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  • Reading "Babylon Revisited" as a Post Text:F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Horace Lorimer, and the Saturday Evening Post Audience

"Babylon Revisited," universally regarded as one of F. Scott Fitzgerald's most accomplished stories, was first published in the Saturday Evening Post on 21 February 1931. Readers of the story in the Post encountered the text within a nexus of bibliographic codes – from the placement of the story in the magazine, to the illustrations that accompany it, to the advertisements and other materials that surround it, to the more general editorial context of the Post during the early days of the Depression. Yet very little scholarly attention has been paid to these textual, paratextual, and visual materials framing its publication, despite their importance in shaping contemporary reception of the work. Through an examination of how these editorial elements promoted a reading of the story that supported the ideological stance espoused by the Post in 1930-1931, I demonstrate how attention to such evidence is necessary for understanding how Fitzgerald and his works were positioned for contemporary readers and critics alike. Given the importance of the slicks in the careers of many American literary writers in the first half of the twentieth century, such an approach has far-reaching implications for our understanding of American literary history as well.

Historian and belletrist Bernard DeVoto's oft quoted 1937 Saturday Review of Literature article "Writing for Money," begins with the notion that "there are two classes of writers who do not write for The Saturday Evening Post: those who have independent means or make satisfactory incomes from their other writing, and those who can't make the grade."1 He goes on to outline in great detail the difficulties of earning a living based purely on writing novels and contends that to "maintain a home and rear a family" most novelists "must either get a job and write novels in [their] spare time, or devote [their] spare time to writing for the slicks."2 While acknowledging that "people do not read the slicks to encounter the brutalities, the profundities, or the complexities of experience," he nonetheless concludes that "serious fiction in America owes the slicks a sizable debt for having made better writers of a considerable number of novelists."3 Among those novelists for whom this is most certainly true is F. Scott Fitzgerald, who published 65 stories in the Post alone over the course of his life, including 47 of the 58 that appeared from 1925–33, a period Bryant Mangum, borrowing a phrase from Fitzgerald's literary agent, Harold Ober, describes as "marked by his virtual employment at the Post."4 As Frank Luther Mott has argued in his Pulitzer-Prize winning volumes, A History of American Magazines, while not every work published by the overwhelming number of major American authors who appeared in the Post during the first third of the twentieth century was a masterpiece, some most certainly were,5 and among those inarguably is "Babylon Revisited," which appeared on February 21, 1931.

Historically, the magazine careers of major American authors have been undervalued, both by critics and by the authors themselves. One need only think here of Fitzgerald's letter to Hemingway in 1929 likening himself to an "old whore [earning] $4000 a screw" for his stories in the Post6 or [End Page 351] Faulkner's 1936 complaint that he had "gotten out of the habit of writing trash but will try to cook up something for Cosmopolitan."7 In his work on Thomas Wolfe's magazine publications, Shawn Holliday posits that the lack of scholarly interest in Wolfe's short fiction can be understood in part as a function of the ephemeral and commercial nature of the magazines in which at least some of Wolfe's stories were published. Citing Andrew Levy's The Culture and Commerce of the American Short Story, Holliday argues that "'the physical configuration of the commercial magazine, which arranged fiction and advertising on the same page, represented a perfect example of the contamination that had taken place' between 'literature and commerce,' by placing both on an equal playing field visually and culturally," resulting in a scholarly view of short stories as "more economic than aesthetic."8 Within Fitzgerald scholarship, this trend began to shift in the early 1990s when the importance of Fitzgerald's short story writing in his development as an artist began to receive more scholarly attention.9 By identifying instances where Fitzgerald uses "popular magazines as a workshop for his novels," Bryant Mangum demonstrates how "the demands of the professional writer [were], if not precisely the same as, then at least not entirely incompatible with, those of the literary artist."10

On the other hand, due to its complicated publishing history and importance in Fitzgerald's oeuvre, textual variants of "Babylon Revisited" have been the focus of scholarly attention for over 50 years, and much of this work includes a detailed analysis of the Post text.11 Particularly relevant to the argument at hand is Christa Daugherty and James West's analysis of the textual emendations made by the Post editors to remove risqué elements deemed inappropriate for the magazine's audience.12 These types of considerations are invaluable for reconstructing authorial intention and reveal much about the interrelationship between authors and editors. What a singular focus on the text cannot reveal as fully, however, is the relationship between the story and the audience. At issue is the fact that, as Jerome McGann has argued, "literary works are coded bibliographically as well as linguistically. In the case of bibliographical codes, 'author's intentions' rarely control the state or the transmission of the text."13 Thus, a shift in focus from authorial intention to reception requires attention to elements not considered by scholars focused primarily on the text, such as the ways that editorial policies framed interpretation through surrounding content, advertisements, and illustrations, all of which would have been central to the reading experiences of the original audience.

The last two decades of the nineteenth century witnessed an "explosive growth of the magazine industry in the United States and abroad," which [End Page 352] Amy Tucker characterizes in her work on Henry James's magazine publications as "a revolutionary period in publishing history when the rise of the pictorial challenged the primacy of the written text."14 This capitulation to "mainstream tastes and conventions" was challenged in the 1910s though the creation of the little magazines, which "uph[e]ld higher artistic and intellectual standards than their commercial counterparts,"15 and offered "a pure field for high literary discourse" by relegating advertising to "sections at the front and the back of the journal" in the 1920s.16 Yet, most literary artists during the first half of the twentieth century found their largest audiences in the image-heavy slicks—audiences for whom print culture was defined by a "complex interplay of word and image."17 Readers of "Babylon Revisited" in the Post encountered the text within a nexus of bibliographic codes—from the placement of the story in the magazine, to the illustrations that accompany it, to the advertisements and other materials that surround it, to the more general editorial context of the Post during the early days of the Depression. These materials create, in the words of John K. Young, "a general reading field … directing the terms under which the pieces of fiction can be processed."18 As Jerome McGann has usefully explained, "literary works do not know themselves, cannot be known, apart from their specific material modes of existence/resistance. They are not channels of transmission, they are particular forms of transmissive interaction."19 Just as it was for the audiences Tucker considers, I argue that a consideration of the interplay between word and image is fundamental for understanding the ways contemporary audiences of works published in the slicks understood and made meaning from these stories.

Writing for the Early-Depression-Era Post

Though F. Scott Fitzgerald often denigrated the work he produced for popular magazines, he recognized their power and reach; "he understood that regular magazine publication, particularly in the slicks, brought him not only ever-growing paychecks, but also notoriety among readers across the country."20 With a weekly circulation just under 3 million in 1930,21 and estimates that as many as "10,000,000 people read it,"22 the Saturday Evening Post was among "the most successful and influential of them all."23

Who were these readers? According to Leon Whipple, who likened the magazine to a "magic mirror [that] not only reflects, [but] creates us," in 1928 the answer was everyone: "Who reads The Post? Who looks in the [End Page 353] mirror? Everybody—high-brow, low-brow, and mezzanine; the hard-boiled business man and the soft-boiled leisure woman; the intelligenzia, often as a secret vice; Charles M. Schwab has subscribed for twelve years, Elbert Gray had for eighteen. The White House must take in a copy or two if it has a sense of gratitude. You read it—and I."24 That said, the intended audience was more narrowly prescribed by the values of long-time editor George Horace Lorimer. As Jennifer Greenhill notes in her analysis of Norman Rockwell's subtly subversive images of race, "the magazine that the New York Times said 'probably had more influence on the cultural life of America than any other' became an institution by smoothing over potentially disruptive cultural and social differences."25 The white, middle-class, middlebrow audience to whom Lorimer appealed was provided with "a mythic vision celebrating [in the words of a eulogy printed in Time upon the magazine's closure in 1969] 'the values of ordinary men—cozy domesticity, a sense of humor, a belief in decency and common sense, a faith in free enterprise.'"26 With more than half of its pages dedicated to full-page advertisements at its peak and advertising still accounting for more than 40 percent of total revenue in the worst years of the Depression, keeping advertisers happy also played an important role in what was published.27 As Whipple describes, "the text is like a teller of tales hired by the merchants in a bazaar; you come for the tales but en route you listen to the solicitation of the vendors. And the tale that draws the most listeners and does not spoil the buying mood, or cast reflections on the bazaar is the one the merchants desire."28

Literature published in the Post was expected to conform to these values as well. As Benjamin Stolberg described in his "Portrait of George Horace Lorimer" in 1930, "the stories in the Post are at bottom really grown-up bedtime stories, putting to sleep the critical faculties": "Analysis of conventional values is never skeptical. Real criticism is taboo. Good, clean hope springs eternal and is never polluted by despair. The perennial trinity of goodness, truth and beauty is never at grips with tragedy. It is secular, simple, and sensible, and its triple halo is triple gold-plated. Human emotions are never the stealthy conflicts in the labyrinths of the soul."29 These expectations created tension for authors wanting to reach the vast audience the Post was capable of reaching while working within its restrictive guidelines. Perhaps Donaldson summarizes this best when she states, "literature, in short, was there to entertain and to reassure, not to unsettle and to question."30

Early in his career, Fitzgerald expressed frustration regarding which of his stories were chosen by the Post, and therefore which earned the most money [End Page 354] and reached the broadest audience. In an oft-quoted passage from a 1922 letter to his literary agent, Harold Ober, his irritation is evident at the Post's having chosen "a cheap story like 'The Popular Girl'" over "a genuinely imaginative" story "like 'The Diamond in the Sky'" (which became "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz")31 and he quickly "learned that the slicks would not accept too dark a view of society or too unconventional an approach."32 However, as West points out in the introduction to his edition of Taps at Reveille, Fitzgerald both knew and accepted the rules for publication in the popular marketplace and by 1930 "depended on the Post to keep going. He was able to provide what the Post wanted to publish, though sometimes only after scrubbings and bleachings had been carried out."33 Of course, editing the text of the stories provided the most direct means of ensuring that Fitzgerald's work fit the ideals of the Post and ample evidence exists of cuts and emendations of just this sort, as Daugherty and West reveal through a comparison of the typescript Fitzgerald sent to his agent with the Post text.34 By focusing on two instances where the editors' removal of risqué elements (and in the second case, ellipses and a paragraph break as well) resulted in the removal of important instances of Charlie's self-reflection, their analysis reveals how the Post simplified Charlie's character, and in doing so, the story as well. In this essay, I will demonstrate how the paratext reinforces, and indeed furthers, this simplification of Fitzgerald's work.

All things considered, the Post weathered the early years of the Depression fairly well.35 According to Jan Cohn's study of the Post under Lorimer, "although [by 1931] the weekly book was now half of what it had been in the prosperous twenties, averaging about a dozen pieces per issue, quality did not decline. In fact, the leaner Post of the thirties offered articles and stories far superior to those of its swollen predecessor."36 However, the standards for inclusion were arguably more restrictive than before: "Lorimer was not only looking for the best in fiction; he was also carefully avoiding material that struck him as too downbeat, too depressing a response to the economic situation."37 This belt tightening is reflected in a letter from the editors to William Faulkner dated January 1931, written in response to their having rejected eight of his stories the previous October and November. Beginning "perhaps we should have explained just why we have been in an unreceptive mood to fiction during the past few months," the letter goes on to explain that "the size of our numbers fell off sharply in October" and that the magazine "would have been glad to have [at least some of these stories] if this space contingency had not arisen."38 Fitzgerald fared better with the placement of his stories during this time, but not without the Post's [End Page 355] editing to ensure that they fit Lorimer's idea of what his audience needed. As West has noted and his research has borne out, "there is plentiful evidence to indicate that, during the late 1920s and early 1930s, Fitzgerald was writing mature stories on adult themes for the Post but that these stories were being edited at that magazine to remove forbidden elements."39 What this essay will demonstrate is how other editorial interventions were attempting to shape reception as well.

Revisiting "Babylon Revisited"

It is within this early Depression-era context that "Babylon Revisited" appears as the lead story in the February 21, 1931, issue. Though the story's protagonist, Charlie Wales, does not end up regaining custody of his daughter from his in-laws, Marion and Lincoln, as he had hoped, on the surface "Babylon Revisited" fulfills Lorimer's criteria; Charlie, a good man at heart, has recognized the error of his ways and genuinely seems to have done everything he can to reform and commit himself to being a good father, and though he is temporarily thwarted through a combination of ill-timed fate and his sister-in-law's inability to recognize that he has changed, there is hope for him yet. He has already recovered his economic losses and there is some suggestion that his emotional losses can be overcome as well. Though the story concludes with him alone, back in the bar where he began his quest grimly reflecting on how "he lost everything [he] wanted in the boom," we leave him in the final paragraph reassured by his continued commitment to regaining his daughter—"He would come back some day; they couldn't make him pay forever"—and it is comforting to agree with him that his wife "Helen wouldn't have wanted him to be so alone."40 However, though this simplistic reading is appealing—after all, Fitzgerald goes through great lengths to create empathy for Charlie through, in part, establishing him as a caring father before revealing the events that led up to his loss of his wife, custody, and sanity in the first place—as many critics have noted, Charlie ultimately undermines himself from the very beginning of the story through, as Bruccoli put it, "his inability to reject Babylon."41 His prescribed one drink per day is a bit too contrived, his tour through Paris a bit too tinged with nostalgia, his focus on his income a bit too great, and his interpretation of his in-laws a bit too revealing of what he really values. While he recognizes that Lincoln and Marion have created a family-oriented "home" where "the children felt very safe and important," his condescension towards their [End Page 356] lifestyle is evident in his description of them in the same passage: "their gestures as they turned in a cramped space lacked largeness and grace."42 Whereas Fitzgerald creates a somewhat idyllic domestic scene in this passage, Charlie sees it primarily for what it is lacking, and his focus ultimately rests on what he perceives to be their less-than-perfect economic circumstances: "He wondered if he couldn't do something to get Lincoln out of that rut at the bank."43 This revelation of Charlie's conflicting thoughts is immediately followed by "a long peal at the doorbell" announcing Lorraine and Duncan, the living embodiment of Charlie's internal conflict.44 And as much as his "outrage" at their "intrusion" may be genuine, as much as Charlie insists that "'they wormed [Lincoln and Marion's] address out of Paul at the bar,'" as much as we (and perhaps even Fitzgerald) wish it were true, the careful reader knows that they were brought into the safe domestic space of his in-laws' living room by Charlie himself, since he left their address explicitly for Duncan with the bartender: in the very first column of the story, Charlie tells the bartender "'If you see Mr. Schaffer, give him this. … It's my brother-in-law's address,'"45 Duncan's last name is revealed to be Schaffer when they first run into each other at lunch, and thus it should come as a surprise to no one—and certainly to Charlie least of all—that the bartender gave Mr. Schaffer the address.46

In this reading, the final paragraph takes on a very different tone. Rather than simply providing evidence of Charlie's renewed commitment to his daughter, it can also be read as further evidence of his continued emphasis on himself: "He would come back some day; they couldn't make him pay forever. But he wanted his child, and nothing was much good now, beside that fact. He wasn't young any more, with a lot of nice thoughts and dreams to have by himself. He was absolutely sure Helen wouldn't have wanted him to be so alone."47 The profusion of masculine pronouns in this section—he, him, his, himself—serves both to emphasize Charlie's primary focus (himself) and to make clear that he views Honoria more in terms of what she can offer him than in terms of what is best for her. In this passage, it is Charlie whose loneliness presents the pressing need, and not Honoria, who is referred to only as "his child," and the events that led up to Honoria's losing both parents are framed only in terms of his losses with no consideration for hers. This disheartening realization of Charlie's limitations and the grip that his past still has on him despite what appears to be a genuine desire to change makes the story so much more poignant and powerful than if it were simply about being temporarily (or even permanently) foiled by an overzealous sister-in-law, particularly when read against Fitzgerald's own nostalgiatinged [End Page 357] reflections on the era published later that year in "Echoes of the Jazz Age": "Now once more the belt is tight and we summon the proper expression of horror as we look back at our wasted youth. Sometimes, though … it all seems rosy and romantic to those of us who were young then, because we will never feel quite so intensely about our surroundings any more."48

Such a complex reading, however, does not fit easily within the ideology promoted by the Post, particularly during the dark days of the Depression. "Good clean hope" does not "spring eternal," and "human emotions" clearly do cause "stealthy conflicts in the labyrinths of [Charlie's] soul."49 So how did the Post attempt to guide the audience towards the more simplistic reading rather than the more complex one offered here? To answer that fully, we must look to the documentary evidence provided by the early-Depression era Post.

Lorimer's "Babylon Revisited": Placement and Illustrations

"Babylon Revisited" appeared immediately under the masthead in the February 21, 1931, issue of the Post and was one of the eighteen stories for which Fitzgerald was paid his top price of $4,000.50 Both the placement of the story as the first non-advertising material in the magazine and the high fee paid to Fitzgerald suggest the value that the editors placed on it. Though it was not uncommon for a short story to appear first in the magazine during this era, of the 65 stories that Fitzgerald published there, only six appeared as the first item, and "Babylon Revisited" was the first to do so during the Depression.51 The first item to appear was privileged in other ways as well. Most fiction in the magazine began with a two-page illustrated spread and continued later in the volume, whereas stories chosen to appear first began with three continuous illustrated pages before being interrupted.52 Further, while in the flush years of the 1920s most fiction had three pages of illustrations regardless of placement,53 in 1931 no more than one item was accompanied by three pages of images and in most cases this was the first item to appear in the issue: three illustrations in the case of fiction or three pages of photographs (or, less frequently, illustrations) in the case of non-fiction.54

In 1931, fiction chosen to lead off the magazine was generally illustrated with a larger image immediately under the title, author's name, and illustrator's name (in descending font size), followed by somewhat smaller images at the top of page four and at the bottom of page five [see Figure 1, Figure 2, and Figure 3]. Within this general scheme there was some variation, the most significant being whether the text wrapped the images and whether [End Page 358]

Figure 1. Opening page of the Saturday Evening Post, February 21, 1931. Illustration by Henrietta McCaig Starrett. Image used by permission of and illustration © SEPS licensed by Curtis Licensing Indianapolis, Ind.
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Figure 1.

Opening page of the Saturday Evening Post, February 21, 1931. Illustration by Henrietta McCaig Starrett.

Image used by permission of and illustration © SEPS licensed by Curtis Licensing Indianapolis, Ind.

the images were set off by borders, which varied by illustrator. Although, as with all things under his editorship, final approval of the illustrations rested with Lorimer, 55 the choice of which scenes to illustrate rested largely with the illustrator. This process was addressed in Wesley Stout's "Yes, We Read the Story," an article about illustrators for the Post that appeared on June 25, 1932: "A competent artist reads [the story] with as much care as the proud author lavishes on it. He [sic] reads it first, as you do, purely as a story. He then rereads it several times analytically, checking its picture possibilities, noting the period and scene, tabulating the characters and all [End Page 359]

Figure 2. Second illustration for "Babylon Revisited" by Henrietta McCaig Starrett (Saturday Evening Post, 21 February 1931, 4) Illustration © SEPS licensed by Curtis Licensing Indianapolis, Ind.
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Figure 2.

Second illustration for "Babylon Revisited" by Henrietta McCaig Starrett (Saturday Evening Post, 21 February 1931, 4)

Illustration © SEPS licensed by Curtis Licensing Indianapolis, Ind.

the author says of what they do, look like, and wear."56 Though illustrations were important throughout Lorimer's editorship, in his last eight years illustrators for the Post seemed to enjoy particular prominence. In addition to the somewhat lengthy article by Stout cheekily addressing the most frequently asked question of illustrators, they sometimes were featured in the regular Post feature "Who's Who—and Why." Perhaps most significantly, beginning with the May 19, 1928, issue, illustrators' names appeared along with the titles and authors of short stories and serials on the table of contents—a practice that continued until Lorimer's last issue on December [End Page 360] 24, 1936.57 The prominence given to the image on the first page of the story also suggests that though "the story was the thing,"58 illustrations were an important part of how the Post expected the story to be interpreted.

Figure 3. Third and final illustration for "Babylon Revisited" by Henrietta McCaig Starrett (Saturday Evening Post, 21 February 1931, 5) Illustration © SEPS licensed by Curtis Licensing Indianapolis, Ind.
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Figure 3.

Third and final illustration for "Babylon Revisited" by Henrietta McCaig Starrett (Saturday Evening Post, 21 February 1931, 5)

Illustration © SEPS licensed by Curtis Licensing Indianapolis, Ind.

"Babylon Revisited" was illustrated by Fitzgerald's most frequent illustrator, Henrietta McCaig Starrett, who "provided drawings for 13 of his stories in the Saturday Evening Post."59 Fitzgerald's prominence as a magazine writer meant that "editors assigned top illustrators to his work"60 and by 1931 Starrett appeared to be an illustrator of some renown. In 1928, shortly after she began illustrating for the Post and in the midst of her run [End Page 361] of illustrating Fitzgerald's Basil Duke Lee stories, Starrett herself was featured in the weekly Post column "Who's Who—and Why."61 By August of 1930, her reputation was sufficiently established to warrant an article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle about her and her husband, fellow illustrator Kemp Starrett, which noted that "she has been illustrating for the Saturday Evening Post for three years and is gaining in popularity with every issue in which she appears."62

The prominence of the opening image in "Babylon Revisited" is striking [see Figure 1]. As is typical of Starrett's illustrations, the borderless image is wrapped by the text. Though the placement of this illustration is not unusual, the text to image ratio is less than that of other similarly wrapped stories,63 and taken together, these elements reinforce the dominance of the image. Rather than suggesting that the image supports the story, the textual frame almost seems to highlight the image, like a frame used for a painting. As Leighton and Surridge have suggested regarding the illustrations for Victorian serials, the proleptic nature of this image further suggests its primacy over the text; readers see the image first and later encounter it in the text, meaning that "the verbal text then seems to repeat what the illustration has already shown, and readers wait to see when it matches (or ironically fails to match) their visual expectations."64 This is significant, in part, because the stories told by the text and by the image are quite different. The text on the opening page of the story takes place entirely in a bar Charlie once frequented, in which he assures himself of failure in his quest to regain his daughter in the very first column by leaving his address for his friends from the life he has supposedly left behind. Honoria is only mentioned in the very last sentence of the text on this page, and the next page begins with the bartender expressing his surprise that Charlie has a daughter. The image, on the other hand, represents a scene from section II of the story depicting a devoted father sharing a loving and poignant moment with his daughter. Charlie has his arm around Honoria, who leans into him comfortably. The caption, from page five of the story, emphasizes their current closeness and Charlie's sagacity: "But you won't always love me best, honey. You'll grow up and meet somebody your own age and go marry him and forget you ever had a daddy." While Fitzgerald's opening casts doubt on the extent of Charlie's change and foreshadows his eventual failure to regain custody of Honoria, Starrett's illustration predisposes the reader to believe that Charlie is worthy of regaining custody by focusing the reader's attention on Charlie's relationship with his daughter. In the larger picture, prioritizing the father/daughter connection oversimplifies the potent mixture of nostalgia [End Page 362] and regret that characterizes Charlie's (and, as evident elsewhere as well, Fitzgerald's) relationship with the Jazz Age in the early 1930s.65

The remaining images reinforce this oversimplification. Found on facing pages of the magazine, they work together to illustrate Charlie's commitment to Honoria and his distance from his past [see Figure 2 and Figure 3]. Though they take up less space than the initial image, the wrapping of the text to fit the images is even more pronounced. While the text surrounding the initial image is divided into two evenly sized columns, the text surrounding these images is bent to the shape of the illustrations, clearly signaling their importance. The first of these, at the top of page four, depicts Charlie's final confrontation with Lorraine and Duncan at Lincoln and Marion's apartment. Charlie's anger is evident in his face, clenched fists, and body language, while Lorraine's expression and stance emphasize her haughtiness. By quoting Lorraine's reaction to Charlie's dismissal, the tableau reinforces the finality of their split: "'Oh, you will, will you?' Her voice became suddenly unpleasant. 'All right, we'll go along.'" The groundwork for this separation is laid by the illustration found on the facing page, which depicts an earlier scene of Charlie and Honoria getting to know each other better over lunch. Like the first image, the final illustration is also from Charlie and Honoria's day together in section II. Both father and daughter are so engrossed in their conversation that neither is aware of the couple watching them, possibly Lorraine and Duncan, whom they run into "going out of the restaurant."66 The choice to illustrate three scenes emphasizing Charlie's closeness with Honoria and distance from the representatives of his past elides evidence of the struggles that Charlie is still facing and sets the tone for a more simplistic and Post-friendly interpretation of the story than Fitzgerald's text suggests.

The frequency with which illustrators were apparently asked whether they read the story, prompting the slightly defensive publication of "Yes, We Read the Story" in 1932, could suggest that these interpretative decisions were not entirely unnoted by the public. During her 1930 interview for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle article, Starrett herself notes that "people are always asking me whether an artist must read the stories she illustrates," a question that clearly irritates her, even if she fields it with good humor: "I am having Kemp [her husband] invent some sort of bomb that will blow up those persons all at once."67 However, the Post article is more concerned with technical rather than interpretative errors, and by this standard Starrett's illustrations are unproblematic. Nonetheless, the illustrations clearly suggest an interpretation that aligns "Babylon Revisited" more with Lorimer's vision than with Fitzgerald's. [End Page 363]

"Opportunities Have Been the Order of the Day"68: Ideology and the Post, late 1930–early 1931

The Post-friendly reading of "Babylon Revisited" also provided support for Lorimer's ideological commitments in the early days of the Depression. While the general theme of redemption and positive change suggested by the more simplistic reading of the story went well with the tone of the Post during this era, specifics of Charlie's transformation also matched well with the economic policies Lorimer promoted throughout the pages of the magazine. According to Lorimer, "the answer to unemployment was 'hard work.' Business and industry could be trusted far more than those who would offer government aid, thereby increasing the debt and encouraging inflation."69 In January and February of 1931, the Post intensified its criticism of governmental intervention in response to attempts by the Hoover administration to institute government-sponsored relief programs. As Cohn demonstrates in Creating America, "supporting the polemics was a stream of articles and editorials that doggedly maintained an optimistic view and encouraged readers to do the same."70 For example, the editorial that appeared on February 28, 1931, just one week after the publication of "Babylon Revisited," blithely refers to post-crash economic developments as "the dull, quiet and normal credit operations of a period like the recent past," and while cautioning against "promiscuous purchase of securities," nonetheless encouraged investment in the stock market by suggesting, as quoted above, that "opportunities have been the order of the day."71 As a figure who is not only emotionally, but also economically, better off than he was before, Charlie exemplifies Lorimer's assertions. Not only is his income "bigger than it was when [he] had money," but through his experiences Charlie has learned the value of hard work, as he tells Marion: "'I've learned. I worked hard for ten years, you know—until I got lucky in the market, like so many people. Terribly lucky. It didn't seem any use working any more, so I quit. It won't happen again.'"72 Given Lorimer's control over all aspects of the magazine at this point, it seems likely that he was aware of this connection, a conclusion supported by the speed with which "Babylon Revisited" was scheduled for publication; it was received by the Post on January 6, and accepted, edited, and printed in just over six weeks, all during the period when the Post was simultaneously promoting hard work and a positive outlook.73

The advertisements that appeared in the first few months of 1931 reveal a guarded but generally optimistic response to the economic situation as well. Though advertising had begun to fall by early 1931, it still played a [End Page 364] significant role in the magazine. For example, of the 120 pages and four cover pages of the February 21, 1931 issue in which "Babylon Revisited" appeared, 51 were dedicated to full-page ads constituting 41 percent of the pages available. However, this number underestimates the extent of advertising content by leaving out the many smaller advertisements interspersed throughout most of the magazine as well. When these are taken into account, a full 75 percent of the pages include advertising of some sort, representing 99 companies. Yet, even this accounting is somewhat incomplete if we consider how the magazine would have been read by its audience, which requires attention to the content of facing pages as well. Considerations of actual use reveal that 83 percent of the non-advertising content is directly juxtaposed with advertising. To put it another way, including the front cover, there are only 19 pages of the available 124 that do not contain or directly face advertising.74

Throughout these advertisements the influence of the Depression is subtle, but traceable. For example, five of the seven car advertisements make note of their low prices, with GM promising that they have "been able to make these two fine cars meet today's economic needs" and Hudson offering cars at "prices all can afford."75 Yet, these are counterbalanced by advertisements like the two-page spread for Buick that relies upon fatherly pride and customer loyalty to appeal to those "more than willing to pay a price in constant progress" for one of their "20 luxurious models."76 Cadillac also saw a market for its luxury cars among Post readers, as indicated by its biweekly advertisements throughout the first few months of 1931, which emphasized luxury, beauty, styling, and performance.77 Taken together, the overall emphasis of the advertisements seems to be on responsible spending, as is encapsulated by Iron Fireman's claim that their Automatic Coal Burners "create prosperity through economy."78 While the audience might be thinking a bit more about how to make their car last through replacing their spark plugs79 or tires,80 they also include "men who realize the undeniable power of first impressions in this new age of business progress" and recognize the importance of "individually tailored" clothes for projecting a gentlemanly image.81 As someone who has regained his wealth along with a more responsible perspective, Charlie encapsulates the aspirations of Lorimer's intended audience.

The short story and article chosen to open the issues that appeared immediately before and immediately after the issue containing "Babylon Revisited" promote a similar message as that suggested by Starrett's images and provide further evidence of how Lorimer was positioning the magazine's [End Page 365] audience in February of 1931. Indeed the similarities between Joseph Hergesheimer's story "Fine Apparel," which led off the February 14 issue, and "Babylon Revisited" are somewhat striking. Both feature widowed fathers reflecting back upon what they now interpret to be the excesses and meaninglessness that characterized their lives in the 1920s, acutely feeling the distance this has caused between themselves and their daughters, as well as their current isolation from everyone else, and vowing to make things right. Like Charlie, the protagonist of "Fine Apparel," George Tait, is reevaluating the good times he had in the past: "How many times, say, in a hundred dinners had he been actually happy and carefree and gay? The natural gayety different from the galvanized, the really demented, high spirits of drunkenness."82 Like Charlie who "remembered thousand-franc notes given to an orchestra for playing a single number, hundred-franc notes tossed to a doorman for calling a cab,"83 George looks back with distain on his excessive spending evident throughout his home: "fifty pairs of drawers. … With monograms. Five dollars and seventy-five cents each," riding clothes "enough for a riding master" which he had "hardly put on … and what each had cost he couldn't even guess," "Waterford glasses [which] he had paid seven hundred and forty dollars for" though they were "ugly" and "too small by far."84 And like Charlie, George no longer feels any connection to the people who represent his old life: "How many, he speculated, would he miss if he never saw them again. None. Not one! He put his speculation differently—how many people, dying, would permanently leave him poorer for the loss? Not one. None! George Tait was appalled at the loneliness of his existence."85 And finally, while George has not yet regained his financial position as Charlie has, the story ends with a renewed faith in the power of the individual to persevere with hard work: "The feeling of impotence that had fallen upon him had all vanished—his creditors would be paid sooner even than they hoped for. … He'd be better than ever before. In a way, lately, he had fallen into a stupor. A chimera of success, of satisfaction, had betrayed him. … He would never again make the mistake of complacency."86

Isaac Marcosson's article, "Guaranteeing the Job," which opens the February 28, 1931 issue immediately following the publication of "Babylon Revisited" is perhaps even more straightforward in its support of the Post's ideology. Prefiguring anti–New Deal policies that would be espoused by the magazine later in the Depression, the article is strongly against any national measures, such as "the drain of the dole, which has subsidized idleness and drugged the will to work in Great Britain" and advocates instead that "the [End Page 366] responsibility and the cure are squarely up to the private individual or corporation."87 Though the focus of the article is on how business can prevent unemployment through "regularization," its ideological commitments are clear—"relief is apt to beget helplessness" and "there is no place for such endowed inertia in the United States."88 The publication of "Babylon Revisited" as the centerpiece in this set reinforces how the editors positioned it to embody the values of the early-Depression era Post.


In the first half of the twentieth century, publication in the slicks played an important role in the careers of many American literary writers, bringing them both financial support and often their largest audiences. Yet, though reappraisals of stories published in the slicks have become common in the past twenty-five years,89 very little attention has been paid to the textual and visual materials that framed the publication of these works within these magazines. In contrast, Victorian scholars have long acknowledged the need to "pay attention to the material forms of Victorian serials."90 One reason for this distinction may be due to the relatively limited nature of the interactions between authors and illustrators whose work appeared alongside each other in the slicks as compared to the closer relationships more characteristic of Victorian novelists and illustrators, yet Leighton and Surridge's argument regarding Victorian serial illustrations holds true for illustrations that accompanied fiction in the slicks as well: in both instances "if we base our analysis on the experience of original readers, illustrations appear primary, in that they were seen first by every [magazine] reader."91

Among these readers were contemporary critics of Fitzgerald's fiction, whose reactions to the bibliographic codes contained in the slicks clearly influenced their interpretations of Fitzgerald's work as well. As Bryant Mangum has demonstrated, this was particularly evident in critical responses to his short story collections, which often tempered "praise for occasional brilliant performances" (such as "Babylon Revisited") with "criticism of the slickness of other selections,"92 (though, as Matthew J. Bruccoli has noted, concerns about Fitzgerald's commercialism often played a role in the reviews of his novels as well.)93 For example, one reviewer of Taps at Reveille, in which "Babylon Revisited" was reprinted, noted that "it is not difficult to determine in which of the publications [e.g., the Post, American Mercury, or Esquire] the individual stories [originally] appeared" and labeled the Basil [End Page 367] Lee stories as clearly "products for which Author Fitzgerald received nice fat checks from the Curtis Publishing Co."94 Such was the strength of this association that even when Fitzgerald took "pains to exclude his most popular stories" from a collection, as he did with All the Sad Young Men (1926), the reviews were still marked with references to "'popular magazine fiction'" and "'money-making.'"95 When scholarly attention later returned to the stories, one conclusion that became clear is that even stories "praised in Fitzgerald's lifetime for their artistic brilliance have been shown to be, if anything, more carefully conceived and artfully crafted than they had been thought by Fitzgerald's contemporaries to be."96 Taken together, this critical reassessment along with the contemporary critical emphasis on the commercial nature of his stories demonstrates how much contemporary interpretations were framed by the site of initial publication. It was only a generation after these stories were removed from the contexts of their original printings and placed within the contexts of Fitzgerald's other work, and perhaps more importantly, within contexts that assert his importance as one of the literary elite, that scholars—many of whom would have been too young to have experienced reading these stories in their original contexts—began to reevaluate their worth.97 Thus, beyond demonstrating how bibliographic codes framed contemporary interpretations of Fitzgerald and his works, the timing of such scholarly reappraisals suggests the significance of these elements for understanding posthumous shifts in Fitzgerald's reputation as well.

The bibliographic and documentary evidence surrounding the publication of stories in the slicks is largely forgotten for modern audiences and is quickly disappearing. Anthologies and critical editions generally do not include images that accompanied the text, and certainly do not include other materials that appeared in the magazine. Even digital surrogates, which have the potential for making some of these materials more accessible, are often marked by the omission of full-page advertising, an inability to view the magazine as a whole rather than as discrete articles, and issues of access.98 The texts of original magazine publications are often noted in critical materials establishing authoritative texts, but these textual changes, though important for determining authorial intention, are small compared to the positioning performed by the rest of the material evidence. As this essay has shown, the context surrounding Fitzgerald's magazine publications reveals how Fitzgerald's work was positioned for his contemporary readers, without which no understanding of Fitzgerald's reputation can be complete. [End Page 368]

Jennifer Nolan

Jennifer Nolan is an Assistant Professor in the English department at North Carolina State University. Her research and publications focus on twentieth-century US print culture and reading practices, with a current emphasis on F. Scott Fitzgerald and literature published in popular magazines during the interwar period.


I am greatful to Greg Barnhisel and my reviewers at Book History for their thorough, thoughtful, and helpful comments and suggestions.

1. Benard DeVoto, "Writing for Money." The Saturday Review of Literature, 9 October 1937, 3. Examples of those who cite this article include Frank Luther Mott, "The Saturday Evening Post," in A History of American Magazines, 1885–1905 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1957), 701–2 and Ronald Weber Hired Pens: Professional Writers in America's Golden Age of Print (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1997), 224–25.

2. DeVoto, "Writing for Money," 3. During Fitzgerald's career, the popular magazine market could be roughly subdivided into the high-paying, "mass-market, advertising-driven" slicks and their "lower-circulation [and thus lower paying] … more highbrow literary" counterparts. As Robert Beuka explains, "these two realms of the popular magazine market … provided [Fitzgerald's] main source of income throughout his professional life while also exerting an important influence on his novel writing." Robert Beuka, "Magazines," in F. Scott Fitzgerald in Context, ed. Bryant Mangum (New York: Cambridge Univeristy Press 2013), 284.

3. DeVoto, "Writing for Money," 4, 22.

4. Bryant Mangum, A Fortune Yet: Money in the Art of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Short Stories (New York: Garland Publishing, 1991), 77. This characterization is based on a 1932 letter submitted to the IRS by Harold Ober at Fitzgerald's request establishing a contractual arrangement with the Post during this period. For this exchange, see Matthew Bruccoli, ed., As Ever, Scott Fitz—Letters Between F. Scott Fitzgerald and His Literary Agent Harold Ober 1919–1940 (New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1972), 191–93.

5. Mott, "Saturday Evening Post," 704. As Mott suggests, "repetition of the roll of contributors is scarcely necessary here; but it is easy to name such distinguished American writers for the Post in these years as … Jack London, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser … Sinclair Lewis … Edith Wharton … William Faulkner" and so on.

6. Matthew J. Bruccoli, ed., F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994), 169.

7. Quoted in Susan Donaldson, "Dismantling the Saturday Evening Post Reader: The Unvanquished and Changing 'Horizons of Expectations,'" in Faulkner and Popular Culture, ed. Doreen Fowler and Ann Abadie (Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi, 1990), 185.

8. Shawn Holliday, "Thomas Wolfe's Short Fiction and the Culture of Magazine Publication," Thomas Wolfe Review 35 (2011): 41–42. See also Andrew Levy, The Culture and Commerce of the American Short Story (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 50.

9. See Bryant Mangum, "The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald" in The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Ruth Prigozy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 59.

10. Mangum, "Short Stories," 67, 69.

11. See for example William White's 1966 comparison of the Post and Taps at Reveille texts, "Two Versions of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'Babylon Revisited': A Textual and Bibliographical Study," Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 60 (1966): 439–52, and Barbara Sylvester's more recent analysis of changes made by Fitzgerald and later by Malcolm Crowley in "Whose 'Babylon Revisited' Are We Teaching? Cowley's Fortunate Corruption—and Others Not So Fortunate," in F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Perspectives, ed. Jackson Bryer, Alan Margolies, and Ruth Prigozy (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2000), 180–91. For a complete list of essays about the text of "Babylon Revisited," see James L.W. West III, introduction to Taps at Reveille, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), xviii, note 6. [End Page 369]

12. Christa E. Daugherty and James L.W. West III, "Josephine Baker, Petronius, and the Text of 'Babylon Revisited,'" The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review 1 (2002): 3–15.

13. Jerome McGann, The Textual Condition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 60.

14. Amy Tucker, The Illustration of the Master: Henry James and the Magazine Revolution (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014): xv.

15. Suzanne Churchill and Adam McKible, "Introduction," in Little Magazines & Modernism: New Approaches (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2007), 6.

16. Levy, Culture and Commerce, 50.

17. Tucker, The Illustration of the Master, xvii.

18. John K. Young, "Pynchon in Popular Magazines," Critique 44, no. 4 (Summer 2003): 392.

19. McGann, The Textual Condition, 11.

20. Beuka, "Magazines," 283–84.

21. There is some disagreement about exact circulation numbers in the late 1920s and 1930s. The more conservative estimate, included above, is from Cohn's research in the Curtis archives. See Jan Cohn, Creating America: George Horace Lorimer and the Saturday Evening Post (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989), 307. The February 21, 1931, issue in which "Babylon Revisited" appears claims "more than 2,850,000 Net Paid Circulation Weekly" (118). Stolberg quotes a slightly higher circulation of 3 million by 1928 and 3,150,000 by 1930, as well as the much higher readership number noted above. See Benjamin Stolberg, "Merchant in Letters: Portrait of George Horace Lorimer," Outlook and Independent, May 21, 1930, 88. In any case, the numbers are close enough for the impact to be clear.

22. Stolberg, "Merchant in Letters," 88.

23. Beuka, "Magazines," 284.

24. Leon Whipple, "SatEvePost: Mirror of These States," The Survey, March 1, 1928, 699.

25. Jennifer A. Greenhill, "The View from Outside: Rockwell and Race in 1950," American Art 21, no. 2 (Summer 2007): 75. Greenhill's citation comes from an obituary of Lorimer, "George Horace Lorimer, Noted Editor, Dies," New York Times Oct. 23 1937: 1+.

26. Greenhill, "The View from Outside, 75.

27. In 1928, editorial policy was that "not less than 50 nor more than 60 [percent]" of the pages would be entirely dedicated to advertising (Whipple, "SatEvePost," 714), and advertising continued to make up "about 60 percent of each book" until the last two months of 1930 when it began to decline (Cohn, Creating America, 224). By 1931, "advertising revenue was falling precipitously, and although issues were smaller, running twenty to fifty pages fewer than in 1930 … by the second half of 1931, [revenue] percentages ran in the low forties" (Cohn, Creating America, 226).

28. Whipple, "SatEvePost," 714 (emphasis mine).

29. Stolberg, "Merchant in Letters," 87.

30. Donaldson, "Dismantling the Saturday Evening Post Reader," 181.

31. Fitzgerald to Harold Ober, St. Paul, 5 February 1922, in F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters, ed. Bruccoli, 54.

32. Mary Jo Tate, Critical Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Literary Reference to his Life and Work (New York: Facts on File, 2007), 379.

33. West, introduction to Taps at Reveille, xxiv.

34. Daugherty and West, "Josephine Baker," 3–15. While Daugherty and West's essay is most relevant to my argument here, textual variants across the corpus of editions of "Babylon Revisited" have been the subject of much scholarly attention. See footnote 11.

35. Such was not the case by 1933, when advertising revenue had declined so far that most issues were under 100 pages and contained only ten stories, articles, and serials combined. Circulation remained relatively constant, however, and despite economic difficulties, the Post [End Page 370] continued to reach a broad audience. Cohn, Creating America, 237. See chap. 6 for a fuller picture of the Post from 1930–36.

36. Cohn, Creating America, 226.

37. Cohn, Creating America, 248.

38. James B. Meriwether, "Faulkner's Correspondence with The Saturday Evening Post," Mississippi Quarterly 30 (Summer 1977): 475.

39. West, introduction to Taps at Reveille, xxiv.

40. F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Babylon Revisited," Saturday Evening Post, February 21, 1931, 84.

41. Matthew J. Bruccoli, Classes on F. Scott Fitzgerald (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001), 115. For two relatively recent readings along these lines, see Richard Davidson, "Art and Autobiography in Fitzgerald's 'Babylon Revisited,'" in F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Perspectives, ed. Bryer et al., 192–202, and Gerald Kennedy, "Figuring the Damage: Fitzgerald's 'Babylon Revisited' and Hemingway's 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro,'" in French Connections: Hemingway and Fitzgerald Abroad (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998), 317–43. Davidson explores how Fitzgerald builds sympathy for Charlie by establishing mutual love between father and daughter while simultaneously demonstrating how "Charlie's ambivalent urges and his persistent need for self-justification tend to undermine his good intentions" (194–95), while Kennedy convincingly demonstrates how Fitzgerald uses Charlie's geographical movements within Paris to reveal that despite surface-level evidence to the contrary "he remains too deeply enamored of the pleasures of Babylon to recover his Honor(ia) or to escape the condition of spiritual exile" (326). Nor is this a recent critical assessment. As Roy Male argued in 1965, "the trouble with Charlie is that he still wants both worlds." "'Babylon Revisited:' A Story of the Exile's Return," Studies in Short Fiction 2 (Spring 1965): 270–77.

42. Fitzgerald, "Babylon Revisited," 84.

43. Fitzgerald, "Babylon Revisited," 84. David Cowart reads Charlie's "inability to perceive the limitations of money" as "the real thematic heart of the story, which lies in Charlie's failure to recognize the radical incompatibility of his money and the home he seeks." "'Babylon Revisited:' The Tragedy of Charlie Wales," Journal of the Short Story in English 3, no. 2(1984): 26, 21.

44. Fitzgerald, "Babylon Revisited," 84

45. Fitzgerald, "Babylon Revisited," 84, 3.

46. Though critics have routinely noted this point and it seems obvious when laid out in this manner, it is surprisingly easy to overlook upon a first reading; students rarely make this connection before our class discussion. Nonetheless, the evidence is undeniable that Charlie not only left the address at the bar, but that he specifically left it for Duncan.

47. Fitzgerald, "Babylon Revisited," 84 (emphasis mine).

48. The biographical elements of "Babylon Revisited" have been well documented. For a thorough outline see Davidson, "Art and Autobiography in Fitzgerald's 'Babylon Revisited,'" who argues that Charlie "more than most of Fitzgerald's characters" should be read as Fitzgerald's "alter ego," (192) and Kennedy, "Figuring the Damage." The similarities between Charlie and Fitzgerald provide further support for the idea that Charlie's inability to let go of the past fully reflects Fitzgerald's own state of mind, as reflected in "Echoes of the Jazz Age." F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Echoes of the Jazz Age," Scribner's, November 1931, rpt. in The Crack-Up, ed. Edmund Wilson (New York: New Directions Books, 1945), 22.

49. Stolberg, "Merchant in Letters," 87.

50. Daugherty and West, "Josephine Baker," 6.

51. A complete list of Fitzgerald stories to appear first in the magazine is as follows: the first installment of "The Popular Girl" on February 11, 1922; "Presumption" on January 9, 1926; "Jacob's Ladder" on August 20, 1927; "The Scandal Detectives" on April 28, 1928; "Babylon Revisited" on February 21, 1931; and "Family in the Wind" on June 4, 1932. For [End Page 371] a comprehensive list of Fitzgerald's stories and initial place of publication, see Tate, Critical Companion, 407–11.

52. To use an example written by Fitzgerald closest to the publication of "Babylon Revisited," while "Babylon Revisited" appeared on pages 3–5 before continuing on pages 82–84 and was accompanied by three illustrations, "The Hotel Child," published the previous month, appeared on pages 8–9 before continuing on pages 69, 72, and 75, and was accompanied by only two illustrations.

53. For an example written by Fitzgerald see "Myra Meets His Family," which began on page 40 of the March 20, 1920, issue.

54. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, the January 3, 1931, issue begins with an article on the first two pages, followed by a short story with three illustrations, and in the January 10, 1931, issue, no text has three illustrations. Generally, however, the pattern outlined above is followed, and in all cases no more than one item is accompanied by more than two pages of images.

55. According to Tebbel, "Lorimer picked the covers as a weekly routine, with the same unerring judgment that he exercised on the editorial content. … He went through the same process with the story illustrations, and he also sat as censor on the advertising art. If he thought there was too much feminine leg in a picture, he would order it retouched. He meant to keep the Post a family magazine, right down to the smallest illustration." John Tebbel, George Horace Lorimer and The Saturday Evening Post (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co, 1948), 114.

56. Wesley Stout, "Yes, We Read the Story," Saturday Evening Post, June 25, 1932, 8.

57. This practice became perhaps even more significant as of July 1, 1933, when the table of contents was moved from the last page to the front of each issue.

58. Stout, "Yes, We Read the Story," 34.

59. Park Bucker, "Starrett, Henrietta McCaig," in Critical Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Mary Jo Tate (New York: Facts on File, 2007), 381.

60. Park Bucker, "Illustrations for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Magazine Stories" in Critical Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Mary Jo Tate (New York: Facts on File, 2007), 325.

61. Starrett provided illustrations for the entire Basil Duke Lee series, which ran from 1928–29 (Bucker, "Starrett," 381). When she was featured in the August 4 edition of "Who's Who—and Why," three of these stories, "The Scandal Detectives" (April 28, 1928), "A Night at the Fair" (July 21, 1928), and "The Freshest Boy" (July 28, 1928) had recently appeared, the first being one of the six Fitzgerald stories to lead off the magazine.

62. Lawson Paynter, "Artists Who Wed Upset Popular Ideas," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 31, 1930, 9.

63. See, for example, "The Lively Lady" (March 7, 1931), which also uses a wrapped image. While "Babylon Revisited" has just four lines underneath the central image, "The Lively Lady" has eight.

64. Mary Elizabeth Leighton and Lisa Surridge, "The Plot Thickens: Toward a Narratological Analysis of Illustrated Serial Fiction in the 1860s," Victorian Studies 51, no. 1 (Autumn 2008): 67.

65. As noted earlier, Fitzgerald's mixture of nostalgia and critique is perhaps most evident in "Echoes of the Jazz Age," which appeared in November 1931.

66. Fitzgerald, "Babylon Revisited," 5.

67. Paynter, "Artists Who Wed," 9.

68. George Horace Lorimer, "Bargain Days," The Saturday Evening Post, February 28, 1931, 22.

69. Cohn, Creating America, 229.

70. Cohn, Creating America, 229.

71. Lorimer, "Bargain Days," 22.

72. Lorimer, "Bargain Days,", 4, 82.

73. For a more detailed outline of the publication schedule of "Babylon Revisited," see Daugherty and West, "Josephine Baker," 6. [End Page 372]

74. Careful readers may note that if 19 of 124 available pages neither contain nor face advertising, then it must follow that 85 percent of the pages do face or contain advertising. However, if the seven two-page advertisements are taken into account, then a slightly higher percent of the non-advertising content neither faces nor is on a page that contains advertising, which accounts for the 83 percent figure in the previous sentence.

75. Saturday Evening Post, February 21, 1931, 35, 37.

76. Saturday Evening Post, February 21, 1931, 60–61.

77. For the period immediately surrounding the publication of "Babylon Revisited," see January 31, February 14, February 28, and March 14, 1931.

78. Saturday Evening Post, February 21, 1931, 87.

79. Saturday Evening Post, February 21, 1931, 37, 57

80. Saturday Evening Post, February 21, 1931, 64–65, 73.

81. Saturday Evening Post, February 21, 1931, 111.

82. Joseph Hergesheimer, "Fine Apparel," Saturday Evening Post, February 14, 1931, 129.

83. Fitzgerald, "Babylon Revisited," 4.

84. Hergesheimer, "Fine Apparel," 126, 133.

85. Hergesheimer, "Fine Apparel,", 133.

86. Hergesheimer, "Fine Apparel," 134.

87. Isaac F. Marcosson, "Guaranteeing the Job," The Saturday Evening Post, February 28, 1931: 3.

88. Marcosson, "Guaranteeing the Job," 3.

89. For further discussion of this as regards Fitzgerald's career, see Mangum, "The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald," 59. The short stories published in magazines by authors such as William Faulkner and Thomas Wolfe have also benefited from more attention in recent years. See for example Donaldson, "Dismantling the Saturday Evening Post Reader" (1990), and more recently Holliday, "Thomas Wolfe's Short Fiction and the Culture of Magazine Publication" (2011).

90. Leighton and Surridge, "The Plot Thickens," 97.

91. Leighton and Surridge, "The Plot Thickens," 67.

92. Mangum, "The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald," 58–59.

93. Matthew J. Bruccoli, ed. F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: A Literary Reference (New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers, 2000), 188.

94. "Mr. Fitzgerald Grows Up," Milwaukee Journal (March 31, 1935), rpt. in Jackson Bryer, ed., F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Critical Reception (New York: Burt Franklin & Co., 1978), 345.

95. Mangum, "The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald," 58.

96. Mangum, "The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald," 59.

97. Such repositioning began during the Fitzgerald revival with the inclusion of the story in The Portable F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1945, in which John O'Hara introduces him as "our best novelist … and one of our finest writers of short stories" (xiv), and in The Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Malcolm Cowley in 1951.

98. For example, the database MAS Complete, accessed via EBSCOhost on many college and high school campuses, includes full-color PDFs of all of the covers, articles, and stories from the Post after 1931, but excludes all full-page advertisements. The reader is further distanced from the material context by the fact that articles and stories are listed separately and can only be viewed as discrete units, rather than within the context and original order in which the issue was arranged; i.e., a PDF of the issue in the order in which it was originally published is not available through this database and the original order of the contents could only be reconstructed through painstaking work. For a detailed consideration of this topic, see Sean Latham and Robert Scholes, "The Rise of Periodical Studies," PMLA 121, no. 2 (2006): 517–31. [End Page 373]

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