Liz asked:

Any thoughts on which edition I should take a crack at? The original 1934 edition or the version revised by Malcolm Cowley?

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Peter Ellis Don't touch the rewrite. The original fragmented chronology and how that plays with the audience's point of view and perception of character and plot is one of the best things about this book.
Spencer Matthew Bruccoli in "Some Sort of Epic Grandeur" makes the case that though Crowley's 1951 version was received with "a flurry of attention", it was soon discontinued by Scribners. Merely changing the chapter order was not enough. Fitzgerald built in many links and connections that became obscured with the changed narrative plan. Bruccoli holds that the original 1934 version has been vindicated by reader preference, in spite of its flaws. I have three copies of "Tender", and they're all the 1934 version. I think the 1951 version might be hard to find.
Greg Sometimes chronlogical versions work, like the New International Version of the Christian Bible, as pulling separate narratives together makes for stronger stories. But I like Fitzgerald's non chronological take.
Seattle Al The straight chronological version turns the novel into Dick's story, whereas starting on the beach makes the novel more Nicole's story. What I mean is that our sympathies rest more heavily with Dick when the arc of the novel is from his promise of brilliance to brilliance to mediocre obscurity. Nicole's story arc is one of rehabilitation. For each there is sorrow for the loss of their magical love, but Dick's fate is the sadder, so in that sense I think the straight chronological version is better. That said, the other beginning (on the beach) is a powerful opening.
Alex Brown I read the 1934 version unaware of Malcolm Cowley's revision. I found the novel disjointed because of the flashbacks. Looking up its reception history, I found that critics believed this to be one of the greatest detractors from the narrative. Cowley rewrote the narrative in chronological order to remedy this.
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