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F. Scott Fitzgerald's
"Babylon Revisited":
A Long Expostulation and Explanation

Thomas A. Larson, M.A.

Contents and Introduction

An Annotated Bibliography
of the Texts and Textual Studies of "Babylon Revisited"

Bibliographies for other areas of study concerning "Babylon Revisited" are listed below:

Chapter 1 Annotated Bibliography - Click here for a bibliography concerning the biographical origins of "Babylon Revisited."
Chapter 3 Annotated Bibliography - Click here for a bibliography concerning the popular and critical reception of "Babylon Revisited."
Chapter 4 Annotated Bibliography - Click here for a bibliography concerning "Babylon Revisited" and Hollywood.

The Texts of "Babylon Revisited"

Bruccoli, Matthew J. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Descriptive Bibliography. Rev. ed. Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1987.

Bruccoli's volume is the foremost bibliography of Fitzgerald's primary works, including "Babylon Revisited." The only anthology of Fitzgerald's stories in which "Babylon Revisited" appears that is not listed in Bruccoli's bibliography is Bruccoli's own subsequent 1989 edition of The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The Texts of "Babylon Revisited"
The Saturday Evening Post 203 (21 February 1931): 3-5, 82-84.

"Babylon Revisited" made its initial appearance here.

Taps at Reveille. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935. 382-407. 2nd Edition, 1960. 321-341.

Fitzgerald revised the text of "Babylon Revisited" considerably for inclusion in this collection of his stories. This is the text generally used by critics and anthologists. Textual problems have been noted, although some of these (not to mention additional errata) persist in later publications of the story.

The following titles are other Fitzgerald collections containing the Taps at Reveille version of "Babylon Revisited." (The list is limited to those volumes published in the United States and England.)

The collections are listed in chronological order. In addition to collections limited to Fitzgerald's works, "Babylon Revisited" has been printed in numerous other anthologies of short stories. One should always ascertain the reliability of the text by noting the textual variations.

The Portable F. Scott Fitzgerald. Selected by Dorothy Parker. New York: The Viking Press, 1945. 809-835.

"The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" and Other Stories. New York: Editions for the Armed Services, 1946. 55-78.

Borrowed Time. Selected by Alan and Jennifer Ross. London: The Grey Walls Press, 1951. 337-366.

The Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Selected by Malcolm Cowley. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1951. 385-402.

"Babylon Revisited" and Other Stories. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1960. 210-230. Reprint. New York: Macmillan Scribner Classic, 1988. 210-230.

The Bodley Head Fitzgerald. Vol. IV. London: Bodley Head, 1961. 419-443.

The Fitzgerald Reader. Ed. Arthur Mizener. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963. 302-322.

"The Crack-Up" with Other Pieces and Stories. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1965. Reprinted 1971. 110-134.

The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A New Collection. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1989. 616-633.

This collection contains the most reliable text of "Babylon Revisited" thus far, though some questions remain.

The Typescript
"Babylon Revisited." F. Scott Fitzgerald Manuscripts. Vol. VI: The Vegetable, Stories, and Articles, Part 2. Eds. Matthew J. Bruccoli et al. New York: Garland, 1991. 417-469. Bibliographic note in Vol. VI, Pt. 1. xvi.

This is a facsimile of a surviving draft of "Babylon Revisited." Fitzgerald's handwritten revisions appear on the typescript.

Fitzgerald's Own Textual References
to "Babylon Revisited."

Fitzgerald left few references concerning the text of "Babylon Revisited" as it appeared in Taps at Reveille. In fact most references that may be applied to "Babylon Revisited" are general comments about Taps at Reveille itself.

The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald*
The abbreviated titles at left are used for the itemizing of letters found immediately below.

Correspondence Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Eds. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Margaret M. Duggan. New York: Random House, 1980.
Scott/Max Dear Scott/Dear Max: The Fitzgerald-Perkins Correspondence. Eds. John Kuehl and Jackson R. Bryer. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971.
Life in Letters F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994.
Letters The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ed. Andrew Turnbull. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.

* = A listing of all published volumes of Fitzgerald's letters is found in Chapter 1's annotated bibliography.

Letters with textual ties to "Babylon Revisited"
Because some letters are printed in more than one volume, individual letters are referenced below, chronologically, followed by the volumes in which they appear. Letters with biographical or filmscript ties to "Babylon Revisited" are listed in their appropriate chapters.

Date Recipient Tie to "Babylon Revisited" Publication
May 17, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Stories and Tender Is the Night Scott/Max 199-200
June 26, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Checking stories for repetition with Tender Letters 249-250
Scott/Max 202
Aug. 17, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Cleaning up proofs for Taps Scott/Max 204-205
Aug. 20, 1934 F. Scott Fitzgerald
from Maxwell Perkins
Timing of release date for Taps, repetition with Tender Scott/Max 205-206
Aug. 23, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Fitzgerald does not want a rush job Scott/Max 206-207
Aug. 24, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Tender repetitions and the need to revise stories from their current form Letters 251-252
Scott/Max 207
Nov. 1, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Work on stories Scott/Max 209
Nov. 8, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Fitzgerald's schedule for revising stories Letters 253-255
Scott/Max 210-211
Life in Letters 271-273
Nov. 10, 1934 Maxwell Perkins repetition in Tender Scott/Max 211
Nov. 22,1934 Mrs. Richard (Ceci) Taylor Working on proofs of Taps Correspondence 392-393
Nov. 26, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Selecting stories for Taps at Reveille Letters 255-256
Dec. 3, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Asks of schedule for Taps Correspondence 394-395
Dec. 17, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Formation of Taps Correspondence 395-396
Scott/Max 214-215
Dec. 18, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Fitzgerald's problem with proofreader Letters 257-258
Scott/Max 215-216
Dec. 26, 1934 Maxwell Perkins Suppress forward to Taps Correspondence 396
Feb. 12, 1935 Maxwell Perkins Title of Taps Correspondence 400
Feb. 18, 1935 F. Scott Fitzgerald from Maxwell Perkins Title of Taps Scott/Max 216-217
Mar. 8, 1935 Lois Moran Taps and Tender Correspondence 403-404
Mar. 9, 1935 Maxwell Perkins Jacket on Taps Letters 259-260
Scott/Max 217-218
Apr. 15, 1935 Maxwell Perkins Reference to paragraph on p. 384 in Taps (in "Babylon") Letters 261-262
Scott/Max 219-220*

* = Ironically Dear Scott/Dear Max deletes the paragraph about the reference to the paragraph, which was about a paragraph in "Babylon Revisited" not being deleted by the printers.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Ledger: A Facsimile. Introduction by Matthew J. Bruccoli. Washington, D. C.: NCR/Microcard Editions, 1972.

An unnumbered page titled "1935" found in the appendix simply notes "working on collection" (January).

"The Note-Books." The Crack-Up. Ed. Edmund Wilson. New York: New Directions Paperbook, 1956. The Crack-Up was first published in 1945. 91-242.

This initial presentation of the Notebooks was superseded by the 1978 volume edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli (see ensuing note).

The Notebooks of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich/Bruccoli Clark, 1978.

The Notebooks are what their name implies; they contain a little bit of everything, with the outward purpose being that the jottings might find their way into a novel someday. Three passages from "Babylon Revisited" remain in the Notebooks: "It was not an American bar any more ..." (65 n458), "Family quarrels are bitter ..." (192 n1261), and "Josephine Baker's chocolate arabesques" (222 n1421).

Buttitta, Tony. The Lost Summer: A Personal Memoir of F. Scott Fitzgerald. N.p.: Sceptre, 1987. First published as After the Good Gay Times in 1974.

A bookseller in Asheville, North Carolina, Tony Buttitta recalls the summer of 1935, a summer Fitzgerald spent in Asheville. Buttitta had a copy of Taps at Reveille in which Fitzgerald marked the paragraph on page 384 in Taps as "Used in Tender" (161). Buttitta goes on to recount a conversation with Fitzgerald in which Fitzgerald relates how the paragraph came to remain in Taps and that he "asked Max [Perkins] to make sure it would be corrected in future printings" (161).

Textual Studies of "Babylon Revisited"

Bloom, Harold. Introduction. Modern Critical Views: F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1985. 1-5.

Bloom briefly mentions the key repetition between "Babylon Revisited" and Tender Is the Night in which both Charlie Wales and Dick Diver are described as "not young any more, with a lot of nice thoughts and dreams to have by himself," describing the repeated passage as "A curious self-appropriation, or perhaps indeliberate self-repetition" (4). Bloom, however, misquotes the line, substituting "about" for "by."

Bruccoli, Matthew J. The Composition of Tender Is the Night: A Study of the Manuscripts. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1963.

Bruccoli mistakenly states that "Babylon Revisited" "has no specific links with Tender Is the Night" (73).

Griffith, Richard R. "A Note on Fitzgerald's 'Babylon Revisited.' " American Literature 35 (May 1963): 236-239.

This essay was one of the earliest studies to question the puzzling route taken by Charlie Wales after leaving the Ritz bar. Griffith concludes that the new paragraph that Fitzgerald wrote for the revision of "Babylon Revisited" for Taps at Reveille had been intended to replace the last line of the paragraph previous to it. The argument becomes moot with existing evidence demonstrating that Fitzgerald had intended the new paragraph to replace the entire previous paragraph.

Le Vot, André. "Fitzgerald in Paris." Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual 5 (1973): 49-68.

Le Vot was the first to uncover Fitzgerald's letter to Maxwell Perkins in which Fitzgerald writes of the paragraph on page 384 in Taps at Reveille that the proofreaders slipped with and the text ended up with both the original paragraph and the new paragraph Fitzgerald wrote to replace it.

Lehan, Richard D. "Tender Is the Night." Tender Is the Night: Essays in Criticism. Ed. Marvin J. LaHood. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1969. "Babylon Revisited" treated on pp. 79-81. Essay excerpted from Lehan's F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Craft of Fiction. Carbondale and Evansville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1967.

Lehan writes that "Babylon Revisited" "anticipates Tender Is the Night" (79), evidence of which is found in two passages from "Babylon" used in Tender. "Like Dick Diver, Charles Wales has misspent the past, lived recklessly in Paris during the twenties, and is a pathetic figure as the story opens" (80). "Like Dick Diver, Charles stands trapped in time--between the unfulfilled past and the hopeless future" (81).

Lindfors, Bernth. "Paris Revisited." Fitzgerald Newsletter No. 16 (Winter 1962): 4. Rpt. in Fitzgerald Newsletter. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. Washington, D.C.: NCR/Microcard Editions, 1969. 77-78.

Lindfors was the first to write of Charlie Wales's puzzling route through the streets of Paris. He concludes by asking "Can Charlie have been so reluctant to meet Lincoln and Marian Peters or did F[itzgerald] bungle his geography?" Lindfors raised a question; later scholars found an answer: Fitzgerald had intended replacing a paragraph with a new one written for the revision of "Babylon Revisited"; instead, both were included.

McCollum, Kenneth. " 'Babylon Revisited' Revisited." Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual 3 (1971): 314-316.

In this questionable essay, McCollum takes issue with Fitzgerald's logic and chronology in the writing of "Babylon Revisited."

Murphy, Garry N. and William C. Slattery. "The Flawed Text of 'Babylon Revisited': A Challenge to Editors, A Warning to Readers." Studies in Short Fiction 18 (Summer 1981): 315-18.

Murphy and Slattery present a strong argument which leads to the conclusion that the paragraph containing a description of Paris that was later used by Fitzgerald in Tender Is the Night should be removed from the text. The authors refer to more than eighty changes in the text of "Babylon Revisited" from Fitzgerald's revision of the story for inclusion in Taps at Reveille. A brief paragraph explicating the changes states the revisions "all work in concert to give the story more depth and solidity" (317). Murphy and Slattery explain the purpose of Fitzgerald's attempt to avoid repetition with Tender Is the Night and present the excerpt from Fitzgerald's letter to Sam Perkins that definitely states Fitzgerald's stand on the matter. This article was a culmination of previous scholarship, written in an attempt to assure that future editions of "Babylon Revisited" would correct the text.

Way, Brian. F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Art of Social Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980.

Way briefly states that Fitzgerald "ruthlessly pillaged 'The Rough Crossing,' 'Babylon Revisited,' and 'The Swimmers' for atmospheric and descriptive passages which he would incorporate into the novel [Tender Is the Night]" (139).

White, William. "The Text of 'Babylon Revisited.' " Fitzgerald Newsletter No. 28 (Winter 1965): 4-7. Rpt. in Fitzgerald Newsletter. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. Washington, D.C.: NCR/Microcard Editions, 1969. 169-171.

This essay was superseded by White's own subsequent article "Two Versions of "Babylon Revisited." See ensuing note.

----------. "Two Versions of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'Babylon Revisited': A Textual and Bibliographical Study." The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 60 (Fourth Quarter 1966): 439-52.

White presents a history of the printings of "Babylon Revisited," and he lists the variations between the Post and Taps at Reveille versions, and comments on variations and errata found in Taps at Reveille and other texts. Of the revision, White states that the story "was considerably sharpened and every word made to count more" (449). White missed seven variations between the two versions, which follow*:

The Saturday Evening Post Taps at Reveille
He had felt the stilless (3:1:42-43) He felt the stillness (382:18-19)
the meager contents (4:3:33) the meagre contents (387:30)
I never let anything (82:1:47) we never let anything (394:16)
according to my rules (84:1:20) according to any rules (402:10-11)
no answer to this, and (84:1:30) no answer to this and (402:15)
out of that rut (84:1:56) out of his rut (402:32)
that that was just money (84:3:80) that this was just money (407:2)

* = Bold print has been used to highlight the differences between the texts. The citations for the Post include page, column, and line (column and line counts do not include any columns or lines not containing text of "Babylon Revisited"); the citations for Taps include page and line number.

The following four articles concern the particular question of which text of "Babylon Revisited" represents Fitzgerald's last revision. The appendix contains an in-depth discussion of this matter. Notes are arranged chronologically.

North, Paul H., Jr. "Was There Gold in the World War II Duffle Bag?" American Book Collector 13 (Summer 1963): 35-36.

North sparked the issue by stating that the text of "Babylon Revisited" as it appears in the Armed Services edition "was taken from the final, revised version first printed in 1945, and not from various 1931 or 1935 versions" (36).

Bruccoli, Matthew J. "Misinformation." Fitzgerald Newsletter No. 24 (Winter 1964): 6. Rpt. in Fitzgerald Newsletter. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. Washington, D.C.: NCR/Microcard Editions, 1969. 139.

Bruccoli called North's statement "nonsense," indicating no 1945 final, revised version exists.

North, Paul H., Jr., "Another Note on the ASE." American Book Collector 15 (November 1964): 25.

North counters Bruccoli by listing variations that appeared in the 1945 The Portable F. Scott Fitzgerald, but he fails to prove Fitzgerald was responsible for these variations.

White, William. "Mr. North, Mr. Bruccoli, and Mr. Fitzgerald." American Book Collector 15 (November 1964): 25-26.

White, somewhat as mediator, addresses the issue, presents textual variations, and concludes that North's statement referring to the text of "Babylon Revisited" in The Portable F. Scott Fitzgerald as a "final, revised version" is "a pedantic overstatement" (26).

Chapter 2 - introduction to the essay on the texts of "Babylon Revisited."
Part One - of the Chapter 2 essay.
Part Two - of the Chapter 2 essay.

An Annotated Bibliography of the Texts and Textual Studies of "Babylon Revisited"

© 1995, 1998-2000
Tom Larson

F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Babylon Revisited":
A Long Expostulation and Explanation:

Contents and Introduction