Writing to Zelda in March 1940, Fitzgerald knew the balance sheet made bleak reading: ‘Nothing has developed here. I write these “Pat Hobby” stories — and wait. I have a new idea now — a comedy series which will get me back into the big magazines — but my God I am a forgotten man’: Gatsby had to be taken out of the Modern Library because it didn’t sell, which was a blow’ (Life in Letters 439). With ‘absolutely no offers in many months’ (Life in Letters 441) from the Hollywood studios, his letters to Zelda in his last year of life are often heartbreaking studies in attrition, as, weakened by illness and continuing financial distress, he brooded over how writing stories and film scripts would make ends meet for himself, his wife, and daughter Scottie, then a student at Vassar College. The fiscal logic was stark. As he wrote to Zelda, ‘The main thing is not to run up bills or wire me for extra funds. There simply aren’t any and as you can imagine I am deeply in debt to the government and everyone else’ (Lift in Letters 442).
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