Introduction to Cambridge edition of “Flappers and philosophers”
by James L.W. West III



Flappers and Philosophers was F. Scott Fitzgerald's initial encore. He had made a considerable success with his first novel, This Side of Paradise, in the spring of 1920. Now his publisher, Charles Scribner's Sons, wanted to follow with a collection of his short stories for the fall season. This pattern of publishing was customary at Scribners: the firm liked to have its authors issue short-story collections soon after they had published novels. In this way author and firm would capitalize on the visibility that the novels had generated. This pattern—novel/collection/novel/collection—is apparent in the careers of several Scribners authors, including Henry James, Edith Wharton, Richard Harding Davis, Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe. Fitzgerald would exhibit the pattern as well, with This Side of Paradise (1920) followed by Flappers and Philosophers (1920); The Beautiful and Damned (1922) by Tales of the Jazz Age (1922); The Great Gatsby (1925) by All the Sad Young Men (1926); and Tender Is the Night (1934) by Taps at Reveille (1935).

When he assembled the stories for Flappers and Philosophers, Fitzgerald was very much in the spotlight. This Side of Paradise was making him famous, and his stories, essays, and reviews were appearing in leading periodicals, from Scribner's Magazine to the Smart Set to the Saturday Evening Post. Fitzgerald was learning the literary game—how to tailor his work for the magazine market, how to recycle his writing, how to keep his name visible, and how to maximize his income. He was also considering several new projects, including a semi-autobiographical novel and a plan to produce plot treatments for the movies.

He had already discovered, however, that his most dependable source of income was going to be the large-circulation magazine market. The stories that he wrote for that market could be produced in short bursts of literary energy, could be based on recently observed experience, could be sold quickly through his agent, and would be paid for immediately. In this way short fiction could finance the fast-paced, expensive style of living that he and his new wife, Zelda Sayre, were beginning to pursue.

There were professional motivations as well: short stories allowed Fitzgerald to try out new characters, themes, and situations that he might later rework for his novels, and they imposed a kind of discipline on him, bringing him regularly to his writing table. The stories also gave Fitzgerald access to his largest audiences, especially when he published in the Post and other mass-circulation “slicks”—so called because they were printed on glossy, coated paper. Fitzgerald had things that he wished to say to readers, and he wanted a large hearing. He was an entertainer, but he was also a moralist and chronicler, and he needed a forum, a public platform from which to speak to his constituency. Magazines provided that venue.

Fitzgerald had begun teaching himself to write for the magazine market during the winter and spring of 1919. He had been living in New York, working as a copywriter at an advertising agency and attempting to produce short fiction on the side. Most of his efforts that winter and spring had misfired, earning him a pile of rejection slips, but by trial and error he had learned the mechanics of popular fiction writing. Once This Side of Paradise had been accepted by Scribners in the fall of 1919, he had put his new skills to immediate use, placing eleven stories in top magazines and (after paying his agent's commission) collecting nearly $3,000 for his efforts—very good money in 1919 and I920. (See Appendix 4 for composition and publication dates and earnings from the stories). Most of these narratives were between 7,000 and 8,000 words in length, loosely organized and structured in scenes. They had chronological plots, amusing dialogue, and sharply rendered passages of observation; many ended with clever twists. These stories had served their initial purpose: now, for Flappers and Philosophers, Fitzgerald needed to decide which ones he wished to put between cloth covers. This collection of stories, he knew, would go onto the shelves of libraries and would find its way to the bedside tables of readers who had liked This Side of Paradise. These would be the stories for which he would be remembered.


The surviving correspondence between Fitzgerald and Maxwell Perkins, his editor at Scribners, shows that Fitzgerald was curious early on about the earning potential of a gathering of his short fiction. As early as January 1920, while correcting proofs for This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald asked Perkins in a letter: “There's nothing in collections of short stories is there? ” Perkins answered a week later with cautious optimism: “It is generally true that collections of them do not constitute selling books, ” he wrote, “but there are exceptions. ” Fitzgerald's stories, Perkins thought, would probably be such an exception: “They have the popular note which would be likely to make them sell in book form, ” he wrote. A few lines later in the same letter, Perkins added two other important thoughts: “They have great value in making you a reputation, ” he said, and “they are quite worthwhile in themselves. ” (The letters, dated ca. 10 January 1920 and 17 January 1920, are published in Dear Scott/Dear Max: The Fitzgerald—Perkins Correspondence, ed. John Kuehl and Jackson R. Bryer (New York: Scribners, 1971) 24-26.)

In late April 1920, less than a month after formal publication of This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald assembled the materials from which his first collection would be formed. He sent the stories to Perkins with a cover letter in which he suggested several titles for the collection as a whole:

The Commodore Hotel, New York City, April 29, 1920.
Dear Mr. Perkins:
I am sending herewith eleven stories, with my own selection of the seven best for publication in book form. As you will see from the suggested table of contents, I am also sending six poems, three of which drew quite a bit of notice in the Second Book of Princeton Verse. The other three have never been published. All the stories have been published or will be before June 1st. They average about 8000 words.

Flappers + Philosophers

Beside the title Short Cake, here are several others in the order of my choice: (2.) We are Seven. (3) Table D 'hote. (4) A La Carte. (5) Journeys and Journey's End. (6) Bittersweet. (7) Short Cake

If you think the book would go better without the poems, with more stories, with different stories, in a different arrangement or under a different title it will be O.K. with me.

F. Scott Fitzgerald.
P.S. I find I have no copy of “The Four Fists”
(June, Scribners)

(As the facsimile in the frontispiece to this volume shows, Fitzgerald's original first choice for a title was Short-Cake. He deleted that title from its position in the letter and added “Flappers + Philosophers” in pencil, then moved “Short Cake” to position seven among the possible titles. The postscript was also added by Fitzgerald in pencil.)

The letter is revealing. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that Fitzgerald conceived initially of this collection as a mixture of poetry and prose, perhaps thinking that he might intersperse the six poems between the seven stories he had chosen as his best. Such a mixing of literary forms was logical, since This Side of Paradise, though technically a novel, was in fact an experimental book made up of fiction, poetry, and long passages of drama dialogue. At this point in his development, Fitzgerald thought of himself as both a fiction writer and a poet—though, in fact, he would publish little poetry during the rest of his career. Had Fitzgerald followed through on this initial plan, he would have published a book generically akin to Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time (1925), with its stories and interchapters. He might also have written more poetry in future years—though one can only speculate about such a matter. In the event, however, no poetry was included in the published volume. Nothing in the correspondence between Fitzgerald and Perkins suggests when or why this decision was made, or who made it. Fitzgerald was in New York frequently during the spring and summer of 1920, and he and Perkins exchanged only a few letters. They saw each other instead at the Scribners offices at 597 Fifth Avenue; perhaps in their talks they decided that the poetry might make the collection look too literary or that the poems were not up to the level of the stories—or perhaps Perkins, ever so kindly, simply said no.

The 29 April letter also gives interesting hints about the selection of a title for the collection as a whole, especially when the original document is viewed in facsimile (see frontispiece). Fitzgerald's original first choice, “Short-Cake, ” emphasizes the varied contents of the book—like the flour, sugar, butter, salt, and other ingredients of the traditional shortcake. The third and fourth possibilities carry forward the metaphor of food, suggesting a selection of dishes. The sixth, “Bittersweet, ” indicates a mixture of emotions and styles. All of the possibilities are appropriate for a collection that would show great variety, from clever entertainments such as “The Offshore Pirate” and “Head and Shoulders” to carefully rendered pieces of social observation such as “The Ice Palace” and “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” to didactic stories such as “Dalyrimple Goes Wrong” and “The Four Fists. ”

The final choice for the title, Flappers and Philosophers, added to the letter in Fitzgerald's hand, was apparently suggested to him by Edward L. Burlingame, one of the senior editors at Scribners. The title, taken from an advertising slogan used by the firm for This Side of Paradise (“A book about flappers, written for philosophers! ”) captures the dual nature of Fitzgerald's collection—and indeed of much of his writing then and later. Some of the stories were light tales of youth and love; others were more serious studies of manners and society; the best were blends of the two elements.

The eleven stories that Fitzgerald sent to Perkins included seven that eventually did appear in Flappers and Philosophers. These were “The Offshore Pirate, ” Saturday Evening Post 192 (29 May 1920); “The Ice Palace,” Saturday Evening Post 192 (22 May 1920); “Head and Shoulders,” Saturday Evening Post 192 (21 February 1920); “The Cut-Glass Bowl,” Scribner's Magazine 67 (May 1920); “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” Saturday Evening Post 192 (1 May 1920); “Benediction,” Smart Set 61 (February 1920); and “Dalyrimple Goes Wrong,” Smart Set 61 (February 1920). “The Four Fists,” the eighth and final story in the collection, appeared in Scribner's Magazine 67 (June 1920)—as Fitzgerald notes in his postscript.

The other three stories sent to Perkins were probably “Myra Meets His Family,” Saturday Evening Post 192 (20 March 1920); “The Camel's Back,” Saturday Evening Post 192 (24 April 1920); and “The Smilers,” Smart Set 62 (June 1920). “The Camel's Back” was eventually republished in Tales of the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald's second short-story collection. “Myra Meets His Family” and “The Smilers” were not collected during his lifetime—but are included in the present edition. The three poems that Fitzgerald mentioned as having appeared in A Book of Princeton Verse II (Oxford University Press, 1919) were “Marching Streets,” “The Pope at Confession,” and “My First Love,” all published earlier in the Nassau Literary Magazine, the undergraduate literary journal at Princeton. (The three published poems are available in F. Scott Fitzgerald in His Own Time: A Miscellany, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Jackson R. Bryer. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1971.) The other three poems have not been identified.

Fitzgerald probably sent Perkins a mixture of tearsheets (printed texts torn from the magazine issues in which they had appeared) and carbon typescripts (for stories that had not yet seen print). No manuscripts or typescripts for the stories in the 1920 Flappers and Philosophers are known to survive, but by collating the texts in the Scribners collection against their original serial appearances one can uncover (among other things) the changes that Fitzgerald introduced in the setting copies that he sent to Perkins, and in the proofs that he saw during the first three weeks of June. (The letters that document the sending and reading of galley and page proof are in the Scribner Archive at Princeton, dated 18 May, 1 June, and 18 June 1920) Such collations disclose that he revised three of the stories fairly heavily (“The Offshore Pirate,” “The Ice Palace,” and “Head and Shoulders”), that he gave a light polishing to four others (“Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” “Benediction,” “Dalyrimple Goes Wrong,” and “The Four Fists”), and that he made almost no changes in the remaining story (“The Cut-Glass Bowl”). When he was able to do so, Fitzgerald was a diligent and attentive reviser of his short fiction, nearly always introducing improvements between magazine and book publication. Examination of his changes, as recorded in the textual apparatus of this volume, allows us to observe this process—to look over his shoulder as he revised his stories and made them ready for their second outing. (For study of origins and composition, one should know also that “Benediction” derives from an earlier story entitled “The Ordeal,” published in the Nassau Literary Magazine for June 1915, and collected in The Apprentice Fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1907-1917, ed. John Kuehl. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1965.)


This Cambridge volume includes not only the eight narratives in the original Scribners collection but six other pieces as well—five additional short stories and a one-act play. For this expanded collection one must interpret the term “stories” loosely in order to admit “The Debutante,” a play published by Fitzgerald in Smart Set, November 1919. In commercial terms “The Debutante,” like the stories, was a magazine piece. And Fitzgerald himself would include two drama scripts—“Porcelain and Pink” and “Mr. Icky”—in his next short-fiction collection, Tales of the Jazz Age. The mixing of forms in this volume therefore seems justified.

These additional items were all published by Fitzgerald in commercial magazines between the appearance of “Babes in the Woods” (Smart Set, September 1919), his first professional publication, and “Two for a Cent” (Metropolitan Magazine, April 1922), the last uncollected story to appear before formal publication of Tales of the Jazz Age on 22 September 1922. (The other stories published during this period were collected by Fitzgerald in Tales.) Thus the reader has in this edition not only the stories that Fitzgerald and Perkins thought worthy of hardbound publication, but also those which for one reason or another they rejected, plus two others omitted from Tales of the Jazz Age.

Fitzgerald could not have republished “Babes in the Woods” or “The Debutante” in Flappers and Philosophers because he had already included versions of them in This Side of' Paradise (The play in the Smart Set was entitled “The Débutanté”— (incorrectly, with two acute es) . Fitzgerald did not use the acute first e when he wrote the word in holograph, probably because, like most Americans, he did not pronounce the word that way. The acute e has been omitted in the title of the play for its republication in this volume. The two acute es will not be given whenever the story is referred to in its Smart Set incarnation.) Earlier versions of both had also been published in the Nassau Lit in January and May 1917. By changing characters' names, revising the texts, and adding description and dialogue, Fitzgerald had incorporated the two into This Side of Paradise. These revisions and augmentations are so extensive as to make all of the separate versions— Nassau Lit, Smart Set, and This Side of Paradise—into distinct works of literature. The Smart Set texts are included in the present volume because they are individual literary entities and because they were Fitzgerald's first two professional appearances in print—indeed, the only acceptances that he had during his apprentice period in New York during the winter and spring of 1919.

The remaining additional stories show Fitzgerald as a professional, a writer who made his living with his pen. Some are marred by artificial plotting and surprise endings, but even the least impressive efforts—“The Smilers” (Smart Set, June 1920) and “Two for a Cent”—contain passages of excellent prose. “Myra Meets His Family” (Saturday Evening Post, 20 March 1920) is a top-caliber magazine story; “The Popular Girl” (Saturday Evening Post, in two parts, 11 and 18 February 1922) just misses being a masterpiece.


The texts included in this Cambridge edition can be divided editorially into three groups: the eight stories that appeared in the 1920 Scribners edition of Flappers and Philosophers; the two Smart Set texts “Babes in the Woods” and “The Debutante”; and the four remaining stories, uncollected during Fitzgerald's lifetime but republished in posthumous collections. These groups will be dealt with separately in the textual commentary that follows.

Original Stories:

The situation for the eight narratives in the Scribners Flappers and Philosophers is straightforward. No manuscript, typescript, or proof for any one of the stories appears to survive. An editor must therefore work with serial versions and with the Scribners texts. The procedure for establishing the texts of these eight stories has been relatively simple. The serial versions have been collated against the collected texts; all variants, substantive and accidental, have been recorded. No copy-text has been declared: the editor has instead followed the principles outlined in G. Thomas Tanselle's “Editing without a Copy-Text” (Studies in Bibliography, 47 [1994]: 1-22. For a more extended discussion of the applicability of Tanselle's thinking to Fitzgerald's texts, see the Cambridge edition of This Side of Paradise, ed. James L. W. West III Cambridge University Press, 1995: xl-xliv.)

The serial and collected versions are considered to have equal authority—the serial texts because they are closer to Fitzgerald's holograph, the collected texts because they contain Fitzgerald's late revisions and because he saw proof for them, as he often did not for magazine appearances. Where the texts vary, the editor has incorporated the readings judged to be authorial. These choices have been recorded in the apparatus of this volume.

The process of making selections amongst substantives has not been difficult. None of the substantive variants (changes in actual wording) between the serial and book texts appears to result in any way from editorial tampering at Scribners. This is not surprising, since Maxwell Perkins was not an aggressive line editor. In fact he was largely indifferent to such matters, rarely making verbal changes in the writings of his authors and confining himself to general suggestions concerning plot, structure, character, and theme. Nearly all of the substantive changes in the Scribners texts are incorporated into the texts of this Cambridge edition; the readings from the serial texts are given in the apparatus. The only exceptions are obvious typos and sophistications: see the entries at 25.29, 168.3, 221.5 and 261.26.

The subsequent history of the Scribners text is quickly told. The first impression of Flappers and Philosophers was formally published on 10 September 1920 in a press run of 5,000 copies. The book was priced at $1.75; the dust jacket illustration was by W.E. Hill. The edition was reprinted five times, in September 1920 (3,000 copies), October 1920 (3,025 copies), December 1920 (2,000 copies), December 1921 (1,300 copies), and November 1922 (1,000 copies). Machine collation has uncovered one plate variant: the word “panoply” has been changed to “panorama” at 152.23 of the original edition; Fitzgerald ordered the change in a 12 August 1920 letter to Edward L. Burlingame, a senior editor at Scribners. The reading appeared first in the fourth printing, December 1920. It is accepted for this edition (106.7).

Accidentals for the original eight stories are a more complicated matter. There is little accidental variation between the serial and book texts of the two stories that had appeared in Scribner's Magazine (“The Cut-Glass Bowl” and “The Four Fists”), probably because the Scribners house style in capitalization, spelling, and word division had already been imposed by the magazine. But the variation in accidentals between the serial texts from other magazines and the first-edition texts is heavy. It is likely that neither set of accidentals—serial or book—is an accurate reflection of the way Fitzgerald's original holographs read, or of the accidentals in the typescripts that he submitted to magazines. Each magazine imposed its own style of pointing and word division; the Scribners style, for example, in both magazine and book texts, was heavily anglicized. The house styles for the Saturday Evening Post and the Smart Set were equally distinctive. Further, to judge from the patterns of variation in the six stories that came from those two magazines, the Scribners copy editors and compositors for the book texts seem to have added a further overlay of commas to Fitzgerald's prose.

Fitzgerald's surviving manuscripts of the period—especially the holograph of This Side of Paradise—exhibit much more free and open punctuation than any of the systems—serial or book—in the published stories. Fitzgerald usually did not place a comma between two adjectives of equal weight, for example, nor did he customarily use a comma before the last element in a series. In the majority of cases he did not place a comma before the conjunction in a compound sentence, though he was not consistent in this habit. He punctuated by ear—a very fine ear—and not by formal rule. When the texts for the original eight stories vary in punctuation between serial and book, the editor has therefore chosen the reading that appears closer to Fitzgerald's style in his surviving early manuscripts. Sometimes neither choice reflects Fitzgerald's most common practice, but no effort has been made to create an artificial system of pointing typical of Fitzgerald's writing and then to impose it on these texts. To do so would involve heavy repunctuation and would, in fact, only be to impose a new house style on the narratives. All decisions are recorded in the apparatus.

“Babes in the Woods” and “The Debutante”:

Editorial problems for “Babes” and “The Debutante” are fairly complex. Neither Smart Set text has ever been reprinted, so there are no collations between published versions to perform. But pre-publication material survives for both pieces in Fitzgerald's papers at Princeton.

A partial holograph of the Nassau Lit “Babes” is extant, as are five typescript sheets of the version of the narrative that Fitzgerald included in “The Romantic Egotist,” the ur-version of This Side of Paradise. (These documents are reproduced in F. Scott Fitzgerald Manuscripts, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli, vol. 1, pt. 1, and vol. 6, pt. 1 New York: Garland, 1990 and 1991.) The surviving partial holograph of “Babes” is a draft of the Nassau Lit version. This holograph (and the Nassau Lit text) are so different from the Smart Set version, however, as to be uncollatable. The holograph text, however, does possess the authority of Fitzgerald's hand and has therefore been used as a source to resolve a few questions of accidental texture in the Smart Set text. Such cases are noted in the record of variants for the story.

The five sheets from the typescript of “The Romantic Egotist” were incorporated into the manuscript of This Side of Paradise and preserve—in the typed characters—a version of “Babes” that predates the Smart Set text. (The remainder of the section in the This Side of Paradise manuscript was inscribed in fresh holograph and postdates the Smart Set version.) These five typescript sheets— numbered 197-198, 201, 206-207—have been consulted on matters of accidental texture, though their authority is not as strong as that of the incomplete holograph since they were not prepared by Fitzgerald, who could not type.

For “The Debutante” there survives a nearly complete carbon typescript of the setting copy for the Smart Set version, this typescript later revised by Fitzgerald and incorporated into the manuscript of This Side of Paradise as leaves 389-390, 394, and 395-408 (Reproduced in ibid., vol. 1, pt. 2). Here the authority for accidentals is stronger, since this carbon preserves the text as it was submitted to the Smart Set—minus, of course, any handwritten changes that Fitzgerald might have added to the ribbon copy that he sent to the magazine (In substantive readings this carbon is a near match for the Smart Set version, and Fitzgerald's address in New York City for the winter and spring of 1919 is typed on the first leaf, upper left corner). Collation of the typed text with the Smart Set text reveals significant variation in accidentals; though typed carbons do not carry the authority of holograph drafts, this one is still quite useful. It has served as a source for adjusting the texture of accidentals in the text published here.

Posthumous Reprints:

The remaining four stories in this Cambridge volume were not chosen by Fitzgerald for inclusion in any of the four short-fiction collections that he published during his lifetime. No manuscript or typescript versions of these narratives appear to survive. All were collected posthumously: “The Popular Girl” was republished in Bits of Paradise: 21 Uncollected Stories by F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, issued first in London in 1973 by Bodley Head, then reprinted in a photo-offset reissue by Scribners in New York in 1974. “Myra Meets His Family,” “The Smilers,” and “Two for a Cent” were included in The Price Was High: The Last Uncollected Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in New York by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1979.

Textual adjustments in these posthumous collections were minimal. Obvious typos were corrected; some punctuation reflecting Fitzgerald's known preferences was imposed. Bits of Paradise, typeset in England, exhibits a modified British system of pointing for “The Popular Girl.” The alterations in the serial texts republished in Bits were listed in Linda Berry, “The Text of Bits of Paradise,” Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual 1975: 141-145. No similar record for The Price Was High was published, though a copy of the volume with misprints marked in it is in the Fitzgerald Collection at the Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina. None of these misprints occurs in a story collected in the present volume.

One variant, in “Two for a Cent,” deserves mention. For the re-published text in The Price Was High, a passage of forty-one words was cut, likely because of racial overtones in the lines spoken by the character Abercrombie. The excision was acknowledged in an asterisked footnote. The cut passage is restored for the Cambridge text (314.29-32); readers should recognize that the words are uttered by a sour, disillusioned character, not by the author of the story.

British Texts:

Nine of the narratives in this volume appeared in British periodicals during Fitzgerald's lifetime. The British edition of Smart Set reprinted “Babes in the Woods” (September 1919), “The Debutante” (November 1919), “Benediction” (February 1920), and “The Smilers” (June 1920). “Head and Shoulders” was republished as “Topsy Turvy” in Yellow Magazine (March 1922); “Myra Meets His Family” in Sovereign (July 1921); “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” in 20 Story Magazine (May 1921); “The Offshore Pirate” in Sovereign (February 1922); and “Two for a Cent” in Argosy (April 1933). Some accidentals in these appearances were changed to reflect British conventions of punctuation, capitalization, and word division; collation reveals no accidental or substantive variants that can be considered authorial. (The four Smart Set stories were reset almost line-for-line by the British compositors, and in a nearly identical typeface, so that to a superficial inspection they appear to have been reprinted from the U.S. typesettings; but they are in fact freshly composed. No substantive changes were introduced in “Babes in the Woods.” In “The Debutante,” the word “chiffonier,” presumably unfamiliar to the British copy editor, was cut or changed to “chest of drawers” (198.22, 214.9, and 217.27 of the Cambridge text); “homely” at 226.6 was altered to “plain.” The only substantive change in “Benediction” for the British Smart Set was “monkery” (143.9) to “monastery.” In “The Smilers,” the humorous but obscure reading “as an oil-baron's undershirt affects a cow's husband” (254.12) becomes the more prosaic “as a red flag affects a bull.”)

In fact, Fitzgerald seems to have had virtually no control over some of these British texts. “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” for example, was completely recast as a British story: Bernice becomes a girl from Nottingham visiting her sophisticated cousin in London; U.S. slang (“Splush!”) becomes English slang (“Rubbish!”); and the conclusion of the story is changed entirely, with Bernice winning the love of Warren in a saccharine ending concocted by the British editors. Similar wholesale rewriting was done for “The Offshore Pirate” and “Head and Shoulders.” No substantive changes were introduced in “Two for a Cent.” No readings from these British serial texts, accidental or substantive, have been accepted for the Cambridge text.

The clothbound British edition of Flappers and Philosophers was published by W. Collins Sons & Co., Ltd., on 23 March 1922. The same eight stories from the American text appear in the British edition, but in a different order: “The Offshore Pirate,” “The Four Fists,” “Dalyrimple Goes Wrong,” “Head and Shoulders,” “The Ice Palace,” “The Cut-Glass Bowl,” “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” and “Benediction.” No letter or other document has been found in the Scribner Archive, or elsewhere, to indicate that Fitzgerald requested this order; likely it was imposed by Collins.

There does survive in the Scribner Archive an unpublished letter from Fitzgerald to Perkins, not dated but written in January 1922. In this letter Fitzgerald suggests a change in the British Flappers and Philosophers, telling Perkins that he wishes to substitute “The Camel's Back” for “The Four Fists.” “Suppose I send it to him [Collins] + let him decide,” Fitzgerald writes. Then he adds, “I hope to God his copy of Flappers had that ghastly error of mine corrected, the 'let it lay' in The Ice Palace. Had I better write them?”

Either Fitzgerald did not follow through and communicate with the British publisher, or the editors at Collins decided against the story substitution. “The Camel's Back” was not published in place of “The Four Fists” in the British text, nor was the erroneous “lay” for “lie”—on page 50 of the American text—corrected by the Collins typesetters. (The mistake is mended in the Cambridge text at 37.13.) This evidence, together with the uncertain tone of Fitzgerald's letter, make a weak case for the story substitution; it is therefore not introduced in the Cambridge edition. Practically, one would have difficulty making the switch, since “The Camel's Back” would shortly be included by Fitzgerald in both the American and British editions of Tales of the Jazz Age, his next story collection. “The Camel's Back” will accordingly be published in the Cambridge edition of Tales.

There were other alterations in the text of the British Flappers and Philosophers, however. In addition to accidental restyling, the following substantive changes were made (page and line references are to the Cambridge edition):

56.21muddled tomuffled
56.36white, of brown and yellowtowhite, brown, and yellow
178.28 squared offtosquared up

Fitzgerald had Scribners send a list of corrections to Collins for the British edition of This Side of Paradise (See the Cambridge This Side of Paradise: xxxvii-viii). That fact, plus the presence of the “panoply | panorama” variant, which was ordered by Fitzgerald in the U.S. text, suggests either that he or Scribners sent that single change to Collins for Flappers and Philosophers, or (more likely) that Collins set type from a copy of the Scribners fourth or fifth impression, since both contain the “panorama” reading. The presence of this reading might also suggest that some or all of the other six substantive variants in the Collins edition were sent over by Fitzgerald.

In the editor's judgment, however, none of the six is authorial. The readings at 56.36 and 168.5 are typical of the smoothing work of a copy editor. The word “clean” on page 62 is a typographical error. The word “muffled” on page 56 is wrong for the wild sounds in the echoing hall of ice in “The Ice Palace”; “muffled” is likely a typo for the more appropriate “muddled” in the U.S. text. The change to “looking” on page 68 seems incorrect: it is a “form” that Marcia (in “Head and Shoulders”) sees “leaning” over the bannister, not “looking” over, since “forms” do not properly “look” at anything. And the alteration on page 178 is a substituted British usage. All are rejected; the discussion here serves as a record of the decisions; none of the variants is included in the apparatus.

Factual Errors:

It is unwise to attempt to make Fitzgerald's fictional texts conform entirely to reality. Errors in proper names and places have been corrected in this text, and the emendations recorded in the apparatus, but other irregularities have been allowed to stand. An example of the difficulty of attempting to make a story congruent with factual reality occurs in “Head and Shoulders.” Horace Tarbox sees Marcia Meadow in a musical play at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut—entirely plausible since Horace is a philosophy student at Yale, and since plays headed for Broadway often received out-of-town tryouts at the Shubert. But the production in which he sees her—“Home James!”—was in fact the 1917 Varsity Show from Columbia University, written by a young Oscar Hammerstein II and his friend Herman Axelrod. Their play had been performed in New York, at the Hotel Astor, in March 1917, where Fitzgerald likely saw it. After the play, Horace and Marcia have a meal at a restaurant that might be in New Haven or might be in New York City (see the explanatory notes at 62.10 and 69.14). It would be impossible to adjust the scene by emendation; in any case such adjustment is not necessary. Fitzgerald was wholly within his rights as a storyteller to amuse himself by scrambling productions, theaters, restaurants, and cities. In fact, the song that Marcia sings in the play is one that Fitzgerald himself wrote and put into his one-act play “Porcelain and Pink” (Smart Set, Jan. 1920). See the explanatory note at 62.11.


In a 12 August 1920 letter to Edward Burlingame, Fitzgerald asked for two changes in the text of Flappers and Philosophers. One was the alteration of “panoply” to “panorama” mentioned earlier and introduced in the plates for the fourth impression. The other was a request to change the spelling of a character’s name: “Kieth” to “Keith” in “Benediction.” Burlingame wrote back to Fitzgerald on 17 August, saying that the first printing was finished, but implying that he would have “panorama” introduced into a later impression. “I don’t believe,” added Burlingame, “that the spelling of ‘Kieth’ makes so much difference.” He did not add, but could have, that alteration of all occurrences of “Kieth” in the already-cast printing plates would have been troublesome and expensive. Those changes were never made; all printings of Flappers and Philosophers read “Kieth” throughout. For the Cambridge edition the change in spelling has been introduced. Fitzgerald was careful about such things: witness the spelling Wolfshiem (not Wolfsheim) in The Great Gatsby (See the Cambridge edition of The Great Gatsby (Cambridge University Press, 1991): liv and 148, entry 55.20.)

The tearsheets of “Two for a Cent” that Fitzgerald kept in his files, and that are today a part of his papers at Princeton, record three emendations in his hand—keyed here to the Cambridge test by page and line:

309.4 1910 [ nineteen-ten
309.6 dismounted [ fell off
323.21 life [ life I was just about to enlist in the Army.

When or why Fitzgerald inscribed these three changes is not known, but perhaps he contemplated including “Two for a Cent” in Tales of the Jazz Age or reprinting it in some other form. The three changes should therefore be considered for admission into the text of this volume.

The first, however, is a matter of styling: years in the texts of this volume are given in numerals, so the change to “nineteen-ten” is not incorporated. The second revision, from “dismounted” to “fell off,” is adopted. The third alteration presents a problem. Fitzgerald apparently wished to introduce the fact that Abercrombie was going to join the army a little earlier in the story, probably to prepare the reader for Abercrombie’s presence in the line at the recruiting depot two paragraphs later. But the added sentence—“I was just about to enlist in the Army.”—repeats six words of a sentence just a few lines below: “But you see, I was standing in line with a lot of other young fellows down by the Union Depot about to enlist in the army for three years.” The repetition is quite noticeable and is uncharacteristic of Fitzgerald. One assumes that he did not remark it when he added the earlier sentence. And this sentence is not necessary for the plot of the story; further, it appears to have been added hastily by Fitzgerald, without adjusting the surrounding punctuation or wording of the rest of the text. For these reasons the added sentence has not been incorporated into the reading text of this edition.

The most interesting crux has been revealed by collating the Metropolitan Magazine text of “Two for a Cent” with the reset text of the narrative in The Best Short Stories of 1922. This collection, part of an annual series edited by Edward J. O’Brien, was published in 1923 by the Boston firm of Small, Maynard & Co. The accidentals in this story were reworked, probably by a copy editor of schoolmarmish disposition, and have been judged to have no authority. No list of the variants is given in the apparatus, though a record has been put on file at Princeton.

The single substantive variant in the Best Short Stories text, however, is of interest. The phrase “The Alabama night,” which begins the last paragraph of the story in the Metropolitan text—the only geographical reference in the entire narrative—has been changed to “The Georgia night.” It is unlikely that a copy editor or the anthologist O’Brien would have made such a change independently. More probably the alteration was requested by Fitzgerald. Because the story pictures the American South as backward and benighted, it might have offended Zelda Sayre, who was a native of Alabama, or might have drawn criticism from a member of her family or social circle in Montgomery, her home city. Fitzgerald could have changed “Alabama” to “Georgia” on the magazine tearsheets that went to O’Brien or might have sent him a message requesting the revision. The likelihood is that the alteration is authorial; it is incorporated into the Cambridge text. Adoption of the reading “Georgia” obscures the origins of the story slightly—Fitzgerald almost certainly drew on his experiences in Montgomery in writing the narrative— but those origins are made clear in this commentary.

The variant is also of interest because it complicates a little Fitzgerald’s attitude toward the South. Usually that attitude is romanticized, with “The Ice Palace” cited as convincing evidence. It is worth having “Two for a Cent,” now with its Georgia setting, republished in the Cambridge edition with “The Ice Palace.” The lesser story serves as a counterweight to the more famous one.

Regularized Features:

Fitzgerald was inconsistent about word division, but analysis of his manuscripts does yield preferences for many compound words (“anybody,” for example, or “good-bye” or “worth while”). These usages have been regularized in the text; blanket emendations are given in the apparatus. Fitzgerald normally used U.S. spellings, but he preferred British orthography for a few words: “glamour,” “grey,” “biasses,” and “theatre,” for instance. These spellings are accepted for this volume. Variant slang spellings (“floppity” / “floppidy”) are retained.

Also made consistent are certain features of typography that Fitzgerald nearly always followed: he reserved italics for emphasis and liked to enclose names of ships, titles of books, and names of other major literary works within quotation marks; he sometimes capitalized words for emphasis (“Oh Yeah!”); he capitalized adjectives such as “Northern” and “Southern” to refer to particular areas of the United States. In the texts of the additional writings, all of which are taken from magazine appearances, breaks indicated by roman numerals are retained. Nonstructural breaks (usually signaled by extra space and a display cap) are removed.

The following features have also been regularized, as they were in the Cambridge This Side of Paradise (1995): names of seasons are lowercase; dashes within sentences are one em in length; dashes that end sentences (usually indicating interrupted dialogue) are two ems in length; years are given in arabic numerals; three ellipsis points appear within sentences, four at the ends of sentences; the numbers of avenues in New York City are spelled out, but cross-streets are given in arabic numerals; “Mother” and “Father” as proper names are capitalized.


Fitzgerald did not wish for his weaker stories to be republished. He culled their texts for good descriptive sentences and phrases, underlining these passages on tearsheets and usually recopying them in his notebooks for possible reuse later in his novels. Then, in his ledger, a professional record of his publications and earnings, he wrote: “ Stripped and permanently buried” as an epitaph for the story. If he preserved tearsheets in his personal files, he often wrote this legend across the top of the first page: “Positively not to be republished in any form!” An example—the first page of the tearsheets he kept for “The Smilers”—is reproduced as Illustration 4 in this volume.

The directions are unambiguous. Fitzgerald did not want these stories to be reissued. His admonitions in his ledger and on his tearsheets might have been written partly to himself, lest he be tempted to reprint less than his best work, but they seem more probably to have been addressed to future literary executors and editors. It is therefore worth while to state the rationale by which such lesser efforts have been included in this volume, and by which similar stories will be republished in forthcoming volumes of this edition— though always in separate sections or entirely separate volumes, apart from the stories that Fitzgerald chose for his own collections.

The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald is a collected edition, an omnium gatherum. One of its chief purposes is to make available in one series all of Fitzgerald’s published writings. Only in this way can scholars and teachers fully study his career and work; the strongest stories and essays must be seen in company with the others. The result, it should be said, will be to demonstrate that Fitzgerald wrote consistently at a high level and that all of his narratives contain characters, descriptions, and insights that reveal the sharpness of his eye and the penetration of his mind.

Fitzgerald probably thought that republication of some of his stories would harm his reputation; he also did not want to reprint stories containing passages that he had later reused in his novels. (One such passage, recycled in The Beautiful and Damned, is marked in Illustration 4.) But such considerations are not as important now as they were during Fitzgerald’s lifetime and certainly are outweighed by the great benefit of seeing Fitzgerald’s oeuvre whole. His reputation today is solid and enduring; reissuing these stories will not damage it. His writings of this period, from least to most impressive, will be available to readers and scholars in all of their variety, complexity, and range.

Published in Flappers and Philosophers (The Cambridge Edition of Works by F. Scott Fitzgerald) collection (2000).