – just as Colonel Ross, Ernest Cudlipp, Arthur

Winner, and Abner Coates should not – his characterization comes closest to expressing the state of professional letters in a time when his authority was on the decline. This refusal to grant the establishment any leeway, coupled with his health problems and accident, led to further self-seclusion. Though Harcourt released a “Uniform Edition” of

Cozzens’s works once Morning Noon and Night was published, the edition was suspended after only printing Ask Me Tomorrow, S.S. San Pedro, Castaway, and Men and

Brethren. Cozzens was no longer selling, but he continued to consider his authority in isolation. Beginning with his introduction to a checklist of his published work, Cozzens began publicly presenting his authority again, furnishing readers (albeit few of them) with a reminder of his intellect, skill, and authorship.

Cozzens’s first true preface was featured in James B. Meriwhether’s checklist of the author’s works. Having cooperated with Meriwhether, Cozzens wrote a straight introduction meant to define a youthful mistake and situate his late-career movements.

Cozzens cleans up “difficulties [the bibliographer] can alone by no means solve”


(Introduction to Checklist 1) and points out two bibliographical issues: a mis-identified introduction to Balzac’s Masterpieces: Ten Novels by Honoré de Balzac (1931) and his letter to Fact magazine regarding the inaccuracies in the Time interview (1964). Both instances center on the crucial act of authorship. The first shows a youthful mistake governing words he never wrote, while the other represents personal insights turned into a stultifying, washed-out apology. Neither published piece was written by the author, but his name was invariably attached to both, which prompted Cozzens’s introduction. The first case is relatively benign, as Cozzens was “doing odd jobs of ms. reading and editing for Brandt & Brandt” and edited an “illiterate” introduction for a Balzac compilation for publication (1). However, once edited the ‘writer’16 of the foreword – “a certain now long deceased book dealer” – refused to sign it, which prompted the publisher to ask Cozzens if he would sign. Cozzens concludes:

Since I’d been paid (and perhaps because I never thought anyone would

see or read the stuff anyway) I agreed. Older and more experienced I of

course wouldn’t have; but that was then; and so that to my now confusion,

is now definitively that. My simplicity’s condign punishment is the fact

that today it must be taken as my very own vapid judgment and

abominable prose. (1)

Written in 1931, the Balzac introduction episode showcases an early mistake by a professional assisting a frustrated publisher with material he did not write. We can see the importance of Cozzens’ recollection, as his letter for Fact began with his words and was edited down; Cozzens had effectively become the edited rather than the editor.

16 Cozzens’s quotation marks. He was unimpressed with the foreword as written, and edited the piece “as could be made to approach sense” (Introduction to Checklist 1). 266

Citing his “idiot incaution” in the letter to Fact, Cozzens characterizes himself as

“the foolish victim (I can’t say blameless) of that very common critical practice of hostile reviewing which ought to take no long-time writer by surprise” (1). As discussed earlier, the two letters – both facsimiled in Meriwhether’s checklist – are nothing alike, the published version a severely bowdlerized version of a passionate personal plea featuring some of Cozzens’s best justifying remarks concerning biases and the profession. Cozzens references the Macdonald review, whose “chief weapon is quotes out of context; but I happened never before to have seen the low device used for the particular present purpose” (1). Fact had taken Cozzens out of context in their published version of the letter; coincidentally, Cozzens’s letter was written to explain the egregious cobbling of his words for the Time piece, a case of taking the author out of context. A letter about taking an author’s words out of context was thereby taken out of context by Fact’s editors. The comedy of the “low device” Cozzens refers to sums up the author’s position post-success. Trying to make clear his statement (as he did in his fiction), Cozzens concludes that “setting beside the statement supposed to be mine what I actually wrote may best illustrate the art – and it’s fair to say the artist’s dexterity in it (plates 14-15)”

(1-2). By ironically referring to the editor as the “artist” Cozzens hearkens back to his disavowal of the “writer” of the Balzac introduction. For those able to differentiate fact from fiction, Cozzens sees his introduction as a corrective, though he admits finally that

“there is a thing known by the name of pitch. The laugh it’s good for is indeed on me”

(2). Writers make mistakes, but when their words enter the public sphere their authorship is tested immediately. Given the editorial cases Cozzens submits for review, we can see how difficult it is for professional writers to lay their work at the mercy of editorial


hands. But that, as Cozzens writes, was that. The words of James Gould Cozzens exist in neither case, but publicly those words remain attributed to him.

Following a relatively quiet period, Cozzens began receiving correspondence from Matthew J. Bruccoli, editor of Bruccoli Clark Publishing.17 Bruccoli’s chief goal was to publish anything from Cozzens in his Limited Edition Series, and Cozzens chose

“A Flower in Her Hair,” a story originally intended for Children and Others several years earlier. Rather than embodying the cantankerous curmudgeon from the Time interview,

Cozzens was willing to assist Bruccoli in his efforts. Cozzens even deferred to Bruccoli’s judgment regarding a preface, and asked “could you give me a line fit best with the others in the series. Early taught [sic]: never explain never apologize I’m unpractised [sic] in obiter dicta. I ought to say if here you feel honored to publish I feel no less honored to be published” (Letter to Bruccoli 26 January 1974). Bruccoli bristled at the suggestion, as the editor greatly admired Cozzens and insisted that his preface “should be mainly informational: when you wrote the story and why it was omitted from Children. Anything you want to say about the story itself will be pure velvet” (Letter to Cozzens 29 January

1974). “A Flower in Her Hair” was published on 10 April 1975 in a limited edition printing of 350 copies (300 for sale) numbered and signed by the author, and the book featured a short foreword, which Cozzens had difficulty writing.18 Only three and half pages in length, the introduction was written when Cozzens cared little for writing, his

17 Correspondence between Cozzens and Bruccoli is housed in the Cozzens Papers at Princeton University Library. No collections of Cozzens’s letters have been published.

18 As outlined in his introduction, Cozzens story was lost at the printer’s during production of Children and Others; a carbon copy of the story was unexpectedly found in Brandt & Brandt files in 1973, prompting Cozzens to offer it to Bruccoli (A Life Apart 270).


anhedonia fueling inactivity.19 However, his published foreword reads as a traditional preface, as he traces the lifespan of one of his favorite stories, which grew from an unpublished “mischance” to the “carbon of providence” (Flower 10). His tone, though still clinical, takes on a remarkably readable state, given the fact that critics usually disparaged the author’s difficult syntax. As his first published work in six years, the foreword to “A Flower in Her Hair” provides an excellent late-career evaluation of

Cozzens’s career by the author himself. He opens with gratitude to Bruccoli Clark for publishing the work, whose “never foreseen recovery, the coming to light by sheerest accident, must for me touch it with qualities both of a rarity and of a relic” (Flower 7).

Though Cozzens sees his story in terms of a double metaphor – rarity and relic – his career equally assumed the role of relic and rarity by 1973. Cozzens recognized his authority’s waning voice and choose to present his late-career work for private collector’s editions rather than try more of the “shooting-my-face-off business” with larger publication (qtd. in A Life Apart 272).

Beginning with the relic, Cozzens explains his early career entrance into authorship: “the Literary Establishment of the time was in aims, values, critical standards little like today’s. That nonrepresentational mode, coming through this century to take over all creative arts, had yet to make much headway in writing” (Flower 7). His major difference was his dedication to “what today may seem as hidebound by Shakespearean banalities of mirror-holdings up to nature, by hackneyed Miltonic handouts of purported acquist of true experience made to fit metered verse; by pedantic insistence on telling it as it is, not, free-spirited, telling it like it is” (7). By dually respecting his tutelage and relaying the negative view of his representational method, Cozzens reminds readers of his

19 See A Life Apart. 270. 269

background, an author steadfastly dedicated to the “notion that a novelist’s job is to write novels” (Fischer 102). John Fischer believed that Cozzens was “a classic mind, operating in a romantic period” (105), and Cozzens felt his “as it is” representation was more honest than the free-spirited “like it is” (Flower 7). He defines the short story as a genre which has “suffered from set-form bondage; it must be self-contained; it must be self- explanatory,” and warns the modern reader against “brain-wracking to see systems of symbols. They aren’t there” (7-8). Instead, “here, what he gets is what he sees—story only” (8). This plays to his earlier denunciation of nonrepresentational fiction, for

Cozzens insisted that “you shall know the truth always by its banality. If it is new, it isn’t true: if it is true, it isn’t new” (Selected Notebooks 34). His “relic” section succeeds in expressing an author’s beginnings, his “pedantic insistence” on using classic literary modes, and his understanding of genre specifics.

His second qualification determines the rarity of the work, as well as the rarity of his representation. He first notes the “reams” of his work which never saw print, as “false starts, irrelevant middles, poor conclusions were destroyed by the wastebasketful” (8).

One survivor, “A Flower in Her Hair,” was completed and kept “left unique in its intricate history of piffling misadventure, mischance, misplacement” (Flower 8). Meant to be included in Children and Others, the story “was a past recalled with startling force and clarity, and the results’ result (how common with writers) an urge to write about what, missed at the time, now brought new understanding” (8-9). This resulted in

Cozzens finishing the story around 1948 and sending it to “a large women’s magazine” who had wanted a Cozzens story since the Pulitzer was conferred upon Guard of Honor.

The award, he recalled, had “by then become very much like mischance, unwanted by


writers who in conceit very common to them took their work seriously; yet still by the trade seen as of moment, thought valuable” (9). Bruccoli notes that Cozzens “believed that literary prizes were awarded not to the recipient but against someone else” (A Life

Apart 189), and he felt that his Howells Medal20 for By Love Possessed was given to him not because of his novel but “as a reaction to Dwight Macdonald,” for “prominent critics who had spoken well of the novel did not relish being stigmatized as incompetents”

(228). Cozzens’s reference to the Pulitzer fit his continued antagonism toward extraneous honors.21 Nevertheless, the story went unpublished by the magazine for being

“unpleasant” (Flower 9), and his concern shifted to the ramifications of his representation. He noted how a woman sent him a letter asking if a character in the story

“had her late husband as its original” (9). Cozzens recalls his pause in realizing the story

“had been done, too, with the old representational mode’s care for exact detail, and I was being advised that people depicted were still around, still likely to read anything I wrote”

(9). He concludes by asking “Did I want to hurt them? I did not. I withdrew the story.

Later, maybe” (10). The “later,” of course, came after the story was lost during the production of Children and Others and then found – “the carbon of providence” – in his agents’ files. After advising new writers to “keep a carbon,” Cozzens concludes: “on a last year cleaning out of old folders there its faded pages proved to be. Here it is” (10).

Though Cozzens was never one for sentimentality, his foreword begins in a clinical, objective tone and ends with a somewhat tender moment chronicling the life of a story he cared about. The relic and the rarity inhabit his authority and buttress the story with

20 The American Academy of Arts and Letters confers the William Dean Howells Medal upon the most distinguished work of fiction published in the previous five years. BLP won the award in 1960.

21 Cozzens did not attend the ceremony, which reinforced his disregard for literary high-mindedness. 271

context and a tale of publication woes. No other Cozzens preface reads as fluidly. He was able to marry curmudgeon and caretaker with finesse, a word he would no doubt abhor.

If his foreword to A Flower in Her Hair contextualized an aging writer’s role in the literary marketplace, his “Laborious Explanatory Note” to A Rope for Dr. Webster reminded readers of the author’s dissatisfaction with literary celebrity and the public manipulation of the laws of reason. Originating from the true story of Harvard Professor

John White Webster, who in 1849 was hung for the murder of Dr. George Parkman, a crime Cozzens felt he did not commit, A Rope for Dr. Webster is an essay on the unjust conclusion of the titular doctor (A Life Apart 271). His note, written partly as a pseudo- biographical account of the friendship Cozzens shared with George Bradshaw22 during and after their war service, comprises nearly one-half of the entire text and diverges into topics including Watergate, editing, the trial of Dr. Webster, and friendship itself. The final length of the note is intriguing, since Cozzens originally felt that the story was “too long and complicated for so slight a thing to bear” (Letter to Bruccoli 28 October 1975).

Though A Rope for Dr. Webster does not function as a short story, its true crime nature fits with Cozzens’s attention to the detail, representation, and honest depiction of real events. The note registers his disgust with a number of law-related issues and how much he cared for his opposite, George Bradshaw. Together, the note and story forge a piece akin to Cozzens’s mid-forties writing period, when his skill was used mostly for writing air force manuals and memorandums. Though not the opposite of the foreword to A

Flower in Her Hair, the note for A Rope for Dr. Webster does put Cozzens back on the

22 The two served together in the OIS (Office of Information Services) during World War II. Bradshaw and Cozzens had planned a volume of essays concerning great trials in history which never came to fruition. A Rope for Dr. Webster was intended to be Cozzens’ contribution. Very little correspondence exists between the two in the author’s personal papers, but what is there shows a solid friendship cut short by Bradshaw’s eventual death. This note acts as Cozzens’s eulogy. 272

defensive, his near-sentimentality and tenderness removed in favor of critical disgust, criticism, and disgust. The timeliness of his subject was of concern to Cozzens:

A century and a half after his trial the shade of hapless Doctor Webster

should surely rest in peace. Indecency may be the word for a digging of

his dust here set out. Yet I risk it; I must protest, since patient readers have

rights, that when my hanging story was, as planned, in regular place of a

publishing scheme the retelling is neither idle, purposeless, nor even

aimed at mere gain. I feel freer to say this of the scheme because I didn’t

shape it. I can go further; call it original in concept, of intrinsic interest in

its material of a sort not before seen where selected American last century

trials have been treated; with, moreover, all to be drawn together in

discovery of what contemporary critics like to call (repellently)

Relevance; of custom and especially law that touch, in ways needing

clearer realization, ourselves now, our lives now. (Rope 5)

As opening paragraphs go, this one gets at every major theme in Cozzens’s work: order, understanding of representation, truth over fakery, the importance of law in times of chaos, and what writers should do when confronted with “real” material. “Common Law” was to be the driving theme behind the collection, and Cozzens was also to include an epilogue for the collection, “a short treatment of the Common Law under evident present insidious change; what it had earlier been accepted as being; what little signs were starting to show it could, left unwatched, drop to become” (6). Cozzens strikes a note of pessimism regarding current legal standards and laments the difficulty in getting his collection put together. He would have needed more contributions and a special editor, “a


modern-times endangered species whose chief qualification was…he in simple fact Knew

Everybody” (6). Such a person, George Bradshaw, was not enough, for “how many creative writers would take interest that exceeded everyday detective story tastes in the

Common Law; let alone be willing and able to give the damn I though important…in the degradation of that law’s underpinning dogma? In short, not a dozen existed. The project had to fall through” (6-7).

Cozzens then proceeds to document his friendship with “my infinite jester,”

George Bradshaw. Feeling his initial negative remarks regarding publication were a mistake, Cozzens charts Bradshaw’s temperament, who “not much disappointed, nor, with such worldly knowledge, even surprised would eye its amusing side” (7). Unlike

Cozzens himself, Bradshaw was “that rarity, that endangered species of witty man, entertainments he got were very clearly warm-hearted, indulgent; come of a kind- mindedness which, perfectly perceiving fools these mortals be, watched them in something between pity and paternalism” (7). This tender elegy to Bradshaw prefaces his feelings toward the degradation of law; the collection the two conjured provides a backdrop for Cozzens’s eventual cynicism. Late to know his friend, Cozzens recalls:

In what was nothing but callowness, half snobbish, half conceited, I early

in my writing life took to regarding the literary set with distaste, even

disdain—their cliques of self-admiration, their log-rolling, their critical

hates of envy and deceits of partisan malice! Well, I would and did have

nothing to do with them (now, what could I have been expecting where

many think they are called, while few indeed, mostly through luck, are

chosen?). (8)


By reiterating the dogma he had maintained throughout his writing career, Cozzens articulates the difference between “called” and “chosen” writers. Cozzens, a chosen writer, wants readers to ask about choice and if writers’ voices deserve to see print if they have not entered into the realm of truest representation. Though he creates an army of one

(himself), Cozzens’s treatment of Bradshaw offers an enlightened corollary to the author’s often cantankerous attitude. Kicking back and discussing the law during their time at the Pentagon, the two planned the collection, discussed the law “with an overplusage of zeal” (9), and decried “the yearly larger and larger legislative tomfooleries of power-grabbing to play Judge” (10). But once the war ended the two went their separate ways, and the project stalled. Cozzens notes that “anyway, time passing, our meetings grew farther between—no falling apart; simply he lived in a crowd of chosen friends; I, naturally solitary, needed none—only people to watch and study, preferably always unaware of me” (10-11). This brings Cozzens back to his manifested solitude, the position he felt bettered his chance of creating honest fiction.

With the calming influence of his friend and sounding-board Bradshaw a thing of the past, Cozzens is free to denounce the current legal environment. He argues “by natural consequence (shades of Dr. Webster’s innovative trial) the swell of the idiot, false-witness bearing, unabashedly (as needed) treasonable ‘media’ of our times, some baseless Right-of-the-People-to-Know providing color of that patriotism, long last refuge of scoundrels” (11). Cozzens’s indignation stemmed from the Watergate trials of 1975, in which the Executive branch of government was put on trial in a very public way. The

“treasonable ‘media’ ” obviously refers to Woodward and Bernstein’s reporting for The

Washington Post, which led to President Nixon’s impeachment. He references “some


Maximum John’s smiling menace of plea-dealing, intricately ‘lawful’ yet with its sickish

Code Napoleon whiff of end justifying means” (11), a shot at Federal Judge John Sirica, overseer of the Watergate trials. These people were “faithless,” “trust-breakers,” and

“sneaks” (12). Cozzens’s issue lies not in the crime itself, but in how something so minute toppled so many people. Cozzens no doubt saw the situation as a liberal toppling of law by using “inquisition committees, forceless subpoena, shameless citations for – yes; contempt!” (11). He pokes fun at the insurgency – channeling his infinite jester – and declares “Watergate; yes, odious crime! I speak of its architecture, of course” (12).

Watergate, as with the case of Dr. Webster, interested Cozzens because it was “the forerunner of a hundred later cases in which expert testimony turned trifle into the one damned thing no defense could explain away” (qtd. A Life Apart 271). The miniscule starting point of Watergate led to a crumbling tower, a narrative Cozzens saw as felonious and outside the rule of rational law.

Whether one agrees with Cozzens or not, his attention to the reality of the legal climate was warranted. Watergate caused a massive gulf in the American psyche which lasted for several decades. The word itself garners images of corruption, sneakiness, and double intentions. Cozzens knew his friend Bradshaw would agree, though the concluding paragraph marks the end of a friendship, the gate closing on a possible reconciliation and understanding. He notes how Bradshaw died during a taxi drive home from a fondue party. His lasting image was the one everybody knew, just as Cozzens was the one no one knew: “No; I have not named him. To that ‘Everybody’ he knew this would be needless. For all others, I feel he would love, last private jest, his enigmatic rich life signed only: ANON” (12). Prefacing a true crime essay with an essay on friendship,


opposites, legal quandaries, and eccentricities is fitting, for Cozzens knew his small audience would leap at the chance to read about a friend of the author. Since friends were hard for Cozzens to come by, this piece links to the expression of love he gave his earlier book, A Flower in Her Hair. Cozzens had reason to vent these issues, for “he had published them for his own pleasure—and to satisfy a chagrining itch to see his words in print” (A Life Apart 272). Laborious though it is, the note to A Rope for Dr. Webster accentuates Cozzens’s attention to the realities of getting old; times change, laws change, friendships change, and ultimately, people change.

Cozzens’s final prefaces came in two forms: “Some Putative Facts of Hard

Record” and “About Being Written About: Or, By Nimiety Possessed,” both written as possible introductions to Bruccoli’s omnibus collection of Cozzens’s work, Just

Representations: A James Gould Cozzens Reader. Published after the author’s death in

1978, the collection went on to feature the former offering, which took the form of a short letter of apology to Bruccoli and several journal entries from 1923, a time when he was writing his first novel. Though Cozzens had distanced himself from his first four novels once commencing with his series on professional men and their work, his return to the composition of Confusion offers a fitting conclusion to the author’s prefaces. He experienced considerable difficulty composing a suitable preface, writing Bruccoli:

Noting my note about deadlines I have to see that nice eye for ‘just

representations of human nature’ hardly could have failed to pick out pick

out the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about how I wrote

and what I wrote. Both by those listed things I didn’t give a damn for, and

maybe yet more by the very patently heartfelt wording of what I did give a


damn for, one surely reads loud and clear: he writes of others, but of

himself he cannot write. (Letter to Bruccoli 6 December 1976)

This sentiment shows Cozzens’s vulnerability late in life, a man used to selecting the best words to describe his subjects rather than his life. In an earlier draft of this letter Cozzens wrote “I can’t write what I can’t write,” in reference to himself. Similarly, he had written

Harcourt publisher William Jovanovich two years earlier regarding future projects:

“about writing ideas I’m philosophically content to observe, reaching the right age to shut up. I’ve kept the sense to do it” (Letter to Jovanovich 20 March 1974). Cozzens appeared to be unwilling to engage in his old age, but a 29 March 1977 letter to Bruccoli provides a different possibility. Since Cozzens’s biography was basically the Time interview from

1957, Bruccoli regularly inquired about writing the author’s biography. Cozzens responded: “Now, if your so often inspired ingenuity happens to see a way to set out and item by item correct those many misstatements—as disentangled from critical opinion which is no more to be disputed than taste (in those cases seem really to be taste)—I’d willingly consider going along” (Letter to Bruccoli 29 March 1977). This cautious affirmation of Bruccoli’s desire to set the record straight shows the author in a different light. In his own personal way Cozzens wanted to be renovated for the public, and

Bruccoli’s omnibus was a way to do just that. Cozzens began laboring over the introduction in late 1976.

His first introduction draft, aptly titled “About Being Written About: or By

Nimiety Possessed,” is a long, pedagogical treatment on reviewers and young writers, and serves to catalogue “the qualifications of a fit reader of James Gould Cozzens” (A

Life Apart 275). These include: One, “the reader has simply got be grownup” (“About”


276); two, “the reading I expect him to have done includes no learned lumber. I only ask that, when I bring occasion for it before him, that he show himself familiar (meaning as familiar as I myself may happen to be) with books which colleges term the Company of

Educated Men are, or used to be, exposed to, perhaps forceably, but had at least the chance to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” (276);23 three, “that he pay attention and this attention must be unremittingly close, absolutely unwavering” (277). These three qualifications are concluded with Cozzens accosting readers’ abilities:

Prose like mine must…preempt more than fair share of the grownup, fitly

read, reader’s time. You can’t find the simple considerations of chances or

the reader to take five—or even, two. A skipped page, a paragraph, a line,

sometime even a word, a freedom most new-speak truly modern novels

allow him often and nearly anywhere he wants, isn’t allowed here. (277-


Bernice found her husband’s introduction off-putting and compared him to Sinclair

Lewis in his “dotage” (A Life Apart 278). Save for his list of reader qualifications, “By

Nimiety Possessed” more closely resembles a long, rambling notebook entry rather than a concentrated preface. Cozzens agreed to produce “Some Putative Facts of Hard Record” instead, but his unpublished preface offers his finest – and angriest – definition of reading qualities. Were this to accompany his collection, his readers would have, to paraphrase his preface, stayed out of the kitchen (“About” 278).

The lasting image of Cozzens resides in his preface/diary entries for Bruccoli’s collection, entitled “Some Putative Facts of Hard Record.” In his introductory letter to

23 Cozzens lists the following: “Shakespeare, the Book of Common Prayer, the King James Version of the Bible through, let’s say, A.E. Housman” (“About” 276). 279

Bruccoli he ponders why he “commenced author” in the first place (“Some Putative” xxiii), as he was looking over his newly found diary entries from 1923. He recalls Samuel

Johnson’s writing dictum – “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money” – and determines his writing would perhaps account for more than pure profit. However, he again issues a stern critique of partisan writing and argues that “the present numbers of today’s non-book literature with its commitment to ‘relevance’ in partisan causes economic or political” before considering the Victorians, who wrote “not for lucre but humanity’s betterment” (xxiv). In his youth Cozzens could not understand Johnson’s dictum, but after fifty years Cozzens concludes: “That was then. Time now the present.

While of course I can’t be sure, my drawn-out term in experience’s dear school has been suggestive. I must ask myself if what the Great Cham (he found you an argument: he cannot find you an understanding) had done, plain and simple, in clear homeliness, in no

Great Chamery, wasn’t best put this way. He’d said a mouthful” (xxiv).24 By splitting argument and understanding, Cozzens presses the right issue, for he wrote for his own personal benefit, not the benefit of others. When young, he had perhaps seen the potential in writing to change the world, but in his “suggestive” age he claims to have instead presented the world as he saw it, rather than change. That he made money doing this was no small matter, and Johnson’s dictum forces Cozzens to question his entire career. He made money, so he certainly was not a blockhead. Cozzens invokes his greatest influence

(Samuel Johnson), strikes at a period he rarely spoke publicly about (his youth), and seems satisfied with his past. Much of the anger of the earlier version was replaced with contemplation and gratitude to a friend who was willing to give the work its due, rather than force an autobiography. Cozzens presents himself as the seasoned professional

24 The Great Cham was a nickname for Johnson. 280

writer ready to finish his career. He passed away prior to the release of Just


James Gould Cozzens’s profession required certain public moments, moments

Cozzens refused to grant. As the final note tolling over Cozzens’s literary career, his simple declaration – that Johnson had said a mouthful – echoes his own work. Late in life he determined that a subtle entrance into the public would suffice, rather than whole-scale regeneration. Cozzens left his literary rights to – he and Bernice had no children – and his books are now out of print save for Guard of Honor and By Love

Possessed. Cozzens paid this little attention, since “no introspective shy guy like me could ever hope to make himself go public on what he’s apt to think of as his private parts” (Letter to Byron Dobell 7 November 1964). He lived well off of the money his writing granted him, and for him that was enough. At the conclusion of The Just and the

Unjust, Judge Coates tells his son to avoid cynicism, for “nobody promises you a good time or an easy time” (The Just and the Unjust 434). To make living possible “so much has to be done by so many people that, on the face of it, it is impossible. Well every day, we do it; and every day, come hell, come high water, we’re going to have to go on doing it as well as we can” (434). He finally asks his son to do the impossible (434). James

Gould Cozzens was a tireless craftsman, architect, and student of truthful representation, and his late career forewords anchored the last of his authorial possibilities to the persona he had spent fifty years cultivating. He worked at his craft on his own terms, and he did it as well as he could. His reclamation was his own, for “to be any good, any satisfaction,

‘honors’ would seem to me to have to come to you, not be gone after or wrangled for”

(Selected Notebooks 67). It seems that Cozzens’s work is still waiting for its due.


II: Highly Vocal Ghosts: Toni Morrison’s Reprint Forewords

All narrative begins for me as listening. When I read, I listen. When I write, I listen—for silence, inflection, rhythm, rest. Then comes the image, the picture of the thing that I have to invent: the headless bride in her wedding dress; the forest clearing. There is performance, too: ‘zzz went the saw,’ accompanied by gesture. And cadence: ‘Old man Simon Gillicutty, caaatch me.’ I need to use everything—sound, image, performance—to get at the full meaning of the story because I may be called upon to re-tell it for the pleasure of adults. Their judgment of my interpretation is critical. – Toni Morrison25

Concluding this study with Toni Morrison has its benefits and drawbacks. Of all writers in my study, she is the only one still writing. Her latest novel, Home, was published in 2012, and her follow-up, God Help the Child, was released in April 2015. At

84, she regularly gives lectures at select institutions, though less frequently given her age and health. Her novels are all in print in numerous editions, a result of winning the Nobel

Prize for literature in 1993, and nearly all are frequent subjects of scholarly work. From

1975 to the present, Morrison registers 2,405 articles, chapters, books and essays on the

MLA International Bibliography. For perspective, the other authors in my study register the following: 1) Willa Cather–2,235; 2) Ring Lardner–103; 3) F. Scott Fitzgerald–2,283;

4) Ernest Hemingway–4,663; 5) James Gould Cozzens–110. Although Hemingway doubles her entries, the scholarly response to Morrison inhabits only a forty year period.

The same can be said for Cather and Fitzgerald, whose equal numbers take on a different element when stacked against the shortened period of Morrison’s work.

However, her scholarly popularity also proves hindering. Unlike the authors listed above, Morrison’s career has yet to be the subject of a scholarly biography, and none of her editorial correspondence has been published. In a somewhat serendipitous turn,

Morrison chose to gift her personal papers to Princeton University in late 2014 while this study was underway. Even with this development the materials will not be processed and

25 “Foreword.” Tar Baby. 1981. New York: Vintage International, 2004. xi. 282

prepared for several years, but textual studies of Morrison’s work and career seem imminent. Throughout her career, Toni Morrison has garnered success as a senior literary editor for Random House from 1964 to 1983, a college professor at various institutions (Texas Southern University: 1955-57; Howard University: 1957-1965;

SUNY-Purchase: 1971-75; : 1976-1983; Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at SUNY-Albany: 1984-1988; Robert E. Goheen Professor in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University: 1989-2006), 26 a political activist, and world- renowned author. Her professional narrative proves palpable on a number of levels, yet her biography rests solely on her interviews with various publications and public essays, and her views regarding literature and culture feed through those same pieces. However, given her status as a retired professor and literary editor, as well as the author of ten novels and a monograph of criticism, her influence reaches beyond her fiction. She was a staple of ’s “Oprah’s Book Club,” with four of her titles offered as selections,27 and three of her novels – The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved – are required reading on syllabi and reading lists throughout the United States. A nominee for the National Book Award (for Sula and Beloved), the winner of a National Book

Critics Circle Award (for Song of Solomon), the Pulitzer Prize (for Beloved), the

Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the last American recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature, Toni Morrison’s possesses significant public authority. But because of our lack of scholarly biography, published correspondence, and descriptive bibliography,

Morrison’s oeuvre remains ripe for textual criticism. Every author in this study is the

26 Morrison was the first African American woman to hold an endowed chair at an Ivy League university.

27 The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, and Paradise. For an excellent study of Morrison’s relationship to Winfrey and her book club, consult John K. Young’s Black Writers, White Publishers: Marketplace Politics in Twentieth-Century African American Literature (UP of Mississippi, 2006). 283

subject of at least one biography and have had their papers made accessible in some form; their papers are all available for study in various institutions and are the basis of much scholarly research. Morrison noted in a recent interview: “I do think about what they call ‘my papers.’ […] Put them someplace where no one can write some stupid biography” (Kachka 6). She instead concludes that “I think I’d prefer they got it wrong”

(6). Time will tell if Morrison’s materials result in biographies, collections of correspondence, facsimiles of manuscripts, and descriptive bibliographies, but until then

Toni Morrison remains an enigma, a very public figure possessed of a private authority whose texts are only available to us in their published form.

Given this vacuum, Morrison’s authority is a fascinating example of literary trust.

Readers trust Morrison’s accounts in interviews and elsewhere, since it is all they have got, and she continues to fashion her persona through a series of interviews and lectures.

However, somewhat buried in her canon are several short forewords written for a reprint run of her novels begun in June 2004. Published by Vintage International, a subsidiary of

Random House-owned Alfred A. Knopf, these forewords offer a glimpse into the above stated gaps in Morrison scholarship. Informative, pedagogical, lyrical, humorous, concerned, elevating, and seemingly honest, Morrison’s late career forewords reestablish the notion of the Uniform Edition in the contemporary literary marketplace. Each foreword manifests a different part of the author’s public and private development, which results in Morrison writing her artistic biography. With their physical attachment to a book each foreword buoys Morrison’s private and public authority. But the question remains: Why would Morrison attach these forewords to her novels so far into her career?

Is their retrospective function more than just biographical? Like Cozzens, is Morrison


attempting to correct certain infelicities surrounding her authorship? Is she defending her critical reputation following the release of Love (2003)?28 Addressing all of these questions are Toni Morrison’s late career forewords, where she speaks to the myriad functions of authorship in direct, unobstructed ways. As if returning the authorial preface to its traditional form, Morrison creates mini-histories, treatises on teaching and reading, and pedagogical tracts meant to expand a reader’s purview. She defines her authorship – both privately and publicly – for a public already saturated with her fiction and attempts to gain autonomy over her legacy. Her forewords bring this study full-circle, with each writing function – editor, writer, author, reader, teacher – encapsulated in each foreword.

Born Chloe Wofford (February 18, 1931), “Toni Morrison” did not become commonplace until the publication of her first novel, to which it was affixed. The surname of her ex-husband (Harold Morrison), coupled with the nickname she received while a college student (Toni), resulted in her present authorial incarnation. Prior to the publication of the novel, Morrison became senior editor at Random House in 1964, where she worked with authors Toni Cade Bambara, Gayle Jones, Leon Forrest, and Lucille

Clifton. Her work on The Black Book (1974), an edited collection of African American articles, press clippings, accounts, scraps, and fragments Morrison described as “an organic book which made up its own rules” (“Rediscovering Black History” 44), proved her most personal editorial project. She added, “I am not sure what the project meant to the authors, but for me it was like growing up black one more time” (44). Morrison wrote a new foreword for the 35th anniversary edition published in 2009, and expressed further

28 While many reviews of Love were positive, some prominent reviewers thought less of Morrison’s new work. called the novel “haphazard” and “one of her slighter efforts” (“Book of the Times: Family Secrets, Feuding Women”), and called the novel “clotted, tedious, uninviting” (“Toni Morrison: An Introduction” 1-2). 285

her connection to the material, for “now, thirty-five years later, the material can still enrage, can still excite a reader enough to want to share it with a friend and still break a heart with love and pity” (Foreword to The Black Book xiv).29 The book, rather than just the modest coffee-table object it was conceived to look like, “is more than a welcome gift; it is a requirement for our national health” (xiv). The full force of Morrison’s status holds sway, with her name affixed to the book for the first time.30

Her editing and writing careers coalesced into one upon the publication of The

Bluest Eye (1970), which was followed by Sula (1973) and Song of Solomon (1977). In an interview for Encore American and Worldwide News, Morrison responded to her success following Song of Solomon: “You can begin to talk about things you know nothing about…Remember the sixties? Also, I don’t like being lionized. You really can’t use it and it doesn’t mean a thing when you’re sitting in front of that , trying to think what comes after The” (Giddings 14).31 She refined her literary celebrity further when interviewer Pepsi Charles asked the author if her novels helped her “as a woman.”

Morrison responded: “I think of helping me as a woman as having something to do with the complicated levels of one’s sexuality. But the books emanate out of where I am as a

Toni Morrison, as opposed to as a woman, or a Black, or an editor, or any of these other words. But they enhance my life. Immeasurably” (Charles 23). By calling herself “a Toni

29 Morrison found an article entitled “A Visit to the Slave Mother Who Killed Her Child” during research. The mother, Margaret Garner, would become the model for Sethe in her Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, Beloved (1987).

30 Morrison wrote a poem as “Preface” to the first edition, included on the back jacket. Unsigned in the first edition, she signed it for the 2009 edition, along with her new foreword. This shows how far her public status had changed over the last thirty four years, going from a part-time writer of two novels who edits manuscripts, to Toni Morrison.

31 Song of Solomon was a main selection of the BOMC in 1977, the first novel by an African American to be so honored since Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940). 286

Morrison,” the author separates her writing functions and notes the difference in her personal and private narratives. “Toni Morrison” is her public persona, as Chloe Wofford exists in several states: writer, editor, mother, daughter, ex-wife, etc. Her separate functions position her as more than the Toni Morrison so engrained in the public reading consciousness. She told Boris Kachka that “Chloe writes the books,” while Toni

Morrison facilitates tours, interviews, “legacy and all of that” (Kachka 1). These revelations drive the eventual creation of her forewords for Vintage.

Consequently, many of Morrison’s interviews cover her identities. She willingly promotes the separation of selves integral to creating serious fiction and recognizes “the conflict between public and private life” by noting “you have a public and private expression going on at the same time. To transfer that is not possible. So I just do the obvious, which is to keep my life as private as possible; not because it is all that interesting, it’s just important that it be private. And then, whatever I do that is public can be done seriously” (“Rootedness: The Ancestor as Foundation” 56-7). After Morrison won the Nobel Prize, Sheldon Hackney asked if her past was enriching, to which she replied “indeed. I think an individual or even a country needs that. I mean, a certain kind of amnesia is just intolerable. In personal life, you have to know what happened and why and figure it out, and then you can go on to another level freer, stronger, tempered in some way. Constantly burying it, distorting it, and pretending, I think, is unhealthy”

(Hackney 129). Morrison consistently utilizes her conflicting personas to define her authorial stature, and the Chloe Wofford/Toni Morrison dynamic reached a distinct crossroad when she was asked about a house fire which destroyed the vast majority of her


personal property. In a 1998 interview with Zia Jaffrey, Morrison made clear her separation of functions:

And I lost…I write by hand…I was able to save some books, but I had all

my manuscripts, notes from old books, in my bedroom on the second floor

[…] My manuscripts, I didn’t care, I mean, I’m never going to look at that

stuff again, so that wasn’t the hurtful part to me. They had a value, I think,

to my children. As an inheritance. But I know I would never look at that

stuff again. I would never look at The Bluest Eye—seven versions, in

hand, of it—again. So I was not that upset about that. Other people might

be interested in that. For me, it was the pictures of my children and of

myself. Family. And I have nothing. Everything’s gone. So, I’m sorry

about my children’s report cards, I’m sorry about my jade plants, certain

clothes. (Jaffrey 153)

When faced with a fire, Chloe Wofford saved what she could. Prosperity and legacy are not a part of Wofford; they are done for the sake of “Toni Morrison.” Her dual identities are present throughout the response, as she notes the personal anguish over losing her sons’ report cards rather than several versions of The Bluest Eye. Value, as she stipulates, may be found by others regarding her manuscript material, but for her the value of family history supersedes these artifacts. Chloe Wofford would never look at one of the seven manuscripts of The Bluest Eye again, but Toni Morrison’s scholarly legacy may be hindered because of their destruction. Morrison engages in this complex exercise with her public, as her private life rarely receives full explication.


However, in June 2004 Morrison began publishing a series of trade edition forewords for each of her novels. Beginning with Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby,

Beloved, and Jazz, Morrison sets out to define and advance her authorial purpose and explicate meanings, metaphors, intentions, symbols, and reactions. While she had performed a similar exercise in her many interviews, these forewords solidify and centralize her legacy from an artistic viewpoint. Appending reprints with forewords results in altered reading habits, shifting expectations, and “reconstituting the genesis of the work” (Genette 252). Henry James assured readers of The Portrait of a Lady that “the house of fiction has in short not one window, but a million—a number of possible windows not to be reckoned, rather; every one of which has been pierced, or is still piercable, in its vast front, by the need of the individual vision and by the pressure of the individual will” (Preface to Portrait of a Lady 1075). Morrison opens new windows and asserts her individual artistic will with her forewords, and each represents a specific point in Morrison’s professional career, from editor to editor/teacher to editor/author/teacher to teacher/author to Nobel Laureate. A new foreword for her 2003 novel Love, was included in the Vintage reprint in 2005, and a foreword for The Bluest Eye, culled from her original “Afterword” in Knopf’s 1993 reprint published three weeks after winning the

Nobel Prize, appeared in a 2007 Vintage reprint. Her final Vintage foreword was released in 2014, accompanying her 1997 novel Paradise. All told, eight of her ten published novels have been reprinted as Vintage International editions,32 featuring seven new forewords and a reworked foreword. These pieces have received no serious recognition, as academics and popular readers failed to recognize the inherent value in Morrison’s exercise. She hinted at her intentions in a 12 February 2004 radio interview with Michael

32 Her latest novels, A Mercy (2008) and Home (2012), have not yet been released with forewords. 289

Silverblatt for Bookworm. Completed five months prior to the initial release of her forewords, Morrison characterizes the effects of her novels, for “the more familiar [the book] becomes, my hope is that it doesn’t become dross, that it’s still interesting; to look in these nooks and crannies, to have that visceral response as well as this sort of cognitive, intellectual response to how this whole thing is put together” (Silverblatt 222).

She concludes by expressing her own reading habits, and perhaps hearkens to the forewords she would create for her new edition:

I mean I, and I’m sure you have, books that you read one year and later on

you read them again, and it’s a different book or it appears to be. It isn’t.

You’ve changed perhaps or you know more now, or you’re looking for

something else other than the obvious, other than the what happens. And

the only other thing I know like that—well I’m sure they’re many other

things—but the one that comes closest to mind is, in addition to becoming

familiar with and interested in a house, is also music in which you hear a

song when you’re seventeen and then you have a powerful reaction in one

way. And you hear it later, and you have another reaction. But what you’re

reacting to is the same piece of music, perhaps done in different hands, but

your memories of it are of the first time you encountered it, as well as

what you’re thinking now, and so now it’s worth listening to again. (222-


Considering the weight with which Morrison characterizes the senses and feelings wrapped up in reading, her forewords deftly express these sentiments from the standpoint of recollection, retrospection, and memory. She remembers moments with her readers


and offers them semi-privately between the covers of her fiction. For Morrison, her books are worth reading again.

Aesthetically, the books feature a unified color scheme on the spine with identical print and organization. Each front cover features a distinct flowing typography, with the title slanting upward from left to right. Below each title reads: “A novel by/ Toni


AUTHOR.”33 The back cover features an older Morrison, staring straight ahead with her left arm across her chest and wearing white pearls against black with her signature grey hair. Her look is stern, concerned, and diplomatic. As a uniform edition, these reprints move Morrison ahead in age for her picture and attempt to showcase an older, wiser, and more reflective author – a position she takes up in her forewords. Her forewords allow for readers and critics to understand her private and public lives simultaneously, as her facts and her fictions lay claim to the same textual space. Morrison told interviewer Ann

Hostetler that “a book is a place you can inhabit and return to. When did we get afraid to go back, to reread? […] I’d like my books to be read more than once” (Hostetler 200).

Her stance on rereading populates her forewords and prompts her readers to “circle back into the text” (200), a similar task she requires of her students. Morrison’s reprint forewords offer platforms for literary, pedagogical, and critical exercises from the writer, author, editor, teacher, critic, and reader known professionally as “Toni Morrison.” After rereading The American, James wished to “woo back such fine hours of precipitation”

(Preface to The American 1057) and feel the romantic instincts of his youth again.

33 The Bluest Eye features “A FOREWORD BY THE AUTHOR” due to the original afterword being published fourteen years earlier. Love differs slightly from the other editions; while the back cover matches the others, the front cover features a painting of a young girl rising out of a yellow flower, the title and author below. The first edition jacket of Love follows the scheme of the collection, perhaps prompting Vintage to recast its cover in order to differentiate it for the public. 291

Likewise, Morrison uses her forewords to woo her private history out into the open for new – and old – readers to appreciate, and she still finds her novels as powerful, prescient, and timely as when they were first published.

After Morrison delivered her Nobel laureate address on 7 December 1993, Knopf released a series of her novels by late December. Beginning with The Bluest Eye, and eventually including Sula, Song of Solomon, and Tar Baby, the reprint run brought many of her early works back into public view. The only reprint to include any new authorial material was The Bluest Eye, which featured an afterword by Morrison. The afterword lets the fiction take precedence and ultimately leads readers to want explanation, or even justification, for why they finished the book. Morrison’s afterword supplied the explanation. She noted earlier in her preface to Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the

Literary Imagination that “writing and reading mean being aware of the writer’s notions of risk and safety, the serene achievement of or sweaty fight for, meaning and response- ability” (Playing in the Dark xi). Morrison takes this into account by explaining the many themes captured in her work and equally places responsibility on readers. She describes how “beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do” (The

Bluest Eye 1993 209), and she uses her characterization of Pecola Breedlove as the metaphor for “racial self-loathing” (210). Morrison focuses on “how something as grotesque as the demonization of an entire race could take root inside the most delicate member of society: a child; the most vulnerable member: a female,” while she explores

“social and domestic aggression that could cause a child to literally fall apart” (210). Her intentions certainly stem from her displeasure with the first appearance of the novel, published in 1970 by Holt, Rinehart & Winston to little fanfare and middling reviews.


She confidently determines the importance of the first line of her novel – “Quiet as it’s kept” – and notes its “conspiratorial” nature (212). She explains: “the conspiracy is both held and withheld, exposed and sustained. In some sense it was precisely what the act of writing the book was: a public exposure of a private confidence” (212). Morrison notes the heated political climate of the late sixties during composition and the continued idea of secrets kept between readers and writers. Her novel, told from the point-of-view of the young Claudia McTeer about the younger Pecola Breedlove, asks deep questions regarding identity, perspective, tradition, and expectation. Morrison brings readers into her conspiracy and leads those readers into a relationship with Pecola’s submerged and repressed decline, for “the book can be seen to open with its close: a speculation on the disruption of ‘nature’ as being a social disruption with tragic individual consequences in which the reader, as part of the population of the text, is implicated” (214). This implication proves important, but Morrison finds her execution “unsatisfactory,” and feels her approach “required a sophistication unavailable to me” due to her status as a first-time novelist (215).

However, Morrison concludes on a positive note. She expresses a satisfaction with her use of language, which remains the most impressive achievement and primary strength of the novel. Her aspirations were larger than she anticipated, resulting in a career-spanning personal charge:

My choices of language (speakerly, aural, colloquial), my reliance for full

comprehension on codes embedded in black culture, my effort to effect

immediate co-conspiracy and intimacy (without any distancing,

explanatory fabric), as well as my attempt to shape a silence while


breaking it are attempts to transfigure the complexity and wealth of Black-

American culture into a language worthy of the culture. (215-16)

Morrison’s uses “my” to gain ownership of her decisions, which is a strong stance considering her apparent dissatisfaction with parts of the novel one paragraph earlier. She qualifies numerous codes, intimacies, and transfigurations, promotes the slight novel as the work of a newly-minted Nobel laureate, and solidifies its important role in her authorial development. She sees her “narrative project” equally difficult in the present as when she began it (216). Her attempts to conjure “a language worthy of the culture” cast the remainder of her career as exercises in identity, complexity, and creativity, all qualities initially created for The Bluest Eye. Her final paragraph reminds readers from

1970, along with her initial publisher, just how far her work had come in twenty-three years, for “with very few exceptions, the initial publication of The Bluest Eye was like

Pecola’s life; dismissed, trivialized, misread. And it has taken twenty-five years to gain for her the respectful publication this edition is” (216). Though her edition features a new afterword, the text remains unchanged. The “respectful publication” came with better advertising, a larger publisher – Alfred A. Knopf, for whom she published the remainder of her work post-The Bluest Eye – and a stronger individual perspective. Morrison signed her afterword, “Princeton, New Jersey / November, 1993,” another reminder of the status, evolution, and socio-cultural standing her novel now benefits from. A Nobel-laureate and

Pulitzer-prize winning professor from Princeton carries more weight than her initial persona from 1970, and Morrison knows that. No name, just public status. This afterword proves integral for two reasons. One, none of the other 1993 reprints carried an afterword or prefatory statement, leading one to believe that her manipulation of The Bluest Eye


was done as a corrective in the face of the better-received Sula, Song of Solomon, and Tar

Baby. Two, the afterword helped shape her persona once Vintage began a uniform edition eleven years later. The elements Morrison focuses on in her afterword – language, culture, community, vulnerability – merge into her collected forewords, but she also adds a crucial component to her social experiment: her personal history.

Between the 1993 reprints and the 2004 Vintage collection, Morrison became a fixture on Oprah Winfrey’s book club. Mixing “canonicity and commercialism,”

Morrison’s inclusion replaced “separate white and black readerships with a single, popular audience” and allowed for the author’s entrance into the popular literary market

(Young 120). John Young argues that “for African American women writers in particular, cultural anonymity is the default position; rather than choosing [Thomas]

Pynchon’s seclusion they must attain public identities in order to be recognized as authors” (129). Morrison’s academic and cultural statuses were secure following her

1993 Nobel Prize, but marrying two fields – academic and popular – proved enormously successful. Sula, Song of Solomon, Paradise, and The Bluest Eye became bestsellers and generated significant sales thanks to Oprah’s book club. Morrison’s involvement placed her in both high and low art mediums, which expanded her authority beyond the prize- winning author of complex novels. Young determines that “Morrison’s efforts to construct herself as an author who participates equally in both high and popular cultures

[…] develops from a tradition of mutual exclusion of which a commercial and canonical text appears a double dream deferred” (130). In reference to Langston Hughes’ poem,34

Young sees Morrison’s involvement with Winfrey as a corrective to white publishers of black authors, as the two “redraw the lines among art, commodity, publisher, and reader”

34 “A Dream Deferred.” 295

(132). The dream of critical and popular success is possible if given the right circumstances, and Winfrey’s “publication” of Morrison’s novels benefited both equally; one gained in popularity (Morrison) while the other earned cultural status (Winfrey).

Even so, late interviews suggest that Morrison was more ambivalent toward

Winfrey and her book club than previously thought. Merging popularity and critical acclaim is a tough sell, especially when the author possesses the Nobel Prize, teaches at

Princeton, and carries more academic weight than any other living author. She told Pam

Houston in 2005 that after winning the prize, “I had to work at it then” (Houston 253).

Part of the work was , and Morrison promoted her work similar to how she envisioned literature in her speech upon accepting the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.35 She felt that authorship was

“creating and producing and distributing knowledge; about making it possible for the entitled as well as the dispossessed to experience one’s own mind dancing with another’s” (“The Dancing Mind” 190).36 Winfrey began the book club the same year and the success of her club was due largely in part to Morrison’s inclusion; the author made numerous appearances on her show and publicly promoted the club. However, Morrison attempted to distance herself from Winfrey and others as late as 2012. Interviewer Boris

Kachka writes that Morrison was “the most ambivalent” (5) of Winfrey’s many book club authors, and wanted to “cut them loose,” referring to the sisterhood of black, empowered writers/celebrities she helped spearhead in the first place (1).37 She told

35 6 November 1996.

36 This statement was part of Morrison’s speech upon accepting the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (6 November 1996). Winfrey began the book club the same year.

37 The interview mentions and as prime examples. 296

Michael Saur in 2004: “My son asked me recently: ‘The person who got the Nobel Prize, does she walk behind you or in front of you? Do you like her, or don’t you?’ I do like her, and she walks ahead of me, so that I can see her and warn her before she does anything foolish” (Saur 227). In the Vintage forewords Morrison looks at her work and perhaps offers a corrective to the commodification and increased popular status of her fiction, largely due to Winfrey’s book club. She controls her authority by blending personal and professional narratives between the covers of a book, which results in a private/public space38 for truly dedicated readers.39 The forewords show the increased awareness of

“Toni Morrison” and literary posterity, as she offers the culture – whose language is her language – a confident voice and persona by linking the privacy of Chloe Wofford with the publicity of Toni Morrison. These pieces are primary materials which trace an author’s relationship with composition, editing, culture, and legacy. Morrison’s forewords give us a vastly amplified and keenly aware writer designing her future, settling her scores, and claiming her literary posterity.

Toni Morrison’s first foreword shows that she always considered Sula a political novel. She begins with an overview of being labeled a “politically minded writer” and notes the “embarrassment of being called” such a writer (Sula xi). Morrison recalls “the light from any accusation of revealing an awareness of the political world in one’s fiction turned my attention to the source of the panic and the means by which writers sought to ease it” (xi). She asks, “What could be so bad about being socially astute, politically aware in literature? Conventional wisdom agrees that political fiction is not art; that such

38 Recall Melville’s “piazza.”

39 The Vintage reprints are trade, rather than mass-market, paperbacks. 297

work is less likely to have aesthetic value because politics—all politics—is agenda and therefore its presence taints aesthetic production” (xi). This statement speaks directly to her involvement in editing The Black Book for Random House, published in 1974 and developed during her composition of Sula. The politically-minded Morrison makes the reader aware of the “inordinate burden on African American writers” because of their association with politically motivated works by the end of the 1960s. This pigeon-holing leads Morrison to argue, “whether they were politically motivated of any sort, or whether they were politically inclined, aware, or aggressive, the fact that their race or the race of their characters doomed them to a ‘political-only’ analysis of their work” (xi). She was not immune to this reduction and recalls the indifferent reviews to The Bluest Eye.

Reviewers carefully positioned themselves, for “if the novel was good, it was because it was faithful to a certain kind of politics; if it was bad, it was because it was faithless to them. The judgment was based on whether ‘Black people are—or are not—like this’”

(xii). With Sula, Morrison rooted the novel in an environment where , class, and gender struggle all comingle. She claims that “it may be difficult now to imagine how it felt to be seen as a problem to be solved rather than a writer to be read” and cites the “no- win” situation of prominent black writers – , Ralph Ellison, James

Baldwin, and Richard Wright – being called upon to “write an essay addressing the

‘problem’ of being a ‘Negro’ writer” (xii). She chooses her personal sensibility over the issue of problem solving, which infuses politics and aesthetics into Sula. Her questions prove more universal than contrived, as she asks “what is friendship between women when unmediated by men? What choices are available to black women outside their own society’s approval? What are the risks of individualism in a determinedly individualistic,


yet racially uniform and socially static, community?” (xiii). This larger goal elevates her work, which she can now express confidently because of her new authorial role.

Morrison splits the remainder of her foreword into two distinct parts. She focuses on the aesthetic representation of female freedom and character in the novel, followed by a compositional history, which links her personal history with the history of the novel.

Morrison defines her four main female characters – Hannah, Nel, Sula, and Eva – as

“points of a cross—each one a choice for characters bound by gender and race” (xiii-xiv).

She blends sacrifice, personal liberty, and resistance in order to encompass a kind of freedom: “Female freedom always means sexual freedom, even when—especially when—it is seen through the prism of economic freedom” (xiii). Her female characters all experience different aspects of security, financial independence/dependence, and choice, which forms her cross. She determines that “the nexus of that cross would be a merging of responsibility and liberty difficult to reach, a battle among women who are understood to be at least able to win it” (xiv). Morrison puts “wires” around the arms of her cross, which creates a suffocating society “confined to a village by the same forces that mandated the struggle. And the only possible triumph was that of the imagination”

(xiv). Therein was Morrison’s goal, “to use folk language, vernacular in a manner neither exotic nor comic, neither minstrelized nor microscopically analyzed. I wanted to redirect, reinvent the political, cultural, and artistic judgments saved for African American writers” (xiv). This proud and direct pronouncement of intention lords over her book, a thirty year old novel noted for its human story rather than its politics. However, by shining the light back on her blend (politics/aesthetics) Morrison is able to craft her prefatory narrative as one of newness and boundlessness rather than pigeon holes and


reduction. The remainder of her foreword speaks to this split, with “snatching liberty” as the interlocutor.

She recounts how her condition – commuting to for work and raising two boys alone – “moved from debilitating stress to hilarity” (xiv). Her league of

“single/separated female” friends shared her condition and contributed to an artful community that could “think up things, try things, explore” (xv). The freedom came from having less, where “nobody was minding us, so we minded ourselves” (xv). Her sense of freedom brought her into a continuum of history. She asks, “What could that mean in

1969 that it had not meant in the 1920s? The image of the woman who was both envied and cautioned against came to mind” (xv). The title character of the novel is a pariah and a savior, the scapegoat and the life-force for the “Bottom,” an African American section above the fertile, white town of Medallion. Her betrayal and redemption personifies the complex freedom Morrison outlines in her foreword: can a woman of Sula’s independence, fortitude, and isolation inhabit concurrent social positions? Her novel opens with what Morrison calls “a lobby” whereby a white gaze separates the “black- topic” text from the “diminished expectations of the reader” (xv). Quoting from her previously published essay, “Unspeakable Things Unspoken,” Morrison recasts her

“lobby” as an introduction and translation by a “valley man” where she lets “ ‘a stranger in, through whose eyes it can be viewed.’ This deference paid to the ‘white’ gaze was the one time I addressed the ‘problem’ ” (xvi). Indeed, rather than thrust the reader into the demented mind of the suicidal veteran Shadrack, Morrison offers a slight history of “the

Bottom” and Medallion, as well as the mythological connotations Sula’s name conjures in the community. Morrison reads her lobby as a political move that separates white gaze


and black-topic text in order to make light of and situate the “problem” of African

American authorship. She defends her revision thusly:

In the revised opening I tried to represent discriminatory, prosecutorial

racial oppression as well as the community’s efforts to remain stable and

healthy: the neighborhood has been almost completely swept away by

commercial interests (a golf course), but the remains of what sustained it

(music, dancing, craft, religion, irony, wit) are what the ‘valley man,’ the

stranger, sees—or could have seen. It is a more inviting embrace then

Shadrack’s organized public madness—it helps to unify the neighborhood

until Sula’s anarchy challenges it. (xvi)40

Unity opens the novel, while separation ends it. Her introduction to the community allows her political/aesthetic blend to take shape, as she claims “in much literature a woman’s escape from male rule led to regret, misery, if not complete disaster. In Sula I wanted to explore the consequences of what that escape might be, on not only a conventional black society, but on female friendship” (xvi-xvii). She mixes her close female friendships during composition with her authorial drive to explore cultural trends.

Bringing biography, composition, and intention together, Morrison concludes: “In 1969, in Queens, snatching liberty seemed compelling. Some of use thrived; some of us died.

All of us had a taste” (xvii). The taste was paramount for Morrison and her second novel, for even with the current working against the kind of story she was compelled to write, her book fused political and artistic freedom; by 2004, Morrison had achieved both.

40 This bears striking resemblance to the opening of William Faulkner’s , which has Benjy Compson looking out onto his family’s old property—now a golf course. 301

Morrison’s foreword for Sula mounted a defense on multiple planes, which may have derived from the author’s multiple roles during composition. In her forewords for

Song of Solomon and Tar Baby Morrison incorporates her family – specifically her father and grandmother – as integral parts of both narratives, which institutes a through-line of storytelling crucial to both novels. Seen together, both forewords propel Morrison’s narrative project back towards her family, one the “‘dark finger that guides’” (SOS xii) and the other the one that needed her dreams (Tar Baby xiv). Both novels rely on buried histories, tales told, and the desire to disentangle familial legends;41 Morrison provides her own entanglements in both forewords, and by doing so she displays a host of authorial possibilities. The novels are a diptych, results of the author “going big” at the behest of her editor Robert Gottlieb and identifying herself as a writer.42 The newfound success of Song of Solomon and the quiet approval of Tar Baby propelled Morrison’s career, and in the forewords we are reminded of her influences, both realistic and fantastic. Song of Solomon follows Milkman Dead through a series of coming-of-age developments ranging from familial struggle to sexual desire. Morrison tells a straight- forward story that integrates magical counterpoints to the realistic narrative – for example, the protagonist’s grandfather, Solomon, is said to have flown away from slavery back to Africa. On the other hand, Tar Baby radically reimagines the popular “tar

41 For instance, John Solomon Willis, Morrison’s grandfather, “was not only an artist but a first-rate carpenter and farmer, reduced to sending home to his family money he made playing the violin because he was not able to find work” (“A Slow Walk of Trees” 3-4). Note her insistence on his ability to create things in several modes (playing music, building structures, cultivating crops, etc.).

42 In a 1980 interview with Kathy Neustadt, Morrison recounted an exchange between her and Gottlieb: “I now think of myself as a writer. I didn’t realize it on my own though. It was after Sula was published; I was talking to my editor (Robert Gottlieb of Knopf) one day and he said, ‘This is what you are going to be when you grow up. This is it.’ I said, ‘A writer?’ He said, ‘That’s right. Of all those other little things you do, this is it. This is what you are’” (Neustadt 88).


baby” legend, where the ordinary and extraordinary blend – similar to Solomon – and quake under the author’s control.43 Morrison provides commentary on her craft, specifically the use of flight in Solomon and her reading of the tar baby legend in Tar

Baby, but she also beckons to a personal source of inspiration. Though her forewords tend toward tradition, the author continues to blend personal and public together to form a continuum of influence and authority which drive her complex legacy forward.

Her foreword to Song of Solomon begins with a denunciation of “muses” in a literary sense. Morrison initially regards them as “a shield erected by artists to avoid articulating, analyzing, or even knowing the details of their creative process—for fear it would fade away” (SOS xi). Consequently, the foreword to Tar Baby has the author “on the linoleum floor, breathing through my mouth, rapt, watching the giveaway eyes of the grown-up telling the story,” for “all narrative begins for me as listening” (Tar Baby xi).

The two states exhibited by Morrison chart her writing evolution. Song of Solomon shows a distinct progress in Morrison’s narrative goals, for the writing of it “destroyed all that

[concerning the muses]. I had no access to what I planned to write about until my father died” (SOS xi). Her father’s death heralded memory and redefinition, for he “had a flattering view of me as someone interesting, capable, witty, smart, high-spirited. I did not share that view of myself, and wondered why he held it. But it was the death of that girl—the one who lived in his head—that I mourned when he died. Even more than I mourned him, I suffered the loss of the person he thought I was” (xii). Upon his death, she “deliberately sought his advice for writing the novel that continued to elude me,” and with his apparent answer Morrison found that the muse she had earlier decried “exists

43 The legend gets its most popular treatment in Joel Chandler Harris’s short story “The Tar-Baby,” part of his Uncle Remus Stories (1881). 303

and, in many forms,” and “I have trusted it ever since” (xii). Coming to trust her muses carries her composition of Tar Baby further, as Morrison crafts small episodes of life alongside legend and interpretation. After judging the interpretation of her work by adults as “critical” to her narrative process, she confesses that “it is my grandmother I most want to please” (Tar Baby xi). A recollection of her grandmother’s features follows:

“yummy food, unique attention, playfulness, or loving sternness—these features are often summoned to sweeten one’s memory of a grandmother. Whether true or screened by time and loss, the relationship between grandmother and child usually surfaces as a warm and satisfying one” (xi). This satisfaction leads to why her grandmother “wanted my dreams, mine alone, to interpret when she played the numbers. They were important to her, so I recalled them, shaped them into stories which, like hers, needed interpretation” (xii).44

Similarly, once addressed by her father – in some state – Morrison is able to break free and compose her new novel, Song of Solomon, written with a male center as opposed to a female one. These shifts and influences speak to the persona Morrison promotes: a miner, purveyor, and keeper of buried familial histories.

At this point Morrison explains her process, both in research and in composition.

Song of Solomon would be “a journey, then, with the accomplishment of flight, the end of a trip through earth, to its surface, on into water, and finally into air.

All very saga-like. Old-school heroic, but with other meanings” (SOS xii). In her explanation of the tar baby myth, Morrison concludes:

44 Morrison told Charles Ruas in 1981, “My grandmother would ask me about my dreams and, depending on the content of them, she would go to the dream book, which would translate dreams into a three-digit number. That was the number you played in the numbers game […] she used to hit a lot on my dreams for about a year or two” (Ruas 100).


the principal relationship is not limited to the rabbit and the farmer; it is

also between the rabbit and the tar figure. She snares him; he knows it, yet

compounds his entanglement while demanding to be freed. A love story,

then. Difficult, unresponsive, but seducing woman and clever, anarchic

male, each with definitions of independence and domesticity, or safety and

danger that clash. (Tar Baby xiii)45

Her characters clash into both “lore and reality,” which creates “a blend that proved heady, even dizzying, but I believed the plotline solid and familiar enough to withhold or contain a reader’s sense of vertigo” (xiii). Morrison takes a clinical approach to her work on Solomon by explaining the dual meanings of “mercy” and “flight” throughout her novel, two terms “central to the narrative: flight as escape or confrontation; mercy the unspoken wish of the novel’s population” (SOS xiii). Morrison tends to explain not only the compositional beginnings of her novels but also their literal beginnings – primarily the first sentence of each book. She sees the entirety of Solomon encapsulated in her first sentence: “The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance agent promised to fly from Mercy to the other side of Lake Superior at three o’clock” (3). Indeed, Morrison has become known for her first sentences, and her foreword amplifies the process of creating that initial impression, similar to her explanation of the “lobby” to Sula. She adds that Tar

Baby “signals this conflict at the beginning: ‘He believed he was safe.’ ‘Believed’ rather than thought in order to stamp doubt, suggests unease” (Tar Baby xiii). Her explanation of Solomon’s first sentence – a short essay in and of itself – links mercy and flight into a

45 Morrison described the myth in the same interview with Ruas as follows: “It’s a lump of tar shaped like a baby, with a dress on and a bonnet. It’s a sunny day and the tar is melting, and the rabbit is getting stuck and more stuck. It’s really quite monstrous […] Of course, as in most peasant literature, that sort of weak but cunning animal gets outs of it by his cleverness. So I just gave these characters parts, Tar Baby being a black woman and the rabbit a black man. I introduced a white man and remembered the tar” (Ruas 102). 305

serviceable duality. She finds that “the sentence turns, as all sentences do, on its verb.

‘Promise.’ The insurance agent does not declare, announce, or threaten his act; he promises, as though a contract is being executed between himself and others” (SOS xiii).

Such a contract exists between author and reader in the form of the first sentence, whereby a reader willingly enters into the author’s space. Morrison is aware of this dynamic, and she uses it as the primary means of defining her authorial motivations.

Both forewords return to their muses, as Morrison explains the various flights throughout Solomon and concludes: “unlike most mythical flights, which clearly imply triumph, in the attempt if not the success, Solomon’s escape, the insurance man’s jump, and Milkman’s leap are ambiguous, disturbing” (xiv). This ambiguity leads her to question her main character’s primary conundrum: that his aunt Pilate, without ever leaving the ground, could fly. Morrison ends her foreword with her father laughing and calling to both her novel and her continued authorial success. Whether he laughs at the conceit of Milkman’s journey, the style in which Solomon is written, or the means by which his daughter created her novel, Morrison’s father firmly sits on her shoulder from here on out. Though denied earlier, his “dark finger” can no longer be denied, and

Morrison happily acquiesces. This familial confluence reads throughout the novel as

Milkman discovers, bit by agonizing bit, his family’s “story.” Similarly, the death of her grandmother from Albumen poisoning drives the narrative of Tar Baby, whose creation included “all four of us people the writing of Tar Baby as witness, as challenge, as judges intent on the uses to which stories are put and the manner of their telling” (Tar Baby xiv).

Morrison speaks of herself, her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, “three women and a girl who never stopped listening, watching, seeking their advice and eager


for their praise” (xiv), and she accounts for the feminine influence apparent in her work – as important as the masculine influence found in Solomon. However, just as Morrison had to yield to her father’s guidance after death, she reminds readers of her grandmother’s power by concluding, “but only one of them needed my dreams” (xiv).

The necessity of her stories reminds us of a youth spent listening and recreating moments for a woman eager to receive them. Both novels are linked to family, and Morrison wants to establish her commitment not only to writing as a profession, but to listening to stories as the means of creative expression.

Her forewords for Beloved and Jazz evoke another authorial manifestation: her conscious move from part-time writer to full-time author. The former marks her professional apex, a Pulitzer-Prize winner and canonical classic widely considered her masterwork, while the latter shows a playfulness (albeit still serious), a release into the realm of textual play begun in The Bluest Eye. Both states represent Morrison’s new role post-Beloved: full-time public author. Where the forewords for Song of Solomon and Tar

Baby rested firmly on the influence of family, Morrison chooses freedom as the guiding light for Beloved and a family trunk as the prominent composition symbol of Jazz. Fully aware of the reputations of both novels, Morrison continues to describe first sentences, initial moments, and early episodes, all points in both novels where readers may choose to engage or flee. So much has been written about Beloved – and therefore Jazz,

Morrison’s first novel post-Nobel prize – that a window into the author’s intentions seems futile. What matters are her singular choices; what to impress upon and what to leave out. These novels are among Morrison’s most difficult, both structurally and emotionally, and her forewords offer little in terms of corrective. However, what is


offered are windows into legacy and how Morrison chose to cast herself in the process of composing and publishing two of her most important literary experiments. What we are left with is an author fully aware of her artistic and cultural abilities. Her convincing argument for the “highly vocal ghosts” of Beloved and the “practice beyond the rules” of

Jazz shows Morrison at her freest, a symptom of leaving Random House four years before Beloved hit book shelves. It is this freedom Morrison wants us to recognize, and both novels signal a writer fully aware of her freedom and the means to control her newly freed future.

She expressed freedom with the foreword to Beloved, where she relates that “in

1983 I lost my job—or left it. One, the other, or both. In any case, I had been part-time for a while, coming into the publishing house one day a week to do the correspondence- telephoning-meetings that were part of the job; editing manuscripts at home” (Beloved xv). She left for two reasons; one, “I had written four novels and it seemed clear to everyone that writing was my central work,” and two, “the books I had edited were not earning scads of money, even when ‘scads’ didn’t mean what it means now” (xv). She publicly addresses her editorial history by listing Toni Cade Bambara, June Jordan, Gayle

Jones, Lucille Cliton, Henry Dumas, Leon Forrest, and others as crucial to her development. Morrison elevates her lineage in the African American literary tradition and acknowledges the role these authors played in creating Toni Morrison. Her history is always inclusive, as she recalls, “I convinced myself that it was time for me to live like a grown-up writer: off royalties and writing only. I don’t know what comic book that notion came from, but I grabbed it” (xvi). Charting her shift from editor to full-time author proves important for two reasons: First, Morrison certainly understands the


importance of Beloved after seventeen years, and second the novel needs to be the result of unadulterated effort, something new. Morrison noted in a 1988 interview that “there is no suitable memorial or plaque or wreath or wall or park or skyscraper lobby” for slavery, and because of that absence “the book had to” (“A Bench by the Road” 44).

When asked if she had a model in mind for such a memorial Morrison responded: “I don’t have any model in mind, or any person, or even any art form. I just have the hunger for a permanent place. It doesn’t have to be a huge, monumental face cut into a mountain.

It can be small, some place where you can go put your feet up. It can be a tree. It doesn’t have to be a statue of liberty” (50). Beloved became that memorial, and Morrison’s convictions needed to match her composition; she avails readers of her newfound freedom once she left Random House and marries conviction with composition, which effectively creates her memorial. After allegedly standing on the dock outside her home,

Morrison returned to her house “happy, free in a way I had never been, ever. It was the oddest sensation. Not ecstasy, not satisfaction, not a surfeit or pleasure or accomplishment. It was a purer delight, a rogue anticipation with certainty. Enter

Beloved” (Beloved xvi). This “shock of liberation” led her to question the history of black women, “a history in which marriage was discouraged, impossible, or illegal; in which birthing children was required, but ‘having’ them, being responsible for them—being, in other words, their parent—was as out of the question as freedom. Assertions of parenthood under conditions peculiar to the logic of institutional enslavement were criminal” (xvi-xvii). This overwhelming realization drove her deep into research, where she used her editing experience on The Black Book to recall Margaret Garner, a freed slave arrested for killing her baby rather than returning her to slavery.


No such preparation begins her foreword for Jazz. It takes little time for Morrison to enter into her most intriguing creation, the improvisational, complex, simple yet adroitly deceptive narrative experiment that is Jazz. As earlier, she struggles over her initial first line: “I was interested in rendering a period in African American life through a specific lens—one that would reflect the content and characteristics of its music

(romance, freedom of choice, doom, seduction, anger) and the manner of its expression”

(Jazz xv). Similar to her use of Margaret Garner in creating Sethe and her experience,

Morrison gives an account of “a photograph of a pretty girl in a coffin” in creating

Dorcas and her experience (xv). For Morrison, “the anecdote seemed to me to be redolent of the proud hopelessness of love mourned and championed in blues music, and, simultaneously, fired by the irresistible energy of jazz music. It asserted itself immediately and aggressively as the seed of a plot, a story line” (xvi). Unlike her work in

The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Song of Solomon, Morrison’s focus shifts into an historical reimagining of actual events, where she takes evidence and creates narratives out of real life. Her foreword for Beloved features no familial anecdote, with the only influences being herself and her research, while the foreword for Jazz blends a tale of her mother’s

“metal trunk sitting like a treasure chest in the hall” (xvii) with the complexity of her narrative intentions. By removing family from the foreword to Beloved, Morrison consciously appropriates her new full-time authorial persona and cites her research and originality. Her character would “represent the unapologetic acceptance of shame and terror; assume the consequences of choosing infanticide; claim her own freedom”

(Beloved xvii). Morrison notes that “to invite readers (and myself) into the repellant


landscape (hidden, but not completely; deliberately buried, but not forgotten) was to pitch a tent in a cemetery inhabited by highly vocal ghosts” (xvii). Unlike Sula,

There would be no lobby into this house, and there would be no

‘introduction’ into it or into the novel. I wanted the reader to be

kidnapped, thrown ruthlessly into an alien environment as the first step

into a shared experience with the book’s population—just as the characters

were snatched from one place to another, from any place to any other,

without preparation or defense. (xviii)

Beloved is different for Morrison: intense, shifting, and intimate. Throwing her readers into a haunting allows her to make chaos a constant, and unreliability a truism.

Consequently, the foreword to Jazz relies on both Beloved and the treasure chest to lay the groundwork for composition, and like her earlier forewords Morrison brings anecdotal history back to her process. She stakes her independence with Beloved and returns amplified to Jazz, ready to blend influences.

Jazz continues from the tradition begun in Beloved, which “unleashed a host of ideas about how and what one cherishes under the duress and emotional disfigurement that a slave society imposes. One such idea—love as perpetual mourning (haunting)—led me to consider a parallel one: how such relationships were altered, later, in (or by) a certain kind of liberty” (Jazz xvi). The orbit Morrison created with Beloved figures heavily in the improvisational structure of Jazz. She cites the centrality of her previous novel, which leads to modification, for “whatever the truth of consequences of individual entanglements and the racial landscape, the music insisted that the past might haunt us, but would not entrap us” (xvi). Once modified, Morrison’s theme leads to a memory of


her as a child. She opens her mother’s metal trunk and finds “right on top of crepe dresses is an evening purse, tiny jeweled with fringe dangled in het and glass” (xvii). After examination, the trunk lid falls on her hands, causing her to faint – “what an adult thing to do!” (xviii). Morrison tells her jealous sister only of the pain in her hands rather than the treasure: “I would keep this glimpse of my mother’s world before I was born to myself. It was private. It was glittery. And now, it was mine as well” (xviii). This glittery purse serves as the prominent metaphor for the remainder of the foreword, as we are expected to read her private image as the subsumed energy and light of her novel. A similar moment occurs in Beloved, where she attests “she walked out of the water, climbed the rocks, and leaned against the gazebo. Nice hat” (Beloved xviii). Her highly vocal ghost – Beloved – would haunt a house “with an address, one where former slaves lived on their own” (xviii).46 These images are paramount in determining the through-line in Morrison’s forewords. While the majority of her themes and images come from personal, family experience, her ghost comes from within, and she controls Margaret

Garner with her newly fueled freedom. This intimacy drives Beloved, as she returns her public achievement to a personal moment of clarity:

I hoped the sense of things being under control and out of control would

be persuasive throughout; that the order and quietude of everyday life

would be violently disrupted by the chaos of the needy dead; that the

herculean effort to forget would be threatened by memory desperate to

stay alive. To render enslavement as personal experience, language must

get out of the way. (xix)

46 The first lines of the novel read: “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children” (Beloved 3). 312

Confident, direct, clear, and prominent, Morrison defends her choice to thrust readers into the maw of slavery and its aftermath and offers little reason to believe any lobby would befit a narrative of such complexity and human tragedy. Morrison keeps her readers at bay and forces them to reconfigure their notion of narrative exposition, rather than preface her novel with a foothold for control.

Both forewords conclude with definite harbingers for the novels to come, as the forewords absorb the energy and intention of their narrative antecedent and cast readers back into the novels. Once established, Morrison’s energy in Jazz takes readers by force; her foreword charts various intentions, namely “improvisation, originality, change” (Jazz xviii). The book would “seek to become them” rather than be about them (xviii).

Morrison wants “to expose and bury the artifice and to take practice beyond the rules. I didn’t want simply a musical background, or decorative reference to it. I wanted the work to be a manifestation of the music’s intellect, sensuality, anarchy; its history, its range, and its ” (xix). The book would become a memorial to jazz itself, similar to her treatment of slavery in Beloved. The becoming is striking since Morrison ends her novel with the book itself presumably speaking to the reader: “If I were able I’d say it. Say make me, remake me. You are free to do it and I am free to let you because look, look.

Look where your hands are. Now” (229). The audacious move finds its genesis in

Morrison’s foreword, as she circles back to her fingers smashed in the treasure trunk.

Once recalling her mother singing various hymns, songs, and chants, and making them

“her own,” Morrison concludes, “how interesting it would be to raise the atmosphere, choose the palette, plumb the sounds of her young life, and convert it all into language as seductive, as glittery, as an evening purse tucked away in a trunk!” (xix). With Jazz, she


forces readers to question narrative authority, and readers bend at the outright control

Morrison’s authority has over their reading. Unearthing glittery moments subsumed in secret treasure chests sounds like history, and her conclusion to the foreword for Beloved offers a parallel to the enthusiasm she brings to Jazz. Morrison, fully aware and in control, mounts her novel with a sense of duty: “I husband that moment on the pier, the deceptive river, the instant awareness of possibility, the loud heart kicking, the solitude, the danger. And the girl with the nice hat. Then the focus” (Beloved xix). This focus charts Toni Morrison’s current authorial persona. Judging the influence, models, themes, intentions, and moments behind her fictions allows her to choose where her freedom begins and ends. It began with Beloved, whose focus outweighed everything, including family, friends, and personal influences. Then Jazz benefitted from this focus, as she allowed herself room to play alongside her strict authorial parameters. Both creations show the evolution of part-time author into full-time literary artist, with her fiction forever altered by freedom, control, and attention to writing collective memory.

Once published, the five forewords mentioned above were followed by ones for

Love (2005), The Bluest Eye (2007) and finally Paradise (2014). In describing the composition of Love, Morrison notes that “people tell me that I am always writing about love. Always, always love. I nod, yes, but it isn’t true—not exactly. In fact, I am always writing about betrayal. Love is the weather. Betrayal is the lightning that cleaves and reveals it” (Love x). In clarifying her use of terms, Morrison offers a slight corrective to standard interpretation, similar to her disgruntled response to the initial publication of

The Bluest Eye. She returns there, this time in a foreword rather than afterword, and reminds readers that “there can’t be anyone, I am sure, who doesn’t know what it feels


like to be disliked, even rejected, momentarily or for sustained periods of time. Perhaps the feeling is merely indifference, mild annoyance, but it may also be hurt” (The Bluest

Eye 2007 ix). Her afterword began with an anecdote recalling her childhood friend, the original impetus for her exploration into beauty and the feminine ideal in The Bluest Eye.

In her foreword she grounds the work universally and offers readers a chance to connect immediately with her as author, and then read the text. The afterword took a pedagogical approach and presented a reading of women of the sixties, her first line (“Quiet as it’s kept”), and the initial rejection of her book. Considering the fourteen years between editions, Morrison cuts a large portion of her afterword – mainly regarding the three items listed above – and resizes it for prefatory use. The only foreword not to remark about a first line or passage, this foreword is more about Toni Morrison than her novel, more about legacy than awareness.

With the final paragraph of her 1993 afterword, Morrison voices her dissatisfaction with initial publication of The Bluest Eye – “like Pecola’s life: dismissed, trivialized, misread” (The Bluest Eye 1993 216) – while her 2007 foreword ends with attention to language and legacy:

Thinking back now on the problems expressive language presented to me,

I am amazed by their currency, their tenacity. Hearing ‘civilized’

languages debase humans, watching cultural exorcisms debase literature,

seeing oneself preserved in the amber of disqualifying metaphors—I can

say that my narrative project is as difficult today as it was then.” (The

Bluest Eye 2007 xiii)


Though this exact passage is included in the 1993 afterword as the penultimate paragraph, it offers an altogether different meaning in the context of 2007. The “amber of disqualifying metaphors” can now mean her possible disquietude with a number of issues: exposure as part of Oprah’s book club; the multitude of interviews and public appearances; the definition of her as public author; and her desire to be held in esteem with Joyce, Faulkner, and Woolf rather than Angelou, Walker, and Winfrey. In 1993, the metaphors mentioned were aimed at her first novel, but here the scope has broadened, and the narrative has sharpened to include a publicly ambivalent writer’s “difficulty” with being Toni Morrison. She told Pam Houston in 2005 that “television is hard, but I feel obliged to do it, to garner readers and to make myself available as much as I can since I am around. And I have a nice readership in universities, which is a big benefit because I can speak in ways there that I couldn’t on television, And to have future generations reading my books—The Bluest Eye they read in junior high school” (Houston 242).

Morrison finds difficulty in expressing her “narrative project” across various media. She separates her television self from her academic self; both public spheres possess entirely different readers, a distinction she references in her 2014 foreword to Paradise. She needs the television readers, but she wants the academic ones. As both highly literary and

“popular,” Morrison holds a unique position in contemporary American letters, but her willingness to control that position proves most important.

Her most recent foreword – for the 2014 Vintage edition of Paradise – finds

Morrison at her most erudite, pedagogic, critical, and complex. Her longest piece, the foreword reads as equal parts history lesson, research tract, composition narrative, personal history, and defense of her literary choices. The novel, written as a “race-less”


experiment and analysis of varying communities, proves as difficult and narratively complex as Morrison’s previous work. She notes how the violent displacement of Native

Americans from the Oklahoma Territory provided “the opportunity to establish black towns,” and the rush “was as feverish as the rush for whites to occupy the land. The

‘colored’ newspapers encouraged the rush and promised a kind of paradise to the newcomers: land, their own government, safety – there were even sustained movements to establish their own state” (Paradise xii). Upon discovering the communal exclusivity and self-imposed separation between light-skinned and dark-skinned African-Americans during the rush Morrison notes, “I also noticed that the town leaders in the photographs were invariably light-skinned men. Was skin privilege also a feature of the separation?

One that replicated the white racism they abhorred?” (xiii). As an author in her mid- eighties, Morrison still finds specific research questions which trouble, haunt, and disrupt her. Her novel seeks to “1) to examine the definition of paradise, 2) to delve into the power of colorism, 3) to dramatize the conflict between patriarchy and matriarchy, and 4) disrupt racial discourse altogether by signaling then erasing it” (xiii). Her final item, erasing race in order to disrupt our understanding of paradise, control, and response cuts deeply into the author’s canon, for to her “the idea of paradise is no longer imaginable or, rather, it is overimagined, which amounts to the same thing” (xiii). Morrison has done her research, and the novel can only be read by attending to these research topics and practices.

Similar to her earlier forewords, Morrison again describes the germination of her first line. She tangles with her choice to begin Paradise with, “They shoot the white girl


first. With the rest they can take their time” (Paradise 3). Concluding her obsession with first lines, Morrison notes:

In the Convent race is indeterminate—all racial codes are eliminated,

deliberately withheld. For some readers this was disturbing and some

admitted to being preoccupied with finding out which character was the

‘white girl’; others wondered initially and then abandoned the question;

some ignored the confusion by reading them all as black. The perceptive

ones read them as fully realized individuals—whatever their race.

Unconstrained by the weary and wearying vocabulary of racial

domination, the narrative seeks to unencumber itself from the limit that

racial language imposes on the imagination. The conflicts are gender-

related and generational. They are struggles over history—who will tell

and thereby control the story of the past? Who will shape the future?

There are conflicts of value. Of personal identity. What is manhood?

Womanhood? And finally what is personhood? (Paradise xvi-xvii)

Morrison speaks to the need for “freedom and safety; for plentitude, for rest, for beauty; by the search for one’s own space, for respect, love, bliss—in short, how to reimagine paradise” (xvii). She asserts full control over how best to define her authorial role. Her rhetorical questioning of the past, the future, value, identity, and personhood all point to a writer who refuses to go retrospectively into that good night. Somewhat answering for her career-long attention to violence and violent ends, she reminds readers that “Dante’s

Inferno beats out Paradisio every time. Milton’s brilliantly rendered pre-paradise world, known as Chaos, is far more fully realized than his Paradise. The visionary language of


the doomed reaches heights of linguistic ardor with which language of the blessed and saved cannot compete” (xv). Her prose rises in volume until readers are forced to consider how best to read Toni Morrison as author, for “an open, borderless, come-one- come-all paradise, without dread, minus a nemesis is no paradise at all” (xv). She openly questions the skill of her readers – Paradise was a controversial choice for Oprah’s Book

Club due to its narrative complexity – and champions “the perceptive ones” over those that “ignored the confusion.” For readers to understand her plight, her personal and difficult narrative project, they must have access to the serious Toni Morrison rather than the esteemed public figure. Her research methods are sound and accounted for; her dedication to the subject is considerable, for to challenge the “view of universalism, to exorcise, alter, and de-fang the white/black confrontation and concentrate on the residue of that hostility seemed to me a daunting project and an artistically liberating one. ‘They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time’ ” (xvi). Only Toni

Morrison could take on as her project the issue of erasing race in order to combat universal notions of white/black relations, and she wants readers to know that.

Unlike any of her other forewords, she claims the space solely for herself, signing the bottom of the piece “Toni Morrison” (xvii). Her first afterword included only

“Princeton, New Jersey/November, 1993,” and her others featured no signature at all, only a clear pathway into the fiction. Here she clearly enacts dominance over material, reception, criticism, and legacy. For what may be her final preface, the foreword to

Paradise offers readers an author fully aware of her role in determining legacy. She told

Pam Houston in a 2005 interview that “after the Nobel Prize I had to struggle—that was a mighty battle for me, because All right now you’ve won this money, and you’ve won this


prize, and that word will never leave my name. It will always be Toni Morrison Nobel, forever, forever. It is not a bad thing. There was something before that prize and presumably something after” (Houston 253-54). Paradise was Morrison’s release, her first offering since winning the prize, and the foreword sixteen years later reminds readers of her dedication to craft regardless of prizes. No matter the circumstance, the work of an author is never done. Legacy forces writers into a decision: continue to cultivate or let the work speak for itself. Toni Morrison chose both roads, as her forewords for Vintage amplify – rather than change – our understanding of her texts. By signing the foreword to Paradise, Morrison puts a stamp on all her fiction, her name freed from “Princeton” or “Nobel-Prize Winner” or “The Author of Beloved.” This message of autonomy lets her highly vocal ghosts speak a little louder, possessed of a new freedom and marked control of the past, and with each of her forewords Toni

Morrison refuses to bury, distort, or destroy her artistic past.



Authorial prefaces provide an intriguing stepping stone for the study of professional authorship in American letters. As with any discipline, getting at a central point of understanding proves difficult, and windows are needed to peak through and eventually open. This project opened many windows, as each preface unlocked a relationship, a compromise, an evolution, or a reaction. The business of literature contains so many moving parts that neglecting a piece here or there is not uncommon, but we must strive to learn as much about an author’s habits, ideas, and practices if we are to truly understand the art of literary creation. This study originally included an additional chapter on Ralph Ellison – who wrote two late introductions to Invisible Man – and

Robert Penn Warren – who wrote seven introductions to All the King’s Men over a thirty year period. At one point Southern author ’s vast cadre of reprint forewords for Grosset & Dunlap was under consideration, as was Katherine Anne

Porter’s preface to The Collected Stories (entitled “Go Little Book”), and William

Faulkner’s appendix to The Sound and the Fury. With my choices I attempted to show the authorial preface in a variety of states: manipulated (Cather); satirized (Lardner); confessional (Fitzgerald); combative (Hemingway); and retrospective (Cozzens and

Morrison). Though my study is by no means exhaustive, the authors under investigation provide a firm starting point for scholarship in prefatory materials. These thresholds, as

Genette calls them, usher readers towards a better understanding of professional authorship and literary creation during the twentieth century.


Looking back on her past experiences Willa Cather noted: “I seem to have been a bundle of enthusiasms and physical sensations, but not a person. Maybe everyone is like that. How can anyone really see himself? He can see a kind of shadow he throws, but not the real creature. I have been running away from myself all my life (have you?) and have been happiest when I was running fastest” (SL 487).1 The shadow thrown provides an apt metaphor for authorial prefaces, as writers navigate their public personae by fixating on a moment in their authorial evolution.2 Fitzgerald wrote in his notebook that “after all, any given moment has its value; it can be questioned in the light of after-events, but the moment remains. The young princes in velvet gathered in lovely domesticity around the queen amid the hush of rich draperies may presently grow up to be Pedro the Cruel or

Charles the Mad, but the moment of beauty was there” (Notebooks 192). If moments of beauty are central to a writer’s process, then the preface is an ample proving ground for artistic justification. Similarly, Cozzens proverbially remarked that “just as no amount of work takes the place of talent, no amount of talent takes the place of work” (Selected

Notebooks 51), and writers oftentimes saw fit to use the preface to justify their writing practices for a reading public. Hemingway once told Perkins, “I am a professional and professionals learn by their mistakes instead of justifying them” (Only Thing 208), and in each of his prefaces he showcased his artistic methodology.3 When the past, art, work ethic, and methodology are wrapped together, a writer may choose to extend and modify his or her authority over the text. Morrison remembers teachers and students talking about The Bluest Eye, “and it was not at all what I thought. And also I like to think the

1 WC to : 22 June [1933].

2 This may help us understand why Cather wrote so few introductions.

3 EH to MP: 30 April 1934. 322

books can be read again later, when it is not an assignment” (Houston 242). Instead she writes to read what she likes, books that are “good for the active imagination. It is not just being fed information; it is producing it, along with the author” (243). Morrison’s experiments with language and memory in her forewords help produce meaning across a multitude of planes, and her attention to readers in the process focuses the business of literature back on the recipient. The production of literary meaning has many starting points, and the authorial preface provides a worthwhile opportunity for authors to complicate themselves, their texts, and their reading publics. Readers matter, writers matter, and authors matter, for the functions of literature expand our notion of artistic creation. Our appreciation of literature is amplified if we learn to appreciate the process necessary to create that literature. Prefaces embody all of these issues, and this study shows how authorship can be uncovered, contextualized, and amplified if we are willing to look.



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Bahr, Jerome. All Good Americans. New York: Scribner’s, 1937. Print.

---. Letter to Ernest Hemingway. (21 January 1936). Ernest Hemingway Collection, John

F. Kennedy Library, Boston, MA.

---. Letter to Ernest Hemingway. (1 May 1936). Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F.

Kennedy Library, Boston, MA.

Baker, Carlos. Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co.,

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