F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Man and His Work

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Man and His Work

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Man and His Work

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Man and His Work

Excerpt

". . . the stamp that goes into my books so that people can read it blind like Braille."

-- FITZGERALD: Notebooks --

When you go back now to the old records and reviews from the twenties -- back to the yellowing newspaper gossip about Scott and Zelda jumping out of sheer exuberance into the fountain outside the Plaza; the condescending literary columns that once glittered with all the paste jewels of the period but are now as dim as the stone plaque in Cartier's commemorating the visit of Queen Marie of Roumania; the deathless views of the Independent in 1925 that The Great Gatsby is another of Fitzgerald's "sophisticated juveniles" or Mrs. Isabel Paterson's historic pronouncement that "it is a book of the season only" -- your first thought, actually, is how alive to his quality as a writer, how generous to his every achievement, Fitzgerald's critics were then.

Of course they thought him a great big kid and recklessly wasteful of his talent. And inevitably, his personal legend interested them as much as his books did. With his uncannily representative good looks -- "Scott really looks . . . as the undergraduate would like to look," John C. Mosher noted about him in The New Yorker -- his equally vivid wife, his instant success as "the voice of the postwar generation," his violent delight in the "gorgeous" twenties, he could no more help arousing attention and endless gossip than did the Jay Gatsby in whose brain "a universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out. . . ." Everything about him was on our most . . .

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