An F. Scott Fitzgerald Encyclopedia

An F. Scott Fitzgerald Encyclopedia

An F. Scott Fitzgerald Encyclopedia

An F. Scott Fitzgerald Encyclopedia

Synopsis

F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the most challenging authors of American literature. Known primarily as the author of The Great Gatsby (1925) and some short fiction, he actually wrote several novels, about 180 stories, and a number of plays, film scenarios, and essays. This reference book includes hundreds of alphabetically arranged entries for Fitzgerald's works, characters, family members, friends, and acquaintances. The volume begins with a chronology that traces Fitzgerald's rise from obscurity with the publication of This Side of Paradise (1920), his studio work and travels, and his lapse into alcoholism and financial ruin. The entries that follow present the essential action in his novels, short stories, plays, and poems; identify all named fictional characters and comment on their significance; and provide brief biographical sketches for persons who figured prominently in his life and career. Many of the entries provide bibliographical information, and the volume closes with a bibliography of the most important general works on Fitzgerald and his works. A thorough index and extensive cross references direct the reader to the copious information in this essential reference book.

Excerpt

F. Scott Fitzgerald is internationally known as the author of The Great Gatsby, which is firmly established as a twentieth-century literary classic, and as the author of several short stories, notably Absolution, Babylon Revisited, Crazy Sunday, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, May Day, The Rich Boy, and Winter Dreams, all of which have been widely anthologized. He is also celebrated as a symbol of the Jazz Age and an eponym of the Roaring Twenties, that grand, tragic, pathetic era in American history that lasted from 1918 until shortly after the Crash and the beginning of the Great Depression. Fitzgerald's wife, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, also participated in that gaudy age, which featured other attractive but dangerously irresponsible "flappers."

Less well known are Fitzgerald other novels, including This Side of Paradise, which started his meteoric rise to sparkling prominence, and Tender Is the Night, which among other things dramatizes his fall, caused by his ruinous but sometimes delightful personality quirks.

Delightful, yes. As a freshman member of the Dartmouth College Class of 1942, I well remember waiting on the handsome Fitzgerald's table at the Hanover Inn during his alcoholic appearance at our Winter Carnival in February 1939. With chagrin, I also remember having to be told later who he was, because I did not know him from Walter Wanger or Budd Schulberg, also there from Hollywood. It was still later before I began to read, appreciate, and then revere his magic prose, somewhat after the Fitzgerald revival began in the 1950s. When I highlighted Fitzgerald in my undergraduate lecture course, titled The Roaring Twenties, beginning in the 1970s at the University of Pittsburgh, he was the most popular figure among the dozens we considered.

Still less well known is the fact that Fitzgerald, despite personal and professional difficulties, was almost constantly productive and that in a literary career effectively beginning in 1919, when he turned professional, and ending with his death only twenty-one years later, he wrote five novels, about 180 short stories . . .

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