F. Scott Fitzgerald's familiar and often-quoted observation that “there are no second acts in American lives” (LT, 163; it had a certain vogue during Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings in 1999) is certainly belied by the history of Fitzgerald's own critical reputation. A celebrity and acclaimed literary figure at age twenty-three in 1920, when his first novel, This Side of Paradise, became a bestseller (it went through twelve printings in two years and sold 49,075 copies; Bruccoli, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur, 137) his short fiction eventually commanded a price of $4,000 per story from the Saturday Evening Post (he published nineteen at that rate between June 1929 and April 1931; Mangum, A Fortune Yet, 179). But at his death on December 21, 1940, he had not published a book in five years, his fee for a story had dipped to $250 (Mangum, A Fortune Yet, 181), and during the last year of his life, seventy-two copies of his nine books were sold (Maimon, “F. Scott Fitzgerald's Book Sales,” 166). His letters to his longtime editor Maxwell Perkins during 1939 and 1940 were filled with ideas on how to resuscitate what he felt was his forgotten name with the American reading public. Typically and ironically, the last two sentences he ever wrote to Perkins, on December 13, were “How much will you sell the plates of This Side of Paradise for? I think it has a chance for a new life” (Letters, 291). Another revealing anecdote is Budd Schulberg's admission that when, in early 1939, as a fledgling screenwriter he was asked to collaborate with Fitzgerald (whose fiction he admired greatly) on a film about the Dartmouth Winter Carnival, Schulberg thought Fitzgerald was dead (Bruccoli, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur, 454). In twenty years, Fitzgerald's career and reputation had literally gone from the top to virtual obscurity.