Thomas Heise explores the famous author’s depression and “Thank You for the Light,” a short story rejected by the New Yorker in 1936 as “altogether out of the question”:
With a penchant for casting his own experience as a particularly grandiose American brand of success and tragedy and with a proclivity for scripting the drama of the inner life in the language of economics, Fitzgerald declared elsewhere in 1936 that his happiness through the Jazz Age was as “unnatural as the Boom . . . and my recent experience parallels the wave of despair that swept the nation when the Boom was over.” In placing “Thank You” in the reject pile, the editors did not voice their concerns specifically in these national terms, but something like the outsized stakes involved in managing Fitzgerald’s reputation appeared to be on their minds. Calling the story “really too fantastic,” which is to say, ‘odd,’ they concluded, “It seems to us so curious and so unlike the kind of thing we associate with him.”
I quite enjoyed this essay—I’ve never been a tremendous fan of Fitzgerald, but it is perennially interesting to read about how precociously successful authors deal with (or don’t deal with) that success later in their careers.