F. Scott Fitzgerald, 70 years dead, will have a new book this spring

F. Scott Fitzgerald
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald poses for a portrait in the 1920s.
Associated Press file

St. Paul's literary son, F. Scott Fitzgerald, will entertain audiences once more this spring.

Seventy-seven years after Fitzgerald died of a heart attack, a new collection of his previously unpublished short stories will hit bookshelves.

Scheduled for release in April from Scribner, the collection, "I'd Die For You," contains stories that confront "controversial topics, depicting young men and women who actually spoke and thought more as young men and women did, without censorship," according to the publisher.

The question on everyone's mind: Where have these stories been for seven decades?

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There's no Harper-Lee-lost-in-a-vault tale, here. Some of the stories were once accepted by magazines for publication, but never printed. Others, Scribner notes, "could not be sold because their subject matter or style departed from what editors expected of Fitzgerald in the 1930s."

Fitzgerald, best known for "The Great Gatsby" and "Tender is the Night," reportedly refused to allow edits to these controversial stories, Scribner noted: "Rather than permit changes and sanitizing by his contemporary editors, Fitzgerald preferred to let his work remain unpublished, even at a time when he was in great need of money and review attention."

Now the stories will finally receive an audience, revealing a side of Fitzgerald that readers haven't encountered before.

The title, "I'd Die For You," comes from the time Fitzgerald and wife Zelda spent in North Carolina in the mid-1930s, battling health issues. Scott spent two summers in Asheville, recovering from tuberculosis. Zelda was hospitalized nearby, in the psychiatric unit at Highland Hospital. Scott recovered, but died of a heart attack in Los Angeles in 1940. Zelda died in Asheville in 1948, when the hospital ward she was in caught fire.

This isn't the first time a rare Fitzgerald story has surfaced recently: Last year, The Strand Magazine published "Temperature," a story from 1939 that had been presumed lost.

Andrew Gulli, the managing editor of The Strand, found that story while looking through the archives at Princeton, which acquired Fitzgerald's drafts and correspondence after his death.

What archives these new stories have been hiding in isn't yet clear, but the trend of long-lost publishing rolls on. Beatrix Potter just had a new book last week, and Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" buoyed the entire publishing industry last year.

Any bets on who will be next? Will Hemingway's suitcase finally surface? Did "Frankenstein" have an unpublished sequel?

No doubt there are editorial assistants checking on that right now.