In Love and Anger: A View of the 'Sixties

By Andrew Sinclair | Go to book overview

2
A CRACK-UP

Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but then blows that do the dramatic side of the work-- the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside--the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don't show their effect all at once. There is another sort of blow that comes from within --that you don't feel until it's too late to do anything about it, until you realize with finality that in some regard you will never be as good a man again. The first sort of breakage seems to happen quick--the second kind happens almost without your knowing it but is realized suddenly indeed.

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. Life was something you dominated if you were any good. Life yielded easily to intelligence and effort, or to what proportion could be mustered of both. It seemed a romantic business to be a successful literary man--

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, The Crack-Up

-27-

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In Love and Anger: A View of the 'Sixties
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • 1 - The Soft Establishment 1
  • 2 - A Crack-Up 27
  • 3 - An American Awareness 49
  • 4 - The Terrible Obligation of Hope 71
  • 5 - Just to be on the Safe Side 89
  • 6 - The Illusion of Competition 115
  • 7 - Shedding One's Sickness 133
  • 8 - Walking Long 157
  • 9 - A Trade Risk 177
  • 10 - Revolt and Reaction 193
  • 11 - A Child for the Revolution 213
  • 12 - And It Still Is News 233
  • 13 - To Travel Without Hope 247
  • 14 - I Love You Beset 263
  • 15 - Won't Get Fooled 277
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