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F. Scott Fitzgerald was living in France when he completed The Great Gatsby in the fall of 1924. He mailed the manuscript to his publisher, feeling confident that the novel lived up to his vision for something “new..beautiful…and intricately patterned.” Since transatlantic mail traveled slowly, Fitzgerald had to wait nearly a month for a reply. Listed below is an excerpt from the initial response that Maxwell Perkins, Fitzgerald’s editor at Scribner’s, sent from New York.

Nov. 18, 1924

Dear Scott:

I think the novel is a wonder. I’m taking it home to read again and shall then write my impressions in full —but it has vitality to an extraordinary degree, and glamour, and a great deal of underlying thought of unusual quality. It has a kind of mystic atmosphere at times that you infused into parts of “Paradise” and have not since used. It is a marvelous fusion, into a unity of presentation, of the extraordinary incongruities of life today. And as for sheer writing, it’s astonishing…

With congratulations, I am,
Yours, 

Maxwell E. Perkins

Illustration: Opening section of The Great Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s handwriting.