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FITZGERALD, F Scott: Typed Letter Signed

FITZGERALD, F Scott: Typed Letter Signed

F. Scott Fitzgerald Typed Letter Signed with handwritten addendum, December 26th, 1939, one year almost to the day before his death.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, cash strapped near the end of his life, pleads with his landlord "with somewhat bowed shoulders" for a reduction in rent, expressing hopes that a Hollywood studio will employ him soon.

“Things look a little brighter. My health is better and I really think I am going to work at the studios within a week. All this illness has, however, put me in debt and it may be some months before I am straightened out.”

In 1920, three days after publication, the entire first printing of F Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise, all 3000 copies, sold. Riding the crest of his brisk sales and enthusiastic reviews, Fitzgerald propelled himself further into the financial and cultural elite with The Beautiful and the Damned (1922) and achieved immortality with The Great Gatsby (1925). His private life with his wife Zelda captivated his engrossed readers as much as his novels. This period of success and fame lasted until the end of the ‘20s.

In the 1930’s, Fitzgerald began to drink heavily, and Zelda had two mental breakdowns, the latter from which she never fully recovered. By 1937, however, he had emerged as a scriptwriter with a six-month Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer screenwriting contract at $1,000 a week. He received his only screen credit for adapting Three Comrades (1938), and his contract was renewed for a year at $1,250 a week. While the $91,000 he earned from MGM was impressive money during the late Depression years, he was unable to save and seemed always in need of money. MGM dropped his option at the end of 1938, putting him in grave fiscal difficulty.

By November 1939, Fitzgerald was very much strapped for cash, writing next month to landlord Isabel Horton, wife of actor Edward Everett Horton, “…Things are still difficult here and you are very kind to let me pay this month’s rent by degrees. The check enclosed makes 3/4 of the month’s rent…Am making a deal for a serial novel in the East which I hope will shortly lift my worries from off my somewhat bowed shoulders…”

This outstanding letter to Isabel Horton, simultaneously expressing hope that he will soon be employed by a major Hollywood studio and pleading poverty to gain better terms for his rent, offers a rare glimpse into Scott Fitzgerald's sad life one year before he died.

Fitzgerald letters have become increasingly uncommon. In fine condition.


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