An American dream
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
Has there ever been a more haunting book cover than this? F Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age tale of decadence, glamour and emotional heartache was the author’s third novel, following This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned. The first edition was published in April 1925 by Charles Scribner’s Sons of New York and featured an evocative dust-jacket design by artist Francis Cugat, now held to be one of the greatest dust-jacket designs in the history of 20th- century American literature. Within the surreal image of disembodied eyes and mouth over a Coney Island scene, two reclining naked women are reflected in the irises. Though over 18,000 copies of this book were printed in the first edition, finding one still paired with its dust jacket is rare. Hence the incredible price paid – £62,000 – when this example came up for sale at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury in 2012 as part of the collection of film and theatre critic Clive Hirschhorn.