My novel isn’t a novel in verse—it merly shifts rapidly from verse to prose—but its mostly in prose…. It makes a pot-pouri especially as there are pages in dialogue and in vers libre but it reads as logically for the times as most public utterances of the prim and prominent. It is a tremendously concieted affair.

    —F. Scott Fitzgerald to Shane Leslie, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, 22 Dec, 1917
                           (Life in Letters 14–15)
When F. Scott Fitzgerald sent his mentor Shane Leslie a draft of “The Romantic Egoist” at the end of 1917, he was distressed by Leslie’s reply, even though the twenty-one-year-old already knew his own writing’s weaknesses: “That it is crude, increditably dull in place is too true to be pleasant.” Leslie’s publisher, Charles Scribner II, was interested in the novel but only if it was thoroughly revised. Fitzgerald’s response? “I’d rather do it than not” (Life...

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