In his excellent new book, Ross K. Tangedal offers an in-depth study of a relatively common yet largely unstudied element of novels and story collections, the authorial preface. In a series of chapters that examine the prefaces of individual American authors from across the span of the twentieth century (with focus on the first half of the century), Tangedal develops and validates his thesis that these prefaces “complicate and enhance our understanding” of writers’ “authority over their texts, readers, and careers” (3) in the evolving literary landscape of the time. A chapter on Fitzgerald’s prefaces (91–113)—as well as his table of contents in Tales of the Jazz Age—will be of particular interest to Fitzgerald fans and scholars, as will the chapters that immediately precede and follow it on Ring Lardner (65–90) and Ernest Hemingway (115–39). These chapters offer keen insights into the changing nature of professional authorship in the...

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