ARUN RATH, HOST:
Andrew Gulli edits The Strand, a magazine of mystery fiction. And he's a pretty amazing sleuth himself. Gulli's managed to track down unpublished work by some of our most celebrated writers - Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams, Dashiell Hemet. I spoke with Gulli last fall when he just found a John Steinbeck story. On his way out, he mentioned he was hot on the trail of an unknown F. Scott Fitzgerald piece. And now he's found it. The story is called "Temperature," and Gulli says it has something for everyone.
ANDREW GULLI: There's some madcap comedy, some Wodehousian dialogue, some romance, even a little bit of some tragedy in it.
RATH: An odd but engrossing tale of a traveler returned from a distant land with a mystery illness that forces him to face his own mortality. Gulli knew he'd unearthed a treasure.
GULLI: I just was struck by how funny, how interesting it was. And I said to myself I really have to have this story. And I spoke with the F. Scott Fitzgerald estate and the Harold Ober Agency, and they were just wonderful people to deal with, as well as the library where I found it at Princeton University.
RATH: So tell us about that. How did you find it in that library?
GULLI: It was a tough hunt because there were a lot of things that I had asked for. There was an interesting fragment of his story, and I was saying to myself oh my God, I'm so excited about this - and it turned out that he had not finished it. For obvious reasons, you can't come back and say please, will you just complete this story for me? But this one was finished. And it took some research, but I looked through some archives, through some bibliographies by Fitzgerald scholars, and that indeed confirmed that the story was never published before.
RATH: So this manuscript that you have, is this - is it a draft or a final version or something in between?
GULLI: Well, the thing is, I can tell you definitely that it's a final version because I'm the person who had to go through all these longhand, sloppily-written manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald with a million corrections and just - you sort of see the mind of the writer, how he would just scratch out whole pages and then make notes in margins. But this manuscript was very well-written, the typescript is very clean. There are maybe a couple of spelling errors that were very minor. So this looked like it was ready for prime time.
RATH: Why wouldn't Fitzgerald have published this?
GULLI: The manuscript is dated July 7, 1939. And Fitzgerald had sent a letter to his agent a week later in which he had asked to stop being represented by Harold Ober because Ober was tired of advancing Fitzgerald loans in lieu of work that had not been delivered to him. So that might have been one of the reasons why he had not found a home for it.
RATH: So you've found a Steinbeck, a Fitzgerald and others. What do you have next? Anything you can tell us about?
GULLI: Well, I have something by a very, very famous writer of detective stories. And as you can imagine, not all - not all representatives of authors are as wonderful as the F. Scott Fitzgerald estate. So it's going to take some - it's going to take some pressure to try to have this short story appear in The Strand Magazine. But I never quit.
RATH: That's Andrew Gulli. He found the unpublished manuscript of the Fitzgerald story "Temperature," which appears in this month's issue of The Strand Magazine." Andrew, thanks very much.
GULLI: Thanks a lot, Arun.
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