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F. Scott Fitzgerald

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F. Scott Fitzgerald. (1896-1940). Biography. Born as Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald in St. Paul Minnesota on September 24, 1896 Attended Catholic prep schools in St. Paul as well as New Jersey Member of the Princeton class of 1917

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  • Born as Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald in St. Paul Minnesota on September 24, 1896
  • Attended Catholic prep schools in St. Paul as well as New Jersey
  • Member of the Princeton class of 1917
  • Unlikely to graduate, Fitzgerald decides to join the army in 1917
    • Fitzgerald neglected his studies, but was a frequent contributor to school humor magazines while attending Princeton.
  • Because of his belief that he would lose his life in the war, he writes his first work called The Romantic Egoist.
    • This is rejected by publishers twice
  • While assigned to Camp Sheridan, near Montgomery, Alabama, he fell in love with eighteen-year-old Zelda Sayre, the youngest daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge.
    • The war ended before he was sent overseas.
    • Fitzgerald and Zelda got engaged and moved to New York City
  • While in New York, Fitzgerald worked in the advertisement business
    • Zelda was not willing to live on such a meager salary and broke off their engagement
  • In 1919, Fitzgerald quit his job, moved back to St. Paul and finished his third revision of The Romantic Egoist.
    • Finally this was published by Scriveners as This Side of Paradise
    • This marks the beginning of his career as a writer.
  • To sustain his lifestyle, Fitzgerald wrote many short stories.
  • When This Side of Paradise debuted in 1920, Fitzgerald became an overnight success.
    • A week later he married Zelda in New York
  • Fitzgerald endeavored to earn a solid literary reputation, but his playboy image impeded the proper assessment of his work.
    • He became an alcoholic, but contrary to popular belief, he never wrote while drinking.
      • His work was always painstakingly revised and edited through much time and effort on his part.
  • Many connections between his life and his works can be traced. He constantly writes about love and success.
    • When critics objected to Fitzgerald’s concern with love and success, his response was: “But, my God! it was my material, and it was all I had to deal with.”
  • In France during 1924, he wrote The Great Gatsby.
    • While in France, their marriage was damaged by Zelda’s involvement with a French naval aviator.
  • The Great Gatsby marked a striking advance in Fitzgerald’s technique, utilizing a complex structure and a controlled narrative point of view.
  • Fitzgerald’s achievement received critical praise, but sales of Gatsby were disappointing, though the stage and movie rights brought additional income.
  • During these years in France, Zelda Fitzgerald’s unconventional behavior became increasingly eccentric.
  • They returned to America to continue his writing.
  • Fitzgerald was not among the highest-paid writers of his time; his novels earned comparatively little, and most of his income came from 160 magazine stories.
  • The 1936-1937 period is known as “the crack-up” from the title of an essay Fitzgerald wrote in 1936.
    • Ill, drunk, in debt, and unable to write commercial stories, he lived in hotels in the region near Asheville, North Carolina, where in 1936 Zelda Fitzgerald entered Highland Hospital.
  • Fitzgerald went to Hollywood alone in the summer of 1937 with a six-month Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer screenwriting contract at $1,000 a week.
  • After MGM dropped his option at the end of 1938, Fitzgerald worked as a freelance script writer and wrote short-short stories for Esquire.
  • He began his Hollywood novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, in 1939 and had written more than half of a working draft when he died of a heart attack in a friend’s apartment on December 21, 1940.
fitzgerald s legacy
Fitzgerald’s Legacy
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald died believing himself a failure.
  • The obituaries were condescending, and he seemed destined for literary obscurity.
  • In the 1960s he had achieved a secure place among America’s enduring writers.
  • The Great Gatsby, a work that seriously examines the theme of aspiration, becomes a classic in its depiction of the pursuit of the American Dream.
  • Jazz Age partier who becomes a hero, mainly because of his ability to hope.
  • The Perversion of the American Dream
  • Hope
  • Disillusionment
  • The Skewed Morals of the Upper class
  • The Inadequacy of Money/ Wealth
  • Mutability and Loss
  • Success
the roaring 20 s
“The Roaring 20’s”
  • “It was an age of miracle; it was an age of art; it was an age of excess; and it was an age of satire.”
  • Affluence and debauchery were seen as central to American life.
  • Money became the main goal of Americans.
  • Morality took a back seat to pleasure.