Abstract

“A sort of 1st draft of the Gatsby idea” (Life in Letters 121), F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1922 short story “Winter Dreams” is an assessment of his romance with Ginevra King, his first love. This article explores the wealth of direct and indirect, as well as outright arcane, references to facts and incidents in the lives of Fitzgerald and King and their relationship. It argues that in their complexity these references make sense only if the story is read as the author’s deliberate message to Ginevra, devised in continuation of their erstwhile exchange of bits of fiction written for and about each other to discuss aspects of their relationship. An extraneous reference to the autobiographical hero’s Bohemian immigrant mother—wholly incompatible with the author’s biography—likewise points beyond the fictive world of the story and acknowledges the example of Willa Cather, whose novel My Ántonia (1918) had helped Fitzgerald to conceive and shape his own story of Midwestern experience.

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