Reflections on F. Scott Fitzgerald

F_Scott_Fitzgerald_1921.jpg

"Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

The works of F. Scott Fitzgerald are enjoying a renaissance of sorts. With the updated film of The Great Gatsby being released, now is a great time to take a peek at some other celebrated stories from the gifted but troubled author.

Fitzgerald is truly a writer of the Jazz Age (a term he created himself) in both literal and literary contexts. His best work is from the Roaring 1920's when flappers danced the night way and people were living high on the hog.

Named after his famous cousin Francis Scott Key (who penned The Star-Spangled Banner), Fitzgerald attended Princeton University where, due to poor grades and constant boozing, he never graduated. He joined the Army with hopes of serving overseas during WWI. The war ended without needing the soppy writer and along with Hemingway and T.S. Eliot, the Lost Generation was born.

"All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

talesofjazz.jpgFitzgerald routinely lived well beyond his means, so in order to pay the bills he wrote short stories for magazines and other publications. His most celebrated story collection is probably Flappers and Philosophers (1920). My favorite short story anthology is Tales of the Jazz Age (1922). Featuring eleven stories broken up into three sections roughly by subject matter, this compilation includes The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, later made into a film starring Brad Pitt that shares little resemblance to this story besides the title and the anti-aging process. Skip the film and read this instead! The Diamond as Big as the Ritz is another standout from this collection. A few stories from his Princeton days are also featured here.

beautifuldamned.jpgBesides The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald published 4 other novels. My favorite is probably This Side of Paradise (1920), but another, often overlooked work is The Beautiful and Damned (1922). Almost semi-autobiographical in theme and plot, the story revolves around New York socialite Anthony Patch and his fights with alcoholism, his wife and the society he circulates within. Inner demons abound and Fitzgerald certainly knew around personal conflict. Despite the downer of a story, the lavish language and rich character development create a world of 1920's grandeur that is romantic, gaudy and tragic.

The joy of reading Fitzgerald, in my opinion, is his choice of words that are lyrical but powerful; poetic but sharp; flowery but brutal. Beautiful but seriously damaged. Almost perfect.

"I'm a romantic; a sentimental person thinks things will last, a romantic person hopes against hope that they won't." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Submitted by Dan@Central

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This page contains a single entry by Tim published on May 2, 2013 11:05 AM.

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