F. Scott Fitzgerald: Wikis


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F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald
photographed by Carl van Vechten in 1937
Born Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald
September 24, 1896(1896-09-24)
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Died December 21, 1940 (aged 44)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Occupation novelist, short story writer, poet
Nationality American
Period 1920–1940
Genres Modernism
Literary movement Lost Generation

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigm writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined himself. He is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century's greatest writers. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost Generation" of the Twenties. He finished four novels, This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender Is the Night and his most famous, the celebrated classic, The Great Gatsby. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories that treat themes of youth and promise along with despair and age.


Life and career

Early years

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota to an Irish upper middle class Roman Catholic family, Fitzgerald was named after his famous second cousin, three times removed, Francis Scott Key,[1] but was referred to as "Scott". He was also named after his deceased sister Louise Scott,[2] one of two sisters who died shortly before his birth. He spent 1898–1901 in Syracuse and 1903–1908 in Buffalo, New York, where he attended Nardin Academy.[3] When his father was fired at Procter & Gamble, the family returned to Minnesota, where Fitzgerald attended St. Paul Academy in St. Paul from 1908–1911. His first literary effort, a detective story, was published in a school newspaper when he was 12. When he was 16, he was expelled from St. Paul Academy for neglecting his studies. He attended Newman School, a prep school in Hackensack, New Jersey, in 1911–1912, and entered Princeton University in 1913 as a member of the Class of 1917. There he became friends with future critics and writers Edmund Wilson (Class of 1916) and John Peale Bishop (Class of 1917), and wrote for the Princeton Triangle Club. His absorption in the Triangle—a kind of musical-comedy society—led to his submission of a novel to Charles Scribner's Sons where the editor praised the writing but ultimately rejected the book. He was a member of the University Cottage Club, which still displays Fitzgerald's desk and writing materials in its library. A poor student, Fitzgerald left Princeton to enlist in the US Army during World War I; however, the war ended shortly after Fitzgerald's enlistment.[4]

Zelda Fitzgerald

While at Camp Sheridan, Fitzgerald met Zelda Sayre (1900–1948), the "golden girl", in Fitzgerald's words, of Montgomery, Alabama youth society. The two were engaged in 1919, and Fitzgerald moved into an apartment at 1935 Lexington Avenue in New York City to try to lay a foundation for his life with Zelda. Working at an advertising firm and writing short stories, he was unable to convince Zelda that he would be able to support her, leading her to break off the engagement.

Scott returned to his parents' house at 599 Summit Avenue, on Cathedral Hill, in St. Paul, to revise The Romantic Egoist. Recast as This Side of Paradise, about the post-WWI flapper generation, it was accepted by Scribner's in the fall of 1919, and Zelda and Scott resumed their engagement. The novel was published on March 26, 1920, and became one of the most popular books of the year. Scott and Zelda were married in New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. Their only child, Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald, was born on October 26, 1921.

"The Jazz Age"

F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1921

The 1920s proved the most influential decade of Fitzgerald's development. The Great Gatsby, considered his masterpiece, was published in 1925. Fitzgerald made several excursions to Europe, notably Paris and the French Riviera, and became friends with many members of the American expatriate community in Paris, notably Ernest Hemingway.

Fitzgerald’s friendship with Hemingway was quite vigorous, as many of Fitzgerald’s relationships would prove to be. Hemingway did not get on well with Zelda. In addition to describing her as "insane" he claimed that she “encouraged her husband to drink so as to distract Scott from his ‘real’ work on his novel,"[5] [6] the other work being the short stories he sold to magazines. This “whoring”, as Fitzgerald, and subsequently Hemingway, called these sales, was a sore point in the authors’ friendship. Fitzgerald claimed that he would first write his stories in an authentic manner but then put in “twists that made them into saleable magazine stories.”[6]

Fitzgerald's marriage was mixed—both destructive and constructive. Fitzgerald drew largely upon his wife's intense and flamboyant personality in his writings, at times quoting direct passages from her letters and personal diaries in his work. Zelda made mention of this in a 1922 mock review in the New York Tribune, saying that "[i]t seems to me that on one page I recognized a portion of an old diary of mine which mysteriously disappeared shortly after my marriage, and also scraps of letters which, though considerably edited, sound to me vaguely familiar. In fact, Mr. Fitzgerald—I believe that is how he spells his name—seems to believe that plagiarism begins at home" (Zelda Fitzgerald: The Collected Writings, 388). But the impact of Zelda's personality on his work and life is often overstated, as much of his earliest writings reflect the personality of a first love, Ginevra King. In fact, the character of Daisy as much represents his inability to cultivate his relationship with King as it does the ever-present fact of Zelda. (Although Gatsby's economic failure to immediately wed Daisy in 1917, with an eventual return in financial triumph, does closely mirror Fitzgerald's own experiences with his future wife.)

Fitzgerald wrote frequently for The Saturday Evening Post. This issue from May 1, 1920, containing the short story "Bernice Bobs Her Hair", was the first with Fitzgerald's name on the cover.

Although Fitzgerald's passion lay in writing novels, only his first novel sold well enough to support the opulent lifestyle that he and Zelda adopted as New York celebrities. As did most professional authors at the time, Fitzgerald supplemented his income by writing short stories for such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's Weekly, and Esquire, and sold movie rights of his stories and novels to Hollywood studios. Many of these stories act as testing grounds for his novels. For example, "Absolution" was intended as an earlier chapter in The Great Gatsby. Because of this lifestyle, as well as the bills from Zelda's medical care when they came, Fitzgerald was constantly in financial trouble and often required loans from his literary agent, Harold Ober, and his editor at Scribner's, Maxwell Perkins. When Ober decided not to continue advancing Fitzgerald, the author severed ties with his longtime friend and agent. (Fitzgerald offered a good-hearted and apologetic tribute to this support in the late short story "Financing Finnegan.")

Fitzgerald began working on his fourth novel during the late 1920s but was sidetracked by financial difficulties that necessitated his writing commercial short stories, and by the schizophrenia that struck Zelda in 1930. Her emotional health remained fragile for the rest of her life. In 1932, she was hospitalized in Baltimore, Maryland. Scott rented the "La Paix" estate in the suburb of Towson, Maryland to work on his latest book, the story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychiatrist who falls in love with and marries Nicole Warren, one of his patients. The book went through many versions, the first of which was to be a story of matricide. Some critics have seen the book as a thinly-veiled autobiographical novel recounting Fitzgerald's problems with his wife, the corrosive effects of wealth and a decadent lifestyle, his own egoism and self-confidence, and his continuing alcoholism. Indeed, Fitzgerald was extremely protective of his material (their life together). When Zelda wrote and sent to Scribner's her own fictional version of their lives in Europe, Save Me the Waltz, Fitzgerald was angry and was able to make some changes prior to the novel's publication, and convince her doctors to keep her from writing any more about what he called his "material," which included their relationship. His book was finally published in 1934 as Tender Is the Night. Critics who had waited nine years for the followup to The Great Gatsby had mixed opinions about the novel. Most were thrown off by its three-part structure and many felt that Fitzgerald had not lived up to their expectations.[citation needed] The novel did not sell well upon publication, but like the earlier Gatsby, the book's reputation has since risen significantly.

Hollywood years

Although he reportedly found movie work degrading, Fitzgerald was once again in dire financial straits, and spent the second half of the 1930s in Hollywood, working on commercial short stories, scripts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (including some unfilmed work on Gone with the Wind), and his fifth and final novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon. Published posthumously as The Last Tycoon, it was based on the life of film executive Irving Thalberg. Scott and Zelda became estranged; she continued living in mental institutions on the East Coast, while he lived with his lover Sheilah Graham, a gossip columnist, in Hollywood. From 1939 until his death, Fitzgerald mocked himself as a Hollywood hack through the character of Pat Hobby in a sequence of 17 short stories, later collected as "The Pat Hobby Stories."

Illness & death

Fitzgerald had been an alcoholic since his college days, and became notorious during the 1920s for his extraordinarily heavy drinking, leaving him in poor health by the late 1930s. According to Zelda's biographer, Nancy Milford, Scott claimed that he had contracted tuberculosis, but Milford dismisses it as a pretext to cover his drinking problems. However, Fitzgerald scholar Matthew J. Bruccoli contends that Fitzgerald did in fact have recurring tuberculosis, and Nancy Milford reports that Fitzgerald biographer Arthur Mizener said that Scott suffered a mild attack of tuberculosis in 1919, and in 1929 he had "what proved to be a tubercular hemorrhage". It has been said that the hemorrhage was caused by bleeding from esophageal varices.

Fitzgerald suffered two heart attacks in late 1940. After the first, in Schwab's Drug Store, he was ordered by his doctor to avoid strenuous exertion. He moved in with Sheilah Graham, who lived in Hollywood on North Hayworth Ave., one block east of Fitzgerald's apartment on North Laurel Ave. Fitzgerald had two flights of stairs to get to his apartment; Graham's was a ground floor apartment. On the night of December 20, 1940, Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham attended the premiere of "This Thing Called Love" starring Melvyn Douglas and Rosalind Russell. As the two were leaving the Pantages Theater, Fitzgerald experienced a dizzy spell and had trouble leaving the theater; upset, he said to Ms. Graham, "They think I am drunk, don't they?".

The following day, as Scott ate a candy bar and made notes in his newly arrived Princeton Alumni Weekly, Ms. Graham saw him jump from his armchair, grab the mantelpiece, gasp, and fall to the floor. She ran to the manager of the building, Harry Culver, founder of Culver City; upon entering the apartment and assisting Scott, he stated, "I'm afraid he's dead." Fitzgerald died of a massive heart attack. His body was removed to the Pierce Brothers Mortuary.

Zelda and Scott's grave in Rockville, Maryland, inscribed with the final sentence of The Great Gatsby

Among the attendants at a visitation held at a funeral home was Dorothy Parker, who reportedly cried and murmured "the poor son-of-a-bitch," a line from Jay Gatsby's funeral in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.[7][8] [9] The remains were shipped to Baltimore, Maryland, where his funeral was attended by twenty or thirty people in Bethesda; among the attendants were his only child, Frances "Scottie" Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith, and his editor, Maxwell Perkins. Fitzgerald was originally buried in Rockville Union Cemetery. Zelda died in 1948, in a fire at the Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. Ms. Frances Lanahan worked to overturn the Archdiocese of Baltimore ruling that Fitzgerald died a non practicing Catholic, so that he could be at rest at the Roman Catholic cemetery where his father's family was laid. Both Scott's and Zelda's remains were moved to the family plot in Saint Mary's Cemetery, in Rockville, Maryland in 1975.

Fitzgerald died before he could complete The Love of the Last Tycoon. His manuscript, which included extensive notes for the unwritten part of the novel's story, was edited by his friend, the literary critic Edmund Wilson, and published in 1941 as The Last Tycoon. In 1994 the book was reissued under the original title The Love of the Last Tycoon, which is now agreed to have been Fitzgerald's preferred title.


Fitzgerald's work and legend has inspired writers ever since he was first published. The publication of The Great Gatsby prompted T. S. Eliot to write, in a letter to Fitzgerald, "[I]t seems to me to be the first step that American fiction has taken since Henry James...".[10] Don Birnam, the protagonist of Steph and Charles Jackson's The Lost Weekend, says to himself, referring to Gatsby, "There's no such thing...as a flawless novel. But if there is, this is it."[11] In letters written in the 1940s, J. D. Salinger expressed admiration of Fitzgerald's work, and his biographer Ian Hamilton wrote that Salinger even saw himself for some time as "Fitzgerald's successor."[12] Richard Yates, a writer often compared to Fitzgerald, called The Great Gatsby "the most nourishing novel [he] read...a miracle of talent...a triumph of technique."[13] It was written in a New York Times editorial after his death that Fitzgerald "was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a generation. [... H]e might have interpreted them and even guided them, as in their middle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction."

Into the 21st century, millions of copies of The Great Gatsby and his other works have been sold, and Gatsby, a constant best-seller, is required reading in many high school and college classes.[citation needed]

Fitzgerald is a 2009 inductee of the New Jersey Hall of Fame.[14]

Fitzgerald was the first cousin once removed of Mary Surratt, hanged in 1865 for conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.[15] Fitzgerald's great-granddaughter Blake Hazard is a musician.[16]


A musical about the lives Fitzgerald and wife Zelda Fitzgerald was composed by Frank Wildhorn entitled Waiting for the Moon, formerly known as Zelda, followed by Scott & Zelda: The Other Side Of Paradise,. The musical shows their lives from when they first met, through Fitzgerald's career, their lives together (the good and bad), to both of their deaths. The musical made its world premiere at The Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center in a production that ran from July 20, 2005 through July 31, 2005. It starred Broadway veteran actors Jarrod Emick as Fitzgerald and Lauren Kennedy as Zelda.

The Japanese Takarazuka Revue has also created a musical adaptation of Fitzgerald's life. Entitled The Last Party: S. Fitzgerald's Last Day, it was produced in 2004 and 2006. Yuhi Oozora and Yūga Yamato starred as Fitzgerald, while Zelda was played by Kanami Ayano and Rui Shijou.

Fitzgerald was portrayed by the actor Malcolm Gets in the 1994 film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.[17]

The last years of Fitzgerald and his relation with Ms. Graham was the theme of the movie Beloved Infidel (1959). Gregory Peck portrayed Fitzgerald in this film, and Deborah Kerr protrayed Ms. Graham.

The Beautiful and the Damned, starring Keira Knightley as Zelda and Leonardo DiCaprio as Scott, is going into production as of 2010.[18]

Zelda Fitzgerald published an autobiographically-charged novel, Save Me the Waltz, in 1934.

The film Beloved Infidel (1959) depicts Fitzgerald (played by Gregory Peck) during his final years as a Hollywood scenarist. Another film, Last Call (2002) (Jeremy Irons plays Fitzgerald) describes the relationship with Frances Kroll during his last two years of life. The film was based on the memoir of Frances Kroll Ring, titled Against the Current: As I Remember F. Scott Fitzgerald (1985), that records her experience as secretary to Fitzgerald for the last 20 months of his life.

The standard biographies of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are Arthur Mizener's The Far Side of Paradise (1951, 1965) and Matthew Bruccoli's Some Sort of Epic Grandeur (1981). Fitzgerald's letters have also been published in various editions such as Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, ed. Jackson R. Bryer and Cathy W. Banks (2002); Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Matthew Bruccoli and Margaret Duggan (1980), and F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters, ed. Matthew Bruccoli (1994).


Short Story Collections
Short Stories
  • The Vegetable, or From President to Postman (play, 1923)
  • The Crack-Up (essays, 1945)
The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Cambridge University Press is publishing the complete works of F. Scott Fitzgerald in authoritative annotated editions. Eleven volumes have been published.[19]

Cover of the first volume in the series
Title Date published ISBN
The Great Gatsby August 1991 978-0521402309
The Love of the Last Tycoon: A Western December 1993 978-0521402316
This Side of Paradise January 1996 978-0521402347
Flappers and Philosophers December 1999 978-0521402361
Trimalchio: An Early Version of The Great Gatsby April 2000 978-0521402378
Tales of the Jazz Age August 2002 978-0521402385
My Lost City: Personal Essays, 1920–1940 October 2005 978-0521402392
All The Sad Young Men January 2007 978-0521402408
The Beautiful and Damned June 2008 978-0521883665
The Lost Decade: Short Stories from Esquire, 1936–1941 September 2008 978-0521885300
The Basil, Josephine, and Gwen Stories October 2009 978-0521769730
Spires and Gargoyles: Early Writings, 1909–1919 March 2010 978-0521765923


  1. ^ Matthew Joseph Bruccoli and Scottie Fitzgerald Smith, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2002), p. 13.
  2. ^ Jonathan Schiff, "Ashes to Ashes: Mourning and Social Difference in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Fiction," (Selingsgrove, PA: Susquehanna University Press, 2001), p.21
  3. ^ "F. Scott Fitzgerald in Buffalo, NY: 1898 -1901" - Buffalo Architecture and History (c/o bfn.org)
  4. ^ Petri Liukkonen (2008). "F(rances) Scott (Key) Fitzgerald". http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/fsfitzg.htm. Retrieved 25 October 2009. 
  5. ^ In his book, "A moveable feast", in which Hemingway describes his years in Paris and his encounter with the couple.
  6. ^ a b Canterbury, E. Ray; Birch, Thomas. F. Scott Fitzgerald: Under the Influence.(St. Paul: Paragon House, 2006), p. 189
  7. ^ Mizener, Arthur. "The Big Binge", Excerpt: "The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald." Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1951. (pp. 362.; c/o Time), Monday, January 29, 1951,
  8. ^ "Biography in Sound". Time, Monday, July 11, 1955.
  9. ^ In a strange coincidence, the author Nathanael West, a friend and admirer of Fitzgerald, was killed along with his wife Eileen McKenney in El Centro, California, while driving back to Los Angeles to attend Fitzgerald's funeral service.
  10. ^ Fitzgerald, F. Scott. "The Crack-Up". A New Directions Book, edited by Edmund Wilson. New York, 1993, p. 310.
  11. ^ Jackson, Charles. The Lost Weekend. London: Black Spring Press. 1994. p.136.
  12. ^ Hamilton, Ian (1988). In Search of J. D. Salinger. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-394-53468-9.  p. 53, 64.
  13. ^ Yates, Richard. The New York Times Book Review. April 19, 1981.
  14. ^ New Jersey to Bon Jovi: You Give Us a Good Name Yahoo News, February 2, 2009
  15. ^ Noted in many Fitzgerald biographies.
  16. ^ Her band is called The Submarines
  17. ^ Internet Movie Database entry for Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
  18. ^ The Beautiful and the Damned (2010), IMDb
  19. ^ http://www.cambridge.org/series/sSeries.asp?code=CESF&srt=P


  • Bruccoli, Matthew Joseph (ed.) (2000), F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: A Literary Reference, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, ISBN 0786709960 
  • Bruccoli, Matthew Joseph (2002), Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald (2nd rev. ed.), Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 1570034559 .
  • Bryer, Jackson R.; Barks, Cathy W. (eds.) (2002), Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, New York: St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0312268750 .
  • Cline, Sally (2003), Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Voice in Paradise, New York: Arcade Publishing, ISBN 1559706880 .
  • Curnutt, Kirk (ed.) (2004), A Historical Guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195153022 
  • Donaldson, Scott (1983), Fool for Love: F. Scott Fitzgerald, New York: Congdon and Weed, ISBN 0312922094 
  • Milford, Nancy (1970), Zelda: A Biography, New York: Harper & Row .
  • Mizener, Arthur (1951), The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Boston: Houghton Mifflin .
  • Prigozy, Ruth (ed.) (2002), The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521624479, http://books.google.com/books?id=S8ge74PaZdwC&printsec=frontcover 
  • Schiff, Jonathan, Ashes to Ashes: Mourning and Social Difference in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Fiction, Selingsgrove, PA: Susquehanna University Press, ISBN 1575910462 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Whenever you feel like criticizing any one... just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896-09-241940-12-21) was an Irish-American novelist and short story writer.

See also: The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night



At any rate, let us love for a while, for a year or so, you and me. That's a form of divine drunkenness that we can all try. There are only diamonds in the whole world, diamonds and perhaps the shabby gift of disillusion.
  • All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
  • The idea that to make a man work you've got to hold gold in front of his eyes is a growth, not an axiom. We’ve done that for so long that we've forgotten there’s any other way.
  • Whenever you feel like criticizing any one... just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.
  • So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
    • The Great Gatsby (1925)
  • Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.
  • One writes of scars healed, a loose parallel to the pathology of the skin, but there is no such thing in the life of an individual. There open wounds, shrunk sometimes to the size of a pinprick, but wounds still. The marks of suffering are more comparable to the loss of a finger, or of the sight of an eye. We may not miss them, either, for one minute in a year, but if we should there is nothing to be done about it.
    • Tender Is the Night (1934) Bk. 3, Ch. 13
  • Either you think — or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.
    • Tender Is the Night (1934)
  • I hate the place like poison with a sincere hatred.
    • Responding to a suggestion that he return to Hollywood to work on a script of Tender is the Night in a letter to his agent (10 January 1935)
  • In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.
  • Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation– the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
    One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the "impossible," come true.
    • The Crack-Up (1936)
  • I must hold in balance the sense of the futility of effort and the sense of the necessity to struggle; the conviction of the inevitability of failure and still the determination to "succeed" — and, more than these, the contradiction between the dead hand of the past and the high intentions of the future.
    • The Crack-Up (1936)
  • My generation of radicals and breakers-down never found anything to take the place of the old virtues of work and courage and the old graces of courtesy and politeness.
    • Letter to his daughter Frances Scott Fitzgerald (July 1938)
  • Once one is caught up into the material world not one person in ten thousand finds the time to form literary taste, to examine the validity of philosophic concepts for himself, or to form what, for lack of a better phrase, I might call the wise and tragic sense of life.
    • Letter to his daughter Frances Scott Fitzgerald (5 October 1940)
  • Isn’t Hollywood a dump — in the human sense of the word. A hideous town, pointed up by the insulting gardens of its rich, full of the human spirit at a new low of debasement.
    • Letter to Alice Richardson (29 July 1940)
  • How strange to have failed as a social creature — even criminals do not fail that way — they are the law's "Loyal Opposition," so to speak. But the insane are always mere guests on earth, eternal strangers carrying around broken decalogues that they cannot read.
    • Letter to his daughter Frances Scott Fitzgerald (December 1940)
  • Great art is the contempt of a great man for small art.
    • Notebook L (1945) edited by Edmund Wilson
  • Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.
    • Notebook E (1945) edited by Edmund Wilson
  • It is in the thirties that we want friends. In the forties we know they won't save us any more than love did.
    • Notebooks
  • There are no second acts in American lives.
    • The Last Tycoon, "Hollywood, ETC.," ed. Edmund Wilson (1941)

This Side of Paradise (1920)

  • Faint winds, and far away a fading laughter...
    And the rain and over the fields a voice calling...
  • The shadow of a dove
    Falls on the cote, the trees are filled with wings;
    And down the valley through the crying trees
    The body of the darker storm flies; brings
    With its new air the breath of sunken seas
    And slender tenuous thunder . . .
    But I wait . . .
    Wait for the mists and for the blacker rain —
    Heavier winds that stir the veil of fate,
    Happier winds that pile her hair;
    They tear me, teach me, strew the heavy air
    Upon me, winds that I know, and storm.
  • "I simply state that I'm a product of a versatile mind in a restless generation — with every reason to throw my mind and pen in with the radicals. Even if, deep in my heart, I thought we were all blind atoms in a world as limited as a stroke of a pendulum, I and my sort would struggle against tradition; try, at least, to displace old cants with new ones. I've thought I was right about life at various times, but faith is difficult. One thing I know. If living isn't seeking for the grail it may be a damned amusing game.
  • A big man has no time really to do anything but just sit and be big.
  • People try so hard to believe in leaders now, pitifully hard. But we no sooner get a popular reformer or politician or soldier or writer or philosopher — a Roosevelt, a Tolstoi, a Wood, a Shaw, a Nietzsche, than the cross-currents of criticism wash him away. My Lord, no man can stand prominence these days. It's the surest path to obscurity. People get sick of hearing the same name over and over.
  • Look at you; you're on The New Democracy, considered the most brilliant weekly in the country, read by the men who do things and all that. What's your business? Why, to be as clever, as interesting, and as brilliantly cynical as possible about every man, doctrine, book, or policy that is assigned you to deal with. The more strong lights, the more spiritual scandal you can throw on the matter, the more money they pay you, the more the people buy the issue.
  • And he could not tell why the struggle was worth while, why he had determined to use the utmost himself and his heritage from the personalities he has passed....
  • Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a revery of long days and nights; destined finally to go out into that dirty gray turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken. . . .
  • He stretched his arms to the crystalline, radiant sky. "I know myself," he cried, "but that is all — "
  • There was no God in his heart, he knew; his ideas were still in riot; there was ever the pain of memory; the regret for his lost youth — yet the waters of disillusion had left a deposit on his soul, responsibility and a love of life, the faint stirring of old ambitions and unrealized dreams.
  • “The truth is that the public has done one of those startling and amazing things that they do about once in a hundred years. They’ve seized an idea.”
    “What is it?”
    “That however the brains and abilities of men may differ, their stomachs are essentially the same.”

The Beautiful and Damned (1922)

  • The victor belongs to the spoils.
  • In 1913, when Anthony Patch was twenty-five, two years were already gone since irony, the Holy Ghost of this later day, had, theoretically at least, descended upon him.
  • As you first see him he wonders frequently whether he is not without honor and slightly mad, a shameful and obscene thinness glistening on the surface of the world like oil on a clean pond, these occasions being varied, of course, with those in which he thinks himself rather an exceptional young man, thoroughly sophisticated, well adjusted to his environment, and somewhat more significant than any one else he knows.
    This was his healthy state and it made him cheerful, pleasant, and very attractive to intelligent men and to all women. In this state he considered that he would one day accomplish some quiet subtle thing that the elect would deem worthy and, passing on, would join the dimmer stars in a nebulous, indeterminate heaven half-way between death and immortality. Until the time came for this effort he would be Anthony Patch — not a portrait of a man but a distinct and dynamic personality, opinionated, contemptuous, functioning from within outward — a man who was aware that there could be no honor and yet had honor, who knew the sophistry of courage and yet was brave.
  • To Anthony life was a struggle against death, that waited at every corner. It was as a concession to his hypochondriacal imagination that he formed the habit of reading in bed — it soothed him. He read until he was tired and often fell asleep with the lights still on.
  • Curiously enough he found in senior year that he had acquired a position in his class. He learned that he was looked upon as a rather romantic figure, a scholar, a recluse, a tower of erudition. This amused him but secretly pleased him — he began going out, at first a little and then a great deal.

Tales of the Jazz Age (1922)

  • Jim Powell was a Jelly-bean. Much as I desire to make him an appealing character, I feel that it would be unscrupulous to deceive you on that point. He was a bred-in-the-bone, dyed-in-the-wool, ninety-nine three-quarters per cent Jelly-bean and he grew lazily all during Jelly-bean season, which is every season, down in the land of the Jelly-beans well below the Mason-Dixon line.
    • "The Jelly-Bean"
  • "Jelly-bean" is the name throughout the undissolved Confederacy for one who spends his life conjugating the verb to idle in the first person singular — I am idling, I have idled, I will idle.
    • "The Jelly-Bean"
  • The street was hot at three and hotter still at four, the April dust seeming to enmesh the sun and give it forth again as a world-old joke forever played on an eternity of afternoons. But at half past four a first layer of quiet fell and the shades lengthened under the awnings and heavy foliaged trees. In this heat nothing mattered. All life was weather, a waiting through the hot where events had no significance for the cool that was soft and caressing like a woman's hand on a tired forehead.
    • "The Jelly-Bean"
  • This somewhat unpleasant tale, published as a novelette in the "Smart Set" in July, 1920, relates a series of events which took place in the spring of the previous year. Each of the three events made a great impression upon me. In life they were unrelated, except by the general hysteria of that spring which inaugurated the Age of Jazz, but in my story I have tried, unsuccessfully I fear, to weave them into a pattern — a pattern which would give the effect of those months in New York as they appeared to at least one member of what was then the younger generation.
    • On "May Day"
  • There had been a war fought and won and the great city of the conquering people was crossed with triumphal arches and vivid with thrown flowers of white, red, and rose.
    • "May Day"
  • Mr. In and Mr. Out are not listed by the census-taker. You will search for them in vain through the social register or the births, marriages, and deaths, or the grocer's credit list. Oblivion has swallowed them and the testimony that they ever existed at all is vague and shadowy, and inadmissible in a court of law. Yet I have it upon the best authority that for a brief space Mr. In and Mr. Out lived, breathed, answered to their names and radiated vivid personalities of their own.
    During the brief span of their lives they walked in their native garments down the great highway of a great nation; were laughed at, sworn at, chased, and fled from. Then they passed and were heard of no more.
    • "May Day"
  • You're a historian. Tell me if there are any bath-tubs in history. I think they've been frightfully neglected.
    • "Porcelain and Pink"
  • One well-known critic has been pleased to like this extravaganza better than anything I have written. Personally I prefer "The Offshore Pirate." But, to tamper slightly with Lincoln: If you like this sort of thing, this, possibly, is the sort of thing you'll like.
    • On "The Diamond As Big As The Ritz"
  • John T. Unger came from a family that had been well known in Hades — a small town on the Mississippi River — for several generations.
    • "The Diamond As Big As The Ritz"
  • "The Schnlitzer-Murphys had diamonds as big as walnuts — "
    "That's nothing." Percy had leaned forward and dropped his voice to a low whisper. "That's nothing at all. My father has a diamond bigger than the Ritz-Carlton Hotel."
    • "The Diamond As Big As The Ritz"
  • It was an amazing predicament. He was, in one sense, the richest man that ever lived — and yet was he worth anything at all? If his secret should transpire there was no telling to what measures the Government might resort in order to prevent a panic, in gold as well as in jewels. They might take over the claim immediately and institute a monopoly.
    • "The Diamond As Big As The Ritz"
  • At any rate, let us love for a while, for a year or so, you and me. That's a form of divine drunkenness that we can all try. There are only diamonds in the whole world, diamonds and perhaps the shabby gift of disillusion.
    • "The Diamond As Big As The Ritz"
  • There's a right way of doing things and a wrong way. If you've made up your mind to be different from everybody else, I don't suppose I can stop you, but I really don't think it's very considerate.
    • "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
  • You're simply stubborn. You think you don't want to be like any one else. You always have been that way, and you always will be. But just think how it would be if every one else looked at things as you do — what would the world be like?
    • "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
  • It was no affair for the watch: Satan was at large tonight and Satan seemed to be he who appeared dimly in front, heel over gate, knee over fence. Moreover, the adversary was obviously travelling near home or at least in that section of London consecrated to his coarser whims, for the street narrowed like a road in a picture and the houses bent over further and further, cooping in natural ambushes suitable for murder and its histrionic sister, sudden death.
    • "Tarquin of Cheapside"
  • He read at wine, he read in bed, He read aloud, had he the breath, His every thought was with the dead, And so he read himself to death.
    • "Tarquin of Cheapside"
  • The years between thirty-five and sixty-five revolve before the passive mind as one unexplained, confusing merry-go-round. True, they are a merry-go-round of ill-gaited and wind-broken horses, painted first in pastel colors, then in dull grays and browns, but perplexing and intolerably dizzy the thing is, as never were the merry-go-rounds of childhood or adolescence; as never, surely, were the certain-coursed, dynamic roller-coasters of youth. For most men and women these thirty years are taken up with a gradual withdrawal from life, a retreat first from a front with many shelters, those myriad amusements and curiosities of youth, to a line with less, when we peel down our ambitions to one ambition, our recreations to one recreation, our friends to a few to whom we are anaesthetic; ending up at last in a solitary, desolate strong point that is not strong, where the shells now whistle abominably, now are but half-heard as, by turns frightened and tired, we sit waiting for death.
  • "O Russet Witch!"
  • Merlin went up-stairs very quietly at nine o'clock. When he was in his room and had closed the door tight he stood by it for a moment, his thin limbs trembling. He knew now that he had always been a fool.
    "O Russet Witch!"
    But it was too late. He had angered Providence by resisting too many temptations. There was nothing left but heaven, where he would meet only those who, like him, had wasted earth.
    • "O Russet Witch!"
  • Of this story I can say that it came to me in an irresistible form, crying to be written. It will be accused perhaps of being a mere piece of sentimentality, but, as I saw it, it was a great deal more. If, therefore, it lacks the ring of sincerity, or even, of tragedy, the fault rests not with the theme but with my handling of it.
    • On "The Lees of Happiness"
  • Those were the days of "Florodora" and of sextets, of pinched-in waists and blown-out sleeves, of almost bustles and absolute ballet skirts, but here, without doubt, disguised as she might be by the unaccustomed stiffness and old fashion of her costume, was a butterfly of butterflies. Here was the gayety of the period — the soft wine of eyes, the songs that flurried hearts, the toasts and tie bouquets, the dances and the dinners. Here was a Venus of the hansom, cab, the Gibson girl in her glorious prime. Here was...
    • "The Lees of Happiness"
  • It was a marriage of love. He was sufficiently spoiled to be charming; she was ingenuous enough to be irresistible. Like two floating logs they met in a head-on rush, caught, and sped along together.
    • "The Lees of Happiness"
  • There is a sort of waking nightmare that sets in sometimes when one has missed a sleep or two, a feeling that comes with extreme fatigue and a new sun, that the quality of the life around has changed. It is a fully articulate conviction that somehow the existence one is then leading is a branch shoot of life and is related to life only as a moving picture or a mirror — that the people, and streets, and houses are only projections from a very dim and chaotic past.
    • "The Lees of Happiness"
  • That Kitty was capable of any deep grief was unbelievable. He had gradually grown to think of her as something unapproachable and callous. She would get a divorce, of course, and eventually she would marry again. He began to consider this. Whom would she marry? He laughed bitterly, stopped; a picture flashed before him — of Kitty's arms around some man whose face he could not see, of Kitty's lips pressed close to other lips in what was surely: passion.
    • "The Lees of Happiness"
  • Summer was gone and now Indian summer. The grass was cold and there was no mist and no dew. After he left she would go in and light the gas and close the shatters, and he would go down the path and on to the village. To these two life had come quickly and gone, leaving not bitterness, but pity; not disillusion, but only pain.
    • "The Lees of Happiness"
  • They're all deserting me. I've been too kind. Spare the rod and spoil the fun. Oh, for the glands of a Bismarck.
    • "Mr. Icky"
  • The farmers may be the backbone of the country, but who wants to be a backbone?
    • "Mr. Icky"
  • I care not who hoes the lettuce of my country if I can eat the salad!
    • "Mr. Icky"
  • Thirty — the promise of a decade of loneliness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning briefcase of enthusiasm, thinning hair.
    • The Great Gatsby(1925) ch. 7.
  • Family quarrels are bitter things. They don't go according to any rules. They are not like aches or wounds; they are more like splits in the skin that won't heal because there is not enough material.

About F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • You can take off your hats now, gentlemen, and I think perhaps you had better. This is not a legend, this is a reputation — and seen in perspective, it may well be one of the most secure reputations of our time.
  • He had one of the rarest qualities in all literature, and it's a great shame that the word for it has been thoroughly debased by the cosmetic racketeers, so that one is almost ashamed to use it to describe a real distinction. Nevertheless, the word is charm — charm as Keats would have used it. Who has it today? It's not a matter of pretty writing or clear style. It's a kind of subdued magic, controlled and exquisite, the sort of thing you get from good string quartettes.
  • His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.
  • Fitzgerald was a better just plain writer than all of us put together. Just words writing.
  • The real Scott is to be found in his notebooks and working papers, where he elaborated so patiently at turning the mess of his life to gold. "To observe one must be unwary," he wrote, so he took experience straight without a notebook. But he later hoarded it like a miser and pored over it like a monk illuminating a manuscript and produced enduring work. When a writer explores emotions to danger point like Scott, it is worse than philistine to talk about weakness of character. The whole moral test is in the books. The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night are all the character reference a writer could want.
    • Wilfrid Sheed, "F. Scott Fitzgerald" (1973), from The Good Word & Other Words (1978)

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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 - December 21, 1940) was an Irish American writer. He is remembered mostly for his novel The Great Gatsby, and for being one of the main members of the Lost Generation.



Fitzgerald was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He briefly went to the Nardin Academy[1]– a private Roman Catholic school in Western New York. When his father lost his job, the Fitzgerald family returned to Minnesota. F. Scott Fitzgerald then went to the St. Paul Academy, but was thrown out of the school when he was aged 16 for not working hard enough. Fitzgerald went to another school in New Jersey and eventually went to Princeton University in 1913. While he was at Princeton, Fitzgerald wrote for a musical-comedy club at the University which led to him sending a novel off to a book publishing company, Charles Scribner’s Sons. The editor liked Fitzgerald’s writing, but did not publish the book. Fitzgerald left Princeton University to serve in the United States Navy in World War One, but the war ended shortly after he signed up[2].

Fitzgerald got engaged to Zelda Sayre in 1919. He moved into an apartment on Lexington Avenue in New York where he wrote short stories and worked in advertising. Zelda did not think that Fitzgerald’s job was good enough and she broke off their engagement. Fitzgerald went back to his parent’s home in St. Paul and worked on his first novel This Side of Paradise. This Side of Paradise was finally accepted by Charles Scriber’s Sons in late 1919 and Zelda and Fitzgerald got engaged again. This Side of Paradise was published in 1920 and was very popular. Scott and Zelda got married in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. On October 26, 1921, their daughter Frances Scott Fitzgerald was born.

Fitzgerald’s most famous book, The Great Gatsby, was first sold in 1925. Fitzgerald travelled a lot at this time – mainly to France, where he met a number of other Americans who had left the United States. It was around this time that Fitzgerald first met Ernest Hemingway. They became good friends, but Hemingway did not like Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda. Hemingway said that Zelda was insane, made Fitzgerald drink alcohol and that she did not allow him do his best work[3]. It is generally accepted, however, that Zelda had a big influence on Fitzgerald’s writing.

Fitzgerald’s other novels did not sell as well as his first novel while he was alive. He and Zelda spent a lot of money on parties and Fitzgerald had to try and make money by writing short stories. In the late 1920s, Fitzgerald started working on a fourth novel, but problems arose when Zelda’s mental health got worse. The fourth novel, Tender is the Night, was not published until 1934. Some people say that the characters in the novel are very similar to Fitzgerald and Zelda themselves. Tender is the Night did not sell as well as This Side of Paradise in Fitzgerald’s lifetime, and a number of critics said it was poor. The book is now considered to be one of Fitzgerald’s better works, however.

Zelda’s mental health did not improve and she went to live in a mental hospital while her husband worked on more short stories and his fifth novel.

Fitzgerald’s health got worse; possibly due to the fact that he drank a lot of alcohol during his life. On December 21st 1940, he had a heart attack and died. The last words of The Great Gatsby are written on Fitzgerald’s gravestone. His fifth and last novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was released after he died.



Short story collections

  • Flappers and Philosophers (Short Story Collection, 1920)
  • Tales of the Jazz Age (Short Story Collection, 1922)
  • All the Sad Young Men (Short Story Collection, 1926)
  • Taps at Reveille (Short Story Collection, 1935)
  • Babylon Revisited and Other Stories (Short Story Collection, 1960)
  • The Pat Hobby Stories (Short Story Collection, 1962)
  • The Basil and Josephine Stories (Short Story Collection, 1973)
  • The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Short Story Collection, 1989)

Short Stories

  • Bernice Bobs Her Hair (Short Story, 1920)
  • Head and Shoulders (Short Story, 1920)
  • The Ice Palace (Short Story, 1920)
  • May Day (Novelette, 1920)
  • The Offshore Pirate (Short Story, 1920)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Short Story, 1921)
  • The Diamond as Big as the Ritz (Novella, 1922)
  • Winter Dreams (Short Story, 1922)
  • Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar (Short Story, 1923)
  • The Freshest Boy (Short Story, 1928)
  • Magnetism (Short Story 1928)
  • A New Leaf (Short Story, 1931)
  • Babylon Revisited (Short story, 1931)
  • Crazy Sunday (Short Story, 1932)
  • The Fiend (Short Story, 1935)
  • The Bridal Party (Short Story)
  • The Baby Party (Short Story)


  • The Vegetable, or From President to Postman (play, 1923)
  • The Crack-Up (essays, 1945)


  1. "F. Scott Fitzgerald in Buffalo, NY: 1898 -1901" - Buffalo Architecture and History (c/o bfn.org)
  2. Petri Liukkonen (2008). "F(rances) Scott (Key) Fitzgerald". http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/fsfitzg.htm. Retrieved 25 October 2009. 
  3. In his book, "A moveable feast", in which Hemingway describes his years in Paris and his encounter with the couple.
  • Bruccoli, Matthew Joseph (2002), [Expression error: Unexpected < operator Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald] (2nd rev. ed.), Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 1570034559 .
  • Bryer, Jackson R.; Barks, Cathy W. (eds.) (2002), [Expression error: Unexpected < operator Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald], New York: St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0312268750 .
  • Cline, Sally (2003), [Expression error: Unexpected < operator Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Voice in Paradise], New York: Arcade Publishing, ISBN 1559706880 .

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