The Flapper And The Philosopher

Flappers and Philosophers was the first collection of short stories written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1920. It includes eight stories. Illustration by W. E. Hill.

 
 

W. E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962) was an enormously popular illustrator during the first half of the twentieth century. He drew for Life and Puck and had his own weekly page of illustrations, titled Among Us Mortals, in the Sunday New York Tribune. He also drew the dust jacket art for the first editions of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise (1920)

 
 

Norman Rockwell’s illustration for the Saturday Evening Post containing Bernice Bobs Her Hair. The issue from May, 1920 marked the first time Fitzgerald’s name appeared on the cover.

 
 

As a gesture of gratefulness, in the First Chapter of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald mentioned the weekly magazine founded by Benjamin Franklin:

“Tom and Miss Baker sat at either end of the long couch and she read aloud to him from the Saturday Evening Post. — the words, murmurous and uninflected, running together in a soothing tune. The lamp-light, bright on his boots and dull on the autumn-leaf yellow of her hair, glinted along the paper as she turned a page with a flutter of slender muscles in her arms.

When we came in she held us silent for a moment with a lifted hand.

“To be continued,” she said, tossing the magazine on the table, “in our very next issue.”

 
 

The short story Bernice Bobs Her Hair was based on letters Fitzgerald sent to his younger sister, Annabel, advising her on how to be more attractive to young men. The original text was much longer, but Fitzgerald cut nearly 3000 words and changed the ending to make the story more attractive to publishers. The name of the protagonist echoes that of Berenice, whose sacrifice of her golden tresses resulted in the victory of her husband in war, and the honor given to her by the gods. Her tresses were placed into the heavens as the Constellation Coma Berenices.

 
 

Queen Berenice II of Egypt

 
 

During her husband’s absence on an expedition to Syria, she dedicated her hair to Aphrodite for his safe return, and placed it in the temple of the goddess at Zephyrium. The hair having by some unknown means disappeared, Conon of Samos explained the phenomenon in courtly phrase, by saying that it had been carried to the heavens and placed among the stars. This story is parodied in Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock.

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