Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. (1896 - 1940).
L i f e
- his father was from a poor, though socially prominent family x his mother was born into ‘new money’
- fell in love with Zelda, started to work at his novel This Side of Paradise to win financial success to persuade Zelda to marry him
- after marriage led a glamorous, extravagant, and emotionally stormy life style
- a two-year extended Europe trip: met Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound, began a tense competitive friendship with Ernest Hemingway
- experienced an abrupt reversal of fortune: the deepening of the Great Depression, his deepening debts and alcoholism, and Zelda’s mental breakdown and placement to a mental home
- his life is symbolic of the 1920s decade = a youthful enthusiasm and euphoria followed by tension, trauma, and death
W o r k
- sensitiveness to social class, a deep ambivalence toward both money and social status
- a divided consciousness: simultaneously attracted x repulsed, enchanted x offended by sexual love and great wealth
- a new concept an archetypical American hero: a poor man gains money x but: not happiness => money does not equal to happiness
Flappers and Philosophers (1920), Tales of the Jazz Age (1922), All the Sad Young Men (1926):
- succesful collections of short stories
- coined the word ‘flapper’ = a challenging, self-confident, and educated woman
This Side of Paradise (1920):
- an autobiographical novel about a young Princeton college student and his loves
The Beautiful and the Damned (1922):
- a young couple’s moral and sexual dissolution in parties, alcohol, and drugs
The Great Gatsby (1925):
- his finest novel about his favourite themes of love and money
- language: rich in vocabulary, original in figures of speech, and quick one sentence descriptions
- setting: the new money West Egg (Gatsby) x the old money East Egg
- theme: a poor man gains money x but: not happiness
Tender is the Night (1934):
- the title: from John Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale”
- an alcoholic American psychiatrist disastrously marries one of his wealthy patients, modelled after Zelda
The Last Tycoon (unfinished):
- concerned with a self-made Hollywood producer
(Photo: Carl Van Vechten. 1937. Source: Wikipedia).
AuthorFrancis Scott (Key) Fitzgerald. (1896 - 1940). American.
WorkNovelist. Short story writer. Author of The Great Gatsby (1925).
GenresModern fiction. Jazz Age. Lost Generation.
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"A beautiful vacuum filled with wealthy monogamists, all powerful and members of the best families all drinking themselves to death".
Ernest Hemingway describes Fitzgerald's version of heaven.