Has there ever been a year when so many “long lost” manuscripts turned up? Dr. Suess, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and, of course, Harper Lee, whose Go Set a Watchman, published last month, could not have created a bigger stir. And now? Another long lost hat gets thrown into the ring. This one from a newly found short story from F. Scott Fitzgerald. From The Telegraph:
The 8,000-word tale is called Temperature and is believed to be an autobiographical account of Fitzgerald’s financial difficulties and battle with alcohol-related health issues in his final years.
Fitzgerald had moved to Hollywood – a place he described as “hideous” – in 1937 and was by this time struggling to get published. His screen-writing contract with MGM had expired and he was living in penury.
Temperature, which has been published this month in The Strand magazine, is dated July 1939 and was rejected by publishers. The story follows Emmet Monsen, a hard-drinking writer living in Los Angeles, and opens with a thinly-veiled admission that it is autobiographical: “And as for that current dodge ‘No reference to any living character is intended’; no use even trying that.”
Fitzgerald died the very next year of cardiac arrest, just 44 years old.