Full name Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald American novelist, short-story writer, essayist, scriptwriter, dramatist, and poet. The following entry presents criticism on Fitzgerald's short fiction from through Scott Fitzgerald in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Fitzgerald is regarded as one of the most influential novelists and short-story writers of the twentieth century. He is viewed as the spokesman for the Jazz Age, America's decade of prosperity, excess, and abandon, which began soon after the end of World War I and concluded with the stock market crash.
As such, in his novels and stories, Fitzgerald examined an entire generation's search for the elusive American dream of wealth and happiness. Most of his stories were derived from his own experiences and portray the consequences of his generation's adherence to false values. The glamour and insouciance of many of Fitzgerald's writings reveal only one side of a writer whose second and final decade of work characterized a life marred by alcoholism and financial difficulties, troubled by personal tragedy, and frustrated by lack of inspiration.
Paul, Minnesota, Fitzgerald grew up in a wealthy family and showed an early interest in writing plays and poetry. As a young man he emulated the rich, youthful, and beautiful, a social group with whom he maintained a lifelong love-hate relationship. In he enrolled at Princeton University, and his first stories were published in Nassau Lit, the university's literary magazine, which was edited by his friend and fellow student Edmund Wilson.
Leaving Princeton for the army during World War I, Fitzgerald spent his weekends in boot camp writing the earliest draft of his first novel, This Side of Paradise The acceptance of this work for publication by Charles Scribner's Sons in —and the ensuing popular and financial success it achieved—enabled Fitzgerald to marry Zelda Sayre, a socially prominent young woman he had met and courted during his army days.
Zelda significantly affected her husband's life and career. During the s, she was Fitzgerald's private literary consultant and editor, while publicly she matched Fitzgerald's extravagant tastes and passion in living for the moment. While continuing to illuminate the manners of the Roaring Twenties, Fitzgerald's second and third novels, as well as the story collections published between novels, evidenced a growing awareness of the shallowness and brutal insensitivity that are sometimes accoutrements of American society.
These weaknesses and America's lost ideals are movingly described in Fitzgerald's strongest and most famous work, The Great Gatsby Although it gained the respect of many prominent American writers and is now considered a classic, The Great Gatsby was not a popular success and marked the beginning of the author's decline in popularity. Another commercial disappointment, Tender Is the Night reflected the disillusionment and strain caused by the Great Depression and Zelda's gradual deterioration from schizophrenia and eventual breakdown.
These events scarred Fitzgerald, contributing to a deep, self-reproaching despair that brought his career to a near standstill during the mids. Trying to start anew, he became a motion picture scriptwriter and began The Last Tycoon , a novel based on his Hollywood experiences, which remained unfinished when Fitzgerald died in late Fitzgerald's short stories have often been dismissed as slick, commercial productions intended to capitalize on the successes of his novels. The author's own disparaging remarks regarding his stories have also helped lend discredit to their status as works of literature.
Yet, since the s, critics have come to regard many of Fitzgerald's short pieces as works that reflect themes characteristic of his most significant writings while experimenting with new techniques and subjects. The protagonist of the story, the wealthy Anson Hunter, has developed a sense of superiority and aloofness, a need for dominance, and contempt for commonplace life—attitudes that result in alienation from those who would love him and separation from happiness.
Instead of a means to fulfill his dreams, wealth has become for Anson an obstacle to self-realization. In other stories, Fitzgerald portrays the socioeconomic divisions that characterized the early twentieth century. Set against the backdrop of expatriate Europe during the s, this story focuses on Charlie Wales, wealthy playboy of s Paris whose excesses contributed at least in part to the death of his wife and subsequent placement of his daughter into the custodianship of his bitter and resentful sister-in-law, Marion.
Scott Fitzgerald has become distressing. He is boozing in a wild manner and has become a nuisance. In , Fitzgerald was invited by producer John W.
Scott and Zelda moved into a studio-owned bungalow in January of the following year and Fitzgerald soon met and began an affair with Lois Moran. The starlet became a temporary muse for the author and he rewrote Rosemary Hoyt, one of the central characters in Tender is the Night , who had been a male in earlier drafts to closely mirror her. The trip exacerbated the couple's marital difficulties, and they left Hollywood after two months.
Although he reportedly found movie work degrading, Fitzgerald continued to struggle financially and entered into a lucrative exclusive deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in , that necessitated him moving to Hollywood, where he earned his highest annual income up to that point: His only screenplay credit is for Three Comrades film. He also spent time during this period working on his fifth and final novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon , published posthumously as The Last Tycoon , based on film executive Irving Thalberg.
In , MGM terminated the contract, and Fitzgerald became a freelance screenwriter. From until his death in , 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 ," which garnered many positive reviews.
Fitzgerald, an alcoholic since college, became notorious during the s for his extraordinarily heavy drinking which would undermine his health by the late s. According to Zelda's biographer, Nancy Milford , Fitzgerald 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 according to Milford, Fitzgerald biographer Arthur Mizener said that Fitzgerald suffered a mild attack of tuberculosis in , and in he had "what proved to be a tubercular hemorrhage.
Fitzgerald suffered two heart attacks in the late s. After the first, in Schwab's Drug Store , he was ordered by his doctor to avoid strenuous exertion. As the two were leaving the Pantages Theater , Fitzgerald experienced a dizzy spell and had trouble leaving the theater; upset, he said to Graham, "They think I am drunk, don't they? The following day, as Fitzgerald ate a candy bar and made notes in his newly arrived Princeton Alumni Weekly ,  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 to assist Fitzgerald, he stated, "I'm afraid he's dead. Nelson , Fitzgerald's physician, signed the death certificate. Among the attendees 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.
So Fitzgerald was originally buried instead in Rockville Union Cemetery. Scott and Zelda were buried together in the Rockville Union Cemetery , away from his family plot.
Only one photograph of the original gravesite is known to exist. That photo was taken in by Fitzgerald scholar Richard Anderson and was first published as part of an essay by fellow-scholar Bryant Mangum, "An Affair of Youth: In , Scottie successfully petitioned to have the earlier decision revisited and her parents' remains were moved to the family plot in Saint Mary's.
Fitzgerald died before he could complete The Last Tycoon. In 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. In , an editor of The Strand Magazine discovered and published for the first time an 8,word manuscript, dated July , of a Fitzgerald short-story titled "Temperature. Fitzgerald's work has inspired writers ever since he was first published.
Eliot to write, in a letter to Fitzgerald, "It seems to me to be the first step that American fiction has taken since Henry James But if there is, this is it. 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. He 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. Fitzgerald is a inductee of the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Cambridge University Press has published the complete works of F. Scott Fitzgerald in authoritative annotated editions. The Cambridge Edition runs to fifteen volumes. Fitzgerald's works have been adapted into films many times.
One of the earliest Fitzgerald short stories was adapted into a silent film The Off-Shore Pirate. Tender Is the Night was the subject of the eponymous film , and made into a television miniseries in The Beautiful and Damned was filmed in and The Great Gatsby has been the basis for numerous films of the same name, spanning nearly 90 years: 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. Bryer and Cathy W. Banks ; Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald , ed. Matthew Bruccoli and Margaret Duggan , and F. A Life in Letters , ed. A collection of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's scrapbooks of photographs and reviews was compiled by Bruccoli and F.
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, through July 31, The Japanese Takarazuka Revue has also created a musical adaptation of Fitzgerald's life.
Titled The Last Party: Fitzgerald's Last Day , it was produced in and Fitzgerald was portrayed by the actor Malcolm Gets in the film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. A film based on Fitzgerald and Zelda's relationship called The Beautiful and the Damned was announced for a release by director John Curran. The last years of Fitzgerald and his affair with Sheilah Graham , the Hollywood gossip columnist, was the theme of the movie Beloved Infidel based on Graham's memoir by the same name.
Graham played by Deborah Kerr , with whom he had a years-long affair, while his wife, Zelda, was institutionalized. As I Remember F. Scott Fitzgerald , that records her experience as secretary to Fitzgerald for the last 20 months of his life. Life, 10 years ago, was largely a personal matter. If I could do this through the common ills — domestic, professional and personal — then the ego would continue as an arrow shot from nothingness to nothingness with such force that only gravity would bring it to earth at last.
For seventeen years, with a year of deliberate loafing and resting out in the center — things went on like that, with a new chore only a nice prospect for the next day.
I was living hard, too, but: I Now a man can crack in many ways — can crack in the head — in which case the power of decision is taken from you by others! William Seabrook in an unsympathetic book tells, with some pride and a movie ending, of how he became public charge. What led to his alcoholism or was bound up with it, was a collapse of his nervous system. Though the present writer was not so entangled — having at the time not tasted so much as a glass of beer for six months — it was his nervous reflexes that were giving way — too much anger and too many tears.
Moreover, to go back to my thesis that life has a varying offensive, the realization of having cracked was not simultaneous with a blow, but with a reprieve. Not long before, I had sat in the office of a great doctor and listened to a grave sentence. With what, in retrospect, seems some equanimity, I had gone on about my affairs in the city where I was living, not caring much, not thinking how much had been left undone, or what would become of this and that responsibility, like people do in books; I was well insured and anyhow I had been only a mediocre caretaker of most of the things left in my hands, even of my talent.
But I had a strong sudden instinct that I must be alone. I had seen so many people all my life — I was an average mixer, but more than average in a tendency to identify myself, my ideas, my destiny, with those of all classes that I came in contact with.
I was always saving or being saved — in a single morning I would go through the emotions ascribable to Wellington at Waterloo.
I lived in a world of inscrutable hostiles and inalienable friends and supporters. But now I wanted to be absolutely alone and so arranged as certain insulation from ordinary cares. It was not an unhappy time. I went away and there were fewer people.
The following is an excerpt from the essay “The Crack-Up,” reprinted from The Crack-Up, a compilation of articles written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and published in .
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby In F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, there is a constant feeling of movement and the desire to get away. Nick, Gatsby, Wilson, Tom and Daisy all move, or have the intention of moving.
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby, published in , is widely considered to be F. Scott Fitzergerald's greatest novel. It is also considered a seminal work on the fallibility of the American dream. Along with the essays themselves, the volume contained notebook sketches, letters, and tribute essays, including a piece by Glenway Wescott, “The Moral of Scott Fitzgerald,” which had first appeared in The New Republic shortly after Fitzgerald’s death.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was a professional writer who was also a literary artist. In practical terms this meant that he had to support himself by writing short stories for popular magazines in order. F. Scott Fitzgerald (Full name Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald) American novelist, short-story writer, essayist, scriptwriter, dramatist, and poet.