The Making of This Side of Paradise

By James L. W. West III | Go to book overview

Introduction

...to write it took three months; to conceive it -- three minutes; to collect the data in it -- all my life.

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald The Author's Apology

This book is a study of the gestation, composition, publication, reception, and textual history of F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel, This Side of Paradise. The novel occupies an important place in Fitzgerald's career. Its lively reception and commercial success launched him as the "Prophet of the Jazz Age," the spokesman for his generation, and This Side of Paradise is one of the major reasons for his fame today. The novel is still read because it is at once dated and ageless. It was very much a product of its own times -- the first (and still the most faithful) chronicle of American youth in transition from the nineteenth century into the twentieth. Fitzgerald recorded carefully the current fads of speech, behavior, dance, dress, and literature; and the novel is a period piece, in the best sense of that term. The novel is also an ageless revelation of the difficulties faced by a gifted aesthete who must grow and mature in a society which offers him no functional place. Amory Blaine, Fitzgerald's hero, searches throughout the novel for a proper stance toward the problems that face every talented

-xi-

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The Making of This Side of Paradise
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Beginnings November 1917-July 1919 3
  • 2 - The Romantic Egotist 23
  • 3 - The Education of a Personage 43
  • 4 - Grammarian, Typist, and Editor 83
  • 5 - This Side of Paradise 99
  • Appendixes 121
  • Index 139
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