Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Peice of mind

From the table of contents to F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tales of the Jazz Age:

This story was inspired by a remark of Mark Twain’s to the effect that it was a pity that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst part at the end. By trying the experiment upon only one man in a perfectly normal world I have scarcely given his idea a fair trial. Several weeks after completing it, I discovered an almost identical plot in Samuel Butler’s “Note-books.”
The story was published in “Collier’s” last summer and provoked this startling letter from an anonymous admirer in Cincinnati:

I have read the story Benjamin Button in Colliers and I wish to say that as a short story writer you would make a good lunatic I have seen many peices [sic] of cheese in my life but of all the peices [sic ] of cheese I have ever seen you are the biggest piece. I hate to waste a peice [sic ] of stationary [sic ] on you but I will.”

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