This Side of Paradise
Hard Cover. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920. First Edition. Near Fine.
First edition, first printing. One of 3,000 copies. Publisher's original blue-green cloth binding, front board lettering stamped in blind, spine lettering stamped in gilt. About near fine, with some faint soiling to boards, bright gilt, light offsetting to endpapers, and previous owner's stamp to half-title page. Overall, a very bright and attractive copy. Bruccoli A5.1.a. This Side of Paradise is Fitzgerald's first novel, based on the author's undergraduate experience at Princeton University and courting of his future wife Zelda Sayre. In this novel, Fitzgerald explores the theme of the "Lost Generation," or the generation whose adolescence coincided with World War I and who faced the radically different post-war world with feelings of dejection and a jaded sense of morality. He would continue to explore this theme in later novels, including The Beautiful and Damned (1922) and The Great Gatsby (1925). The layout of the text, which is divided into three sections: "Book One: The Romantic Egoist," "May, 1917 - January, 1919," and "Book Two: The Education of a Personage," emphasizes the major cultural shift that occurred after WWI. The story features Amory Blaine, a young Princeton student with a penchant for literature and weakness for beautiful debutantes, who leaves his Midwestern home to study at Princeton and travels overseas during the war after being recruited for the American armed services. The novel leaves Blaine feeling rather depressed, rejected by both women he was interested in and crestfallen at the death of his mentor, which he expresses with the notable last line: "I know myself, but that is all." While the events and characters of the novel are based on Fitzgerald's own life, the plot is also an allegory for the Lost Generation's worldview in the wake of WWI.