Writing in September of 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald responds to a fan of his latest book, The Great Gatsby, and notes that until H. L. Mencken reviewed it (here) critics were largely unimpressed — as a result it barely sold. Since then it has sold millions of copies, regularly features in ‘best of’ lists, and is considered a classic. Numerous adaptations have also surfaced, one of which is currently in production.
Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Bonhams.
Dear Miss Lane Pride (What a wonderful name!)
Thank you for your most kind and cordial letter — I think that my first books must have antagonized a lot of people because I know that so many approached this with suspicion and hostility; for the first months there were hardly any sales at all, and until Mencken spoke for it the reviews were angry and childish. Now of course it has become a best seller.
Let me tell you how much I appreciate your writing to me — and how much I hope that future books won’t send you scurrying back to your original opinion.