Reviews were angry and childish

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.

Image: 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.

Faithfully yours