F. Scott Fitzgerald

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F. Scott Fitzgerald
F Scott Fitzgerald 1921.jpg
Fitzgerald c. 1921
BornFrancis Scott Fitzgerald
(1896-09-24)September 24, 1896
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
DiedDecember 21, 1940(1940-12-21) (aged 44)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Resting place Saint Mary's Cemetery
Rockville, Maryland
Zelda (née Sayre) (m. 1920)
Children Frances Scott Fitzgerald

Signature F Scott Fitzgerald Signature.svg

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American fiction writer, whose works helped to illustrate the flamboyance and excess of the Jazz Age. While he achieved popular success, fame, and fortune in his lifetime, [1] he did not receive much critical acclaim until after his death. Perhaps the most notable member of the "Lost Generation" of the 1920s, Fitzgerald is now widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise , The Beautiful and Damned , The Great Gatsby , and Tender Is the Night . A fifth, unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon , was published posthumously. Four collections of his short stories were published, as well as 164 short stories in magazines during his lifetime.

Jazz Age period in the 1920s ending with the Great Depression

The Jazz Age was a period in the 1920s and 1930s in which jazz music and dance styles rapidly gained nationwide popularity in the United States. The Jazz Age's cultural repercussions were primarily felt in the United States, the birthplace of jazz. Originating in New Orleans as a fusion of African and European music, jazz played a significant part in wider cultural changes in this period, and its influence on pop culture continued long afterward. The Jazz Age is often referred to in conjunction with the Roaring Twenties, and in the United States it overlapped in significant cross-cultural ways with the Prohibition Era. The movement was largely affected by the introduction of radios nationwide. During this time, the Jazz Age was intertwined with the developing cultures of young people, women, and African Americans. The movement also helped start the beginning of the European Jazz movement. American author F. Scott Fitzgerald is widely credited with coining the term, first using it in his 1922 short story collection titled Tales of the Jazz Age.

The Lost Generation is the generation that came of age during World War I. "Lost" in this context also means "disoriented, wandering, directionless"—a recognition that there was great confusion and aimlessness among the war's survivors in the early post-war years." The term is particularly used to refer to a group of artists, and particularly American expatriate writers, living in Paris during the 1920s. Gertrude Stein is credited with coining the term; it was subsequently popularized by Ernest Hemingway who used it in the epigraph for his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises: "You are all a lost generation." The generation is described as the cohort born between 1883 and 1900.

American literature is literature written or produced in the United States of America and its preceding colonies. Before the founding of the United States, the British colonies on the eastern coast of the present-day United States were heavily influenced by English literature. The American literary tradition thus began as part of the broader tradition of English literature.


Early life

Born in 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to an upper-middle-class family, Fitzgerald was named after his famous second cousin, three times removed on his father's side, Francis Scott Key, [2] but was always known as Scott Fitzgerald. He was also named after his deceased sister, Louise Scott Fitzgerald, [3] one of two sisters who died shortly before his birth. "Well, three months before I was born," he wrote as an adult, "my mother lost her other two children ... I think I started then to be a writer." [4]

Saint Paul, Minnesota Capital of Minnesota

Saint Paul is the capital and second-most populous city of the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of 2017, the city's estimated population was 309,180. Saint Paul is the county seat of Ramsey County, the smallest and most densely populated county in Minnesota. The city lies mostly on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the area surrounding its point of confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Minneapolis, the state's largest city. Known as the "Twin Cities", the two form the core of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, with about 3.6 million residents.

Francis Scott Key American lawyer and poet

Francis Scott Key was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet from Frederick, Maryland who is best known for writing a poem which later became the lyrics for the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner".

His father, Edward Fitzgerald, was of Irish and English ancestry, and had moved to St. Paul from Maryland after the American Civil War, and was described as "a quiet gentlemanly man with beautiful Southern manners". [5] [6] [7] His mother was Mary "Molly" McQuillan Fitzgerald, the daughter of an Irish immigrant who had made his fortune in the wholesale grocery business. [5] Edward Fitzgerald's first cousin once removed Mary Surratt was hanged in 1865 for conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. [8] [9] [10]

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North (Union) and the South (Confederacy). The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Mary Surratt Lincoln assassination conspirator

Mary Elizabeth Jenkins Surratt was an American boarding house owner who was convicted of taking part in the conspiracy to assassinate U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Sentenced to death, she was hanged and became the first woman executed by the US federal government. She maintained her innocence until her death, and the case against her was and is controversial. Surratt was the mother of John H. Surratt, Jr., who was later tried but was not convicted of involvement in the assassination.

Abraham Lincoln 16th president of the United States

Abraham Lincoln was an American statesman, politician, and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy.

Scott Fitzgerald spent the first decade of his childhood primarily in Buffalo, New York, occasionally in West Virginia (1898–1901 and 1903–1908) where his father worked for Procter & Gamble, [11] with a short interlude in Syracuse, New York, (between January 1901 and September 1903). [12] Edward Fitzgerald had earlier worked as a wicker furniture salesman; he joined Procter & Gamble when the business failed. [13] [14] His parents, both Catholic, sent Fitzgerald to two Catholic schools on the West Side of Buffalo, first Holy Angels Convent (1903–1904, now disused) and then Nardin Academy (1905–1908). His formative years in Buffalo revealed him to be a boy of unusual intelligence with a keen early interest in literature. His doting mother ensured that her son had all the advantages of an upper-middle-class upbringing. [15] Her inheritance and donations from an aunt allowed the family to live a comfortable lifestyle. [16] In a rather unconventional style of parenting, Fitzgerald attended Holy Angels with the peculiar arrangement that he go for only half a day—and was allowed to choose which half. [12]

Buffalo, New York City in Western New York

Buffalo is the second largest city in the U.S. state of New York and the largest city in Western New York. As of 2018, the population was 256,304. The city is the county seat of Erie County and a major gateway for commerce and travel across the Canada–United States border, forming part of the bi-national Buffalo Niagara Region.

Procter & Gamble American multinational consumer goods company

The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) is an American multinational consumer goods corporation headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, founded in 1837 by English American William Procter and Irish American James Gamble. It specializes in a wide range of personal health/consumer health, and personal care and hygiene products; these products are organized into several segments including Beauty; Grooming; Health Care; Fabric & Home Care; and Baby, Feminine & Family Care. Before the sale of Pringles to the Kellogg Company, its product portfolio also included foods, snacks, and beverages.

Nardin Academy was founded by the Daughters of the Heart of Mary in 1857. The Academy includes a college preparatory high school for young women and a co-educational elementary school located in Buffalo, New York. It also includes Montessori pre-school through 3rd grade, which is located in Buffalo, New York.

In 1908, his father was fired from Procter & Gamble, and the family returned to Minnesota, where Fitzgerald attended St. Paul Academy in St. Paul from 1908 to 1911. [11] When he was 13, he saw his first piece of writing appear in print—a detective story published in the school newspaper. [17] In 1911, when Fitzgerald was 15 years old, his parents sent him to the Newman School, a prestigious Catholic prep school in Hackensack, New Jersey. [18] Fitzgerald played on the 1912 Newman football team. [19] At Newman, he met Father Sigourney Fay, who noticed his incipient talent with the written word and encouraged him to pursue his literary ambitions. [14]

Hackensack, New Jersey City in Bergen County, New Jersey, U.S.

Hackensack is a city in Bergen County in New Jersey, United States, and serves as its county seat. The area was officially named New Barbadoes Township until 1921, but it was informally known as Hackensack since at least the 18th century. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 43,010, reflecting an increase of 333 (+0.8%) from the 42,677 counted in the 2000 Census, which had, in turn, increased by 5,628 (+15.2%) from the 37,049 counted in the 1990 Census.

After graduating from the Newman School in 1913, Fitzgerald decided to stay in New Jersey to continue his artistic development at Princeton University. He tried out for the college football team, but was cut the first day of practice. [19] He firmly dedicated himself at Princeton to honing his craft as a writer, and became friends with future critics and writers Edmund Wilson and John Peale Bishop. [20] He wrote for the Princeton Triangle Club, the Nassau Lit, [21] and the Princeton Tiger . He also was involved in the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, which ran the Nassau Lit. [22] 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. [11] Four of the University's eating clubs sent him bids at midyear, and he chose the University Cottage Club (where Fitzgerald's desk and writing materials are still displayed in its library) known as "the 'Big Four' club that was most committed to the ideal of the fashionable gentleman". [20]

Princeton University University in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.

Edmund Wilson American writer, literary and social critic, and noted man of letters

Edmund Wilson was an American writer and critic who explored Freudian and Marxist themes. He influenced many American authors, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose unfinished work he edited for publication. His scheme for a Library of America series of national classic works came to fruition through the efforts of Jason Epstein after Wilson's death.

John Peale Bishop was an American poet and man of letters.

Fitzgerald's writing pursuits at Princeton came at the expense of his coursework, however, causing him to be placed on academic probation, and in 1917 he dropped out of university to join the Army. During the winter of 1917, Fitzgerald was stationed at Fort Leavenworth and was a student of future United States President and General of the Army Dwight Eisenhower whom he intensely disliked. [23] Worried that he might die in the War with his literary dreams unfulfilled, Fitzgerald hastily wrote The Romantic Egotist in the weeks before reporting for duty—and, although Scribners rejected it, the reviewer noted his novel's originality and encouraged Fitzgerald to submit more work in the future. [11] [24]

It was while attending Princeton that Fitzgerald met Chicago socialite and debutante Ginevra King on a visit back home in St. Paul. [25] King and Fitzgerald had a romantic relationship from 1915 to 1917. [26] Immediately infatuated with her, according to Mizner, Fitzgerald "remained devoted to Ginevra as long as she would allow him to", and wrote to her "daily the incoherent, expressive letters all young lovers write". [20] She would become his inspiration for the character of Isabelle Borgé, Amory Blaine's first love in This Side of Paradise , [27] for Daisy in The Great Gatsby , and several other characters in his novels and short stories. [28] After their relationship ended in 1917 Fitzgerald had requested that Ginevra destroy the letters that he had written to her. [26] He never destroyed the letters that King had sent him. After he had passed in 1940 his daughter "Scottie" sent the letters back to King where she kept them until her death. She never shared the letters with anyone.


Zelda Sayre in 1917 Zelda Fitzgerald portrait.jpg
Zelda Sayre in 1917

Fitzgerald was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry and assigned to Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery, Alabama. While at a country club, Fitzgerald met and fell in love with Zelda Sayre, a daughter of Alabama Supreme Court justice Anthony D. Sayre and the "golden girl", in Fitzgerald's terms, of Montgomery society. The war ended in 1918, before Fitzgerald was ever deployed. Upon his discharge he moved to New York City hoping to launch a career in advertising that would be lucrative enough to persuade Zelda to marry him. He worked for the Barron Collier advertising agency, living in a single room at 200 Claremont Avenue in the Morningside Heights neighborhood on Manhattan's west side.

Zelda accepted his marriage proposal, but after some time and despite working at an advertising firm and writing short stories, he was unable to convince her that he would be able to support her, leading her to break off the engagement. Fitzgerald returned to his parents' house at 599 Summit Avenue, on Cathedral Hill, in St. Paul, to revise The Romantic Egotist, recast as This Side of Paradise , a semi-autobiographical account of Fitzgerald's undergraduate years at Princeton. [29] Fitzgerald was so short of money that he took up a job repairing car roofs. [24] [30] His revised novel was accepted by Scribner's in the fall of 1919 and was published on March 26, 1920 and became an instant success, selling 41,075 copies in the first year. [31] It launched Fitzgerald's career as a writer and provided a steady income suitable to Zelda's needs. They resumed their engagement and were married at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York. Their daughter and only child, Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald, was born on October 26, 1921.

"The Jazz Age" (1920s)

F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1921 F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1921.png
F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1921

Paris in the 1920s proved the most influential decade of Fitzgerald's development. Fitzgerald made several excursions to Europe, mostly 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 effusive, as many of Fitzgerald's relationships would prove to be. Hemingway did not get on well with Zelda, however, and in addition to describing her as "insane" in his memoir A Moveable Feast , [32] Hemingway claimed that Zelda "encouraged her husband to drink so as to distract Fitzgerald from his work on his novel", [32] [33] so he could work on the short stories he sold to magazines to help support their lifestyle. Like 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 his stories and novels to Hollywood studios. This "whoring", as Fitzgerald and, subsequently, Hemingway called these sales, [32] was a sore point in the two authors' friendship. Fitzgerald claimed that he would first write his stories in an 'authentic' manner, then rewrite them to put in the "twists that made them into salable magazine stories". [33]

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. Fitzgerald, Saturday evening post.png
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. (The Great Gatsby, now considered to be his masterpiece, did not become popular until after Fitzgerald's death.) 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 money to 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 February 1932, she was hospitalized at the Phipps Clinic at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. [34] During this time, Fitzgerald 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" (i.e., 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. [35] The novel did not sell well upon publication but, like the earlier Gatsby, the book's reputation has since risen significantly. [36] Fitzgerald's alcoholism and financial difficulties, in addition to Zelda's mental illness, made for difficult years in Baltimore. He was hospitalized nine times at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and his friend H. L. Mencken noted in a 1934 letter that "The case of F. Scott Fitzgerald has become distressing. He is boozing in a wild manner and has become a nuisance." [34]

Hollywood years

In 1926, Fitzgerald was invited by producer John W. Considine, Jr., to temporarily relocate to Hollywood in order to write a flapper comedy for United Artists. 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. [37] [38] In the ensuing years, Zelda became increasingly violent and emotionally distressed, and in 1936, Fitzgerald had her placed in the Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. [39]

Although he reportedly found movie work degrading, Fitzgerald continued to struggle financially and entered into a lucrative exclusive deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1937, that necessitated him moving to Hollywood, where he earned his highest annual income up to that point: $29,757.87. [40] He also began a high-profile live-in affair with movie columnist Sheilah Graham. [41] The projects Fitzgerald worked on included two weeks' unused dialog work on loanout to David Selznick for Gone with the Wind , and, for MGM, revisions on Madame Curie , for which he received no credits. His only screenplay credit is for Three Comrades. 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 1939, MGM terminated the contract, and Fitzgerald became a freelance screenwriter. [41] During his work on Winter Carnival , Fitzgerald went on an alcoholic binge and was treated by New York psychiatrist Richard H. Hoffmann. [42]

From 1939 until his death in 1940, 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. The Pat Hobby Stories were originally published in Esquire between January 1940 and July 1941, even after Fitzgerald's death. US Census records show his official address at this time to be the estate of Edward Everett Horton in Encino, California in the San Fernando Valley.

Illness and death

Fitzgerald, an alcoholic since college, became notorious during the 1920s for his extraordinarily heavy drinking which would undermine his health by the late 1930s. 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 1919, and in 1929 he had "what proved to be a tubercular hemorrhage". Some have said that the writer's hemorrhage was caused by bleeding from esophageal varices.[ citation needed ]

Fitzgerald suffered two heart attacks in the late 1930s. After the first, in Schwab's Drug Store, he was ordered by his doctor to avoid strenuous exertion. He moved in with the gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, who lived in Hollywood on North Hayworth Avenue, one block east of Fitzgerald's apartment on North Laurel Avenue. [41] Fitzgerald had two flights of stairs to climb to his apartment; Graham's was on the ground floor. On the night of December 20, 1940, Fitzgerald and Graham attended the premiere of This Thing Called Love starring Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas. As the two were leaving the Pantages Theater, Fitzgerald experienced a dizzy spell and had trouble walking; upset, he said to Graham, "They think I am drunk, don't they?" [41]

The following day, as Fitzgerald ate a candy bar and made notes in his newly arrived Princeton Alumni Weekly , [43] 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." Fitzgerald had died of a heart attack at the age of 44. Dr. Clarence H. Nelson, Fitzgerald's physician, signed the death certificate. [44] Fitzgerald's body was moved to the Pierce Brothers Mortuary. [41]

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's current grave at St. Mary's in Rockville, Maryland, inscribed with the final sentence of The Great Gatsby F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald grave.png
Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's current grave at St. Mary's in Rockville, Maryland, inscribed with the final sentence of The Great Gatsby

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. [45] [46] [47] His body was transported to Maryland, where his funeral was attended by twenty or thirty people in Bethesda; among the attendees were his only child, Frances "Scottie" Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith (then aged 19), and his editor, Maxwell Perkins.

At the time of his death, the Roman Catholic Church denied the family's request that Fitzgerald, a non-practicing Catholic, be buried in the family plot in the Catholic Saint Mary's Cemetery in Rockville, Maryland. Fitzgerald was instead buried at Rockville Union Cemetery. When Zelda Fitzgerald died in 1948, in a fire at the Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, she was originally buried next to him at Rockville Union. Only one photograph of the original gravesite is known to exist. It was taken in 1970 by Fitzgerald scholar Richard Anderson and was first published as part of an essay by fellow-scholar Bryant Mangum, "An Affair of Youth: in search of flappers, belles, and the first grave of the Fitzgeralds", in Broad Street Magazine in 2016. [48] In 1975, their daughter Scottie successfully petitioned to have the earlier decision revisited and her parents' remains were moved to the family plot in Saint Mary's. [49] [50]

Fitzgerald died before he could complete The Last Tycoon. [51] [52] 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. [53]

In 2015, an editor of The Strand Magazine discovered and published for the first time an 8,000-word manuscript, dated July 1939, of a Fitzgerald short-story titled "Temperature". [54] Long thought lost, Fitzgerald's manuscript for the story was found in the rare books and manuscript archives at Princeton University, Fitzgerald's alma mater. [55] As described by Strand, "Temperature", set in Los Angeles, tells the story of the failure, illness and decline of a once successful writer and his life among Hollywood idols, while suffering lingering fevers and indulging in light-hearted romance. [54] The protagonist is a 31-year-old self-destructive, alcoholic named Emmet Monsen, whom Fitzgerald describes in his story as "notably photogenic, slender and darkly handsome". It tells of his personal relationships as his health declines with various doctors, personal assistants, and a Hollywood actress who is his lover. "As for that current dodge 'No reference to any living character is intended' – no use even trying that", Fitzgerald writes at the beginning of the story. [55] Fitzgerald bibliographies have previously listed the story, sometimes referred to as "The Women in the House", as "unpublished", or as "Lost – mentioned in correspondence, but no surviving transcript or manuscript". [55]


Fitzgerald's work has inspired writers ever since he was first published. [56] The publication of The Great Gatsby prompted T. S. 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  ..." [57] Don Birnam, the protagonist of Charles Jackson's The Lost Weekend , says to himself, referring to The Great Gatsby, "There's no such thing ... as a flawless novel. But if there is, this is it." [58] 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". [59] 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". [60] It was written in an editorial in The New York Times after his death that Fitzgerald "was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a generation ... 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. [61]

Fitzgerald is the namesake of the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota, home of the radio broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion .




Short story collections

Short stories

Other works

Cambridge Editions

Cambridge University Press has published the complete works of F. Scott Fitzgerald in authoritative annotated editions. The Cambridge Edition runs to fifteen volumes. [64]

Cover of the first volume in the series GreatGatsby.jpg
Cover of the first volume in the series
VolumeTitleDate publishedISBN
1The Great GatsbyAugust 1991 978-0-521-40230-9
2The Last Tycoon: A WesternDecember 1993 978-0-521-40231-6
3This Side of ParadiseJanuary 1996 978-0-521-40234-7
4Flappers and PhilosophersDecember 1999 978-0-521-40236-1
5Trimalchio: An Early Version of The Great GatsbyApril 2000 978-0-521-40237-8
6Tales of the Jazz AgeAugust 2002 978-0-521-40238-5
7My Lost City: Personal Essays, 1920–1940October 2005 978-0-521-40239-2
8All the Sad Young MenJanuary 2007 978-0-521-40240-8
9The Beautiful and DamnedJune 2008 978-0-521-88366-5
10The Lost Decade: Short Stories from Esquire, 1936–1941September 2008 978-0-521-88530-0
11The Basil, Josephine, and Gwen StoriesOctober 2009 978-0-521-76973-0
12Spires and Gargoyles: Early Writings, 1909–1919March 2010 978-0-521-76592-3
13Tender Is the NightMay 2012 978-0-521-40232-3
14Taps at ReveilleMay 2014 978-0-521-76603-6
15A Change of ClassJune 2016 978-0-521-40235-4

Film adaptations of works

Fitzgerald's works have been adapted into films many times. One of the earliest Fitzgerald short stories was adapted into a 1921 silent film The Off-Shore Pirate . His short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button , was the basis for a 2008 film. Tender Is the Night was the subject of the eponymous 1962 film, and made into a television miniseries in 1985. The Beautiful and Damned was filmed in 1922 and 2010. The Great Gatsby has been the basis for numerous films of the same name, spanning nearly 90 years: 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000, and 2013 adaptations. In 1976, The Last Tycoon was filmed by Elia Kazan, with Robert de Niro, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum, Jeanne Moreau and others.

Biographies, collected letters

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).

A collection of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's scrapbooks of photographs and reviews was compiled by Bruccoli and F. Scott and Zelda's daughter Frances "Scottie" Fitzgerald (as Scottie Fitzgerald Smith) in a book The Romantic Egoists (1976).


A musical about the lives of Fitzgerald and wife Zelda Fitzgerald was composed by Frank Wildhorn titled 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.

A reworked version of Wildhorn's musical, titled Zelda – An American Love Story, with a script and lyrics by Jack Murphy and produced at Flat Rock Playhouse, [65] will had its New York premiere in 2016, presented by Marymount Manhattan College, at the National Dance Institute. [66]

The Japanese Takarazuka Revue has also created a musical adaptation of Fitzgerald's life. Titled 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 . [67]

Others include the TV movies Zelda (1993, with Timothy Hutton), F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood (1976, with Jason Miller), and F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Last of the Belles' (1974, with Richard Chamberlain).

A film based on Fitzgerald and Zelda's relationship called The Beautiful and the Damned was announced for a 2011 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 (1959) based on Graham's 1958 memoir by the same name. [41] The film depicts Fitzgerald (played by Gregory Peck) during his final years as a Hollywood scenarist and his relationship with Ms. Graham (played by Deborah Kerr), with whom he had a years-long affair, while his wife, Zelda, was institutionalized.

Another film, Last Call (2002) (Jeremy Irons plays Fitzgerald) describes the relationship of Fitzgerald and Frances Kroll Ring (Neve Campbell) 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.

Actors portraying Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway appear in the play Villa America by British playwright Crispin Whittell, which premiered at Williamstown Theatre Festival (2007).

Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill appear briefly as Fitzgerald and Zelda in Woody Allen's 2011 feature film Midnight in Paris . Guy Pearce and Vanessa Kirby portray the couple in 2016's Genius .

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald appear alongside Ernest Hemingway, Hadley Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound in the novel The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. [68] The novel was adapted by Sheila Yeger for a 2011 BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama . [69]

Stewart O'Nan's 2015 novel West of Sunset presents a detailed fictional account of Fitzgerald's final years as a Hollywood scriptwriter and his relationship with gossip columnist Sheilah Graham.

Amazon Prime's 2015 television series Z: The Beginning of Everything recounts Fitzgerald's relationship with Zelda, as well as his writing career. It stars David Hoflin as Fitzgerald and Christina Ricci as Zelda.


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  69. This radio adaptation of The Paris Wife featured the actor Gerard Cooke as F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Related Research Articles

<i>The Great Gatsby</i> 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional towns of West Egg and East Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession with the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald's magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.

Zelda Fitzgerald Novelist, wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Zelda Fitzgerald was an American socialite, novelist, painter and wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald was the only child of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. She was a writer, a journalist, and a prominent member of the Democratic Party. She was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1992.

Maxwell Perkins book editor

William Maxwell Evarts "Max" Perkins, was an American book editor, best remembered for discovering authors Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe.

<i>The Last Tycoon</i> novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Last Tycoon is an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In 1941, it was published posthumously under this title, as prepared by his friend Edmund Wilson, a critic and writer. According to Publishers Weekly, the novel is "[g]enerally considered a roman a clef," with its lead character, Monroe Stahr, modeled after historic film producer Irving Thalberg. The story follows Stahr's rise to power in Hollywood, and his conflicts with rival Pat Brady, a character based on prominent studio head Louis B. Mayer.

Matthew Joseph Bruccoli was an American professor of English at the University of South Carolina. He was the preeminent expert on F. Scott Fitzgerald. He also wrote about writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe and John O'Hara, and was editor of the Dictionary of Literary Biography.

<i>This Side of Paradise</i> novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Side of Paradise is the debut novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was published in 1920. Taking its title from a line of Rupert Brooke's poem Tiare Tahiti, the book examines the lives and morality of post–World War I youth. Its protagonist Amory Blaine is an attractive student at Princeton University who dabbles in literature. The novel explores the theme of love warped by greed and status seeking. The novel famously helped F. Scott Fitzgerald gain Zelda Sayre's hand in marriage; its publication was her condition of acceptance.

<i>Tender Is the Night</i> novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tender Is the Night is the fourth and final novel completed by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was first published in Scribner's Magazine between January and April 1934 in four issues. The title is taken from the poem "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats.

<i>The Beautiful and Damned</i> 1922 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Beautiful and Damned, first published by Scribner's in 1922, is F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel. It explores and portrays New York café society and the American Eastern elite during the Jazz Age before and after "the Great War" and in the early 1920s. As in his other novels, Fitzgerald's characters in this novel are complex, especially with respect to marriage and intimacy. The work generally is considered to be based on Fitzgerald's relationship and marriage with his wife Zelda Fitzgerald.

<i>The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald</i>

The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald is a compilation of 43 short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli and published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1989. It begins with a foreword by Charles Scribner II and a preface written by Bruccoli, after which the stories follow in chronological order of publication.

"Winter Dreams" is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald that first appeared in Metropolitan Magazine in December 1922, and was collected in All the Sad Young Men in 1926. It is considered one of Fitzgerald's finest stories and is frequently anthologized. In the Fitzgerald canon, it is considered to be in the "Gatsby-cluster," as many of its themes were later expanded upon in his famous novel The Great Gatsby in 1925.

Daisy Buchanan fictional character from The Great Gatsby

Daisy Fay Buchanan is a fictional character in F. Scott Fitzgerald's magnum opus The Great Gatsby (1925). In the novel, Daisy is depicted as a married woman with a daughter who is reunited with her former lover Jay Gatsby, arousing the jealousy of her husband, Tom. She is widely believed to have been based on Ginevra King. She has appeared in various media related to the novel, including feature films and plays.

Ginevra King American socialite

Ginevra King was an American socialite and debutante and was the inspiration for several characters in the novels and short stories of American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald.

<i>All the Sad Young Men</i>

All the Sad Young Men is the third collection of short stories written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published by Scribners in February 1926.

<i>The Vegetable</i>, or <i>From President to Postman</i> play written by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Vegetable, or From President to Postman is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald that he developed into a play.

"The Rich Boy" is a short story by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was included in his 1926 collection All the Sad Young Men.

F. Scott Fitzgerald bibliography

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigmatic writings of the Jazz Age. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost Generation" of the 1920s. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories that treat themes of youth and promise along with age and despair.

"Absolution" is a short story by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was included in his 1926 collection All the Sad Young Men.

Frances Kroll Ring was the last secretary and personal assistant to F. Scott Fitzgerald before his death. She worked for him for 20 months in 1939 and 1940. She typed drafts of The Last Tycoon and served as a sounding board as he worked on the story; she also did the same for two other projects he was working on, the Pat Hobby stories and a screenplay based on his story “Babylon Revisited.”

"The Adjuster" is a short story written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. The story appears in Fitzgerald's third collection of short stories All the Sad Young Men, published by Scribners in February 1926. The story depicts the troubled relationship of married couple Luella and Charles Hemple, living in New York City in 1925.


Further reading