Hard Cover. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920. First Edition. Good.
First edition, first printing. One of 3,000 copies. Publisher's green cloth binding, front board stamped in blind, spine stamped in gilt. Good or better copy, with a shallow chip to cloth at head of spine (no loss to title), a hint of soiling to foot of spine, light toning to upper margins of boards, contemporary ownership signature to front free endpaper, a hint of toning to rear endpapers, and bookseller's sticker to rear pastedown. Overall, a decent copy of Fitzgerald's first novel. Bruccoli A 5.1.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 debut 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.