Hill, William Ely. Hard Cover. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922. 1st Edition. Very Good / Dust Jacket Included.
First edition, first state. One of 20,600 copies. Presentation copy, signed and inscribed by Fitzgerald on the front free endpaper: "For Kenneth Brightbill / from / F. Scott Fitzgerald /author of / Fitzgerald's Farewell Address". Publisher's green B cloth binding, front board lettering stamped in blind, spine lettering stamped in gilt; in the original pictorial dust jacket designed by William Ely Hill, with an illustration of a man and woman in evening dress against an orange background. Very good, with heavy offsetting to the front endpapers, spine head lightly bumped, minor dimming to the spine, a few faint scuffs to the otherwise bright binding, short closed tear to the front free endpaper and to a chip at the spine head, otherwise fresh interior; unclipped dust jacket, with a discreet tissue repair to a short closed tear extending from the spine head to the front panel, a few minor nicks to the extremities, light toning to the spine, some light soiling to the panels. Overall, a sturdy copy in the fragile dust jacket and signed by the author. Bruccoli A8.I.a. Housed in a custom ¼ morocco navy folding box. This copy of The Beautiful and Damned was presented by Fitzgerald to his friend Kenneth Brightbill. Although the details of their relationship remain unknown, Brightbill and Fitzgerald are believed to have been classmates, likely at the Newman School in New Jersey. In their adult years, both men were working in the book industries; when Fitzgerald was writing short stories for magazines and working on his novels, Brightbill was employed at the elite New York bookstore Brentano's. Fitzgerald inscribed several of his early books to Brightbill in their year of publication. Under Fitzgerald's inscription, this copy has a pencil notation (not in Fitzgerald's hand) that marks the date as "5 - 8 -22". This is quite likely the date on which Fitzgerald presented this copy to Brightbill (marked, presumably, by Brightbill), as it would keep with his tradition of giving his friend his new book shortly after its publication. Fitzgerald's reference to his own Farewell Address in this book's inscription could refer to Fitzgerald's personal copy of The Farewell Address of George Washington, which he owned and annotated during his stay at Newman (Heritage Sale #6053, Lot #36556). In his copy, Fitzgerald wrote his own "farewell" of sorts: "Francis Scott Fitzgerald / Saint Paul / Minn. / Playrite, Poet, Novelist, essayist / Philosopher, loafer. useless / disagreeable, silly, talented. / Weak, strong, clever / trivial. A waste. In / short a very parody, a / mockery of one who might / have been more but whom / nature and circumstances / made less. With apologies / for living. / Francis Scott Fitzgerald [flourish]." It seems quite likely that Fitzgerald's reference to the Farwell Address refers to this book and his time shared with Brightbill at the Newman School. Considered one of the author's most accomplished works, The Beautiful and Damned is Fitzgerald's second novel, based on his relationship with his wife Zelda. The plot features the young New York socialites, Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert, who epitomize the archetypal Bright Young Things of the café society during the Jazz Age. In the novel, Patch, a Princeton graduate awaiting his wealthy grandfather's sizeable fortune, decides to wait for his inheritance rather than pursue a career. The couple partakes in wild parties, and, "their lives deteriorate into mindless alcoholic ennui." Upon recognizing his grandson's lack of ambition, Patch's grandfather ultimately disowns his grandson, causing Patch and Gilbert to sink further into alcoholic depression and grow apart from one other. While the events and characters of the novel are based on Fitzgerald's own life with Zelda, The Beautiful and Damned is also an allegory for the disenchanted Lost Generation in the wake of WWI.