F. Scott Fitzgerald

Summary

The “ru” ID entered is not recognized by the system. Use a valid entity ID.Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (The “ru” ID entered is not recognised by the system. Use a valid entity ID.) was an American fiction writer whose works helped illustrate the extravagance and excess of the Jazz Age. Although he achieved popularity, fame, and fortune during his lifetime, he did not enjoy much success after his death. Perhaps the most notable member of the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s, Fitzgerald is now known as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. He completed four novels: Beyond Paradise, The Beautiful and the Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Night. A fifth, The Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Four collections of his short stories were published, as well as 164 short stories in various magazines during his lifetime.

Born in 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to a wealthy middle-class family, Fitzgerald was named after a cousin of his, Francis Scott Key, but was always known as Scott Fitzgerald. He was also named after one of his deceased sisters, Louise Scott Fitzgerald, one of two who died shortly before the writer”s birth. “Well, three months before I was born,” he wrote as an adult, “my mother lost her other two children … I guess that”s when I became a writer.”

His father, Edward Fitzgerald, had Irish and English-American roots, and moved to St. Paul in Maryland after the American Civil War, and was described as “a quiet gentleman with fine Southern manners.” His mother, Mary “Molly” McQuillan Fitzgerald, was the daughter of an Irish-American immigrant who acquired her wealth from the wholesale produce business. One of Edward Fitzgerald”s cousins, Mary Surratt, is said to have been hanged in 1865 for conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.

Scott Fitzgerald spent the first decade of his childhood largely in Buffalo, New York, occasionally in West Virginia (1898-1901 and 1903-1908) where his father worked for Procter & Gamble, and for a short time in Syracuse, New York, (he took a job at Procter & Gamble after the business failed. His Catholic parents sent Fitzgerald to two Catholic schools west of Buffalo, first Holy Angels Convent (1903-1904, now closed) and then Nardin Academy (1905-1908). His formative years in Buffalo revealed him as a boy of unusual intelligence and a special interest in literature. His loving mother ensured that her son had all the advantages of a wealthy middle-class family. The inheritance of an aunt”s fortune and donations provided the family with a comfortable lifestyle. In an unconventional style of his parents” own choosing, Fitzgerald could attend classes at Holy Angels for only half a day-and he could choose which half.

In 1908, his father was fired from Procter & Gamble, and the family returned to Minnesota, where Fitzgerald was enrolled at St. Paul Academy from 1908 to 1911. When he was 13, his first piece of writing-a detective story-was published in the school magazine. In 1911, when Fitzgerald was 15, his parents sent him to the Newman School, a prestigious Catholic college in Hackensack, New Jersey. Fitzgerald played for Newman”s football team in 1912. At Newman, he met Father Sigourney Fay, who noticed his budding talent for writing and encouraged his literary ambitions.

After graduating from the Newman School in 1913, Fitzgerald decided to remain in New Jersey to continue his artistic development at Princeton University. He tried out for the football team, but was cut on the very first day of practice. He devoted himself entirely to Princeton to hone his writing, and became friends with future critics or writers Edmund Wilson and John Peale Bishop. He wrote for the Princeton Triangle Club, the Nassau Lit, and the Princeton Tiger. He was also involved in the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, which owned Nassau Lit. His involvement in the Triangle-a kind of musical comedy society-led to his application for one of his novels to Charles Scribner”s Sons where the publisher praised the book but ultimately did not accept it. He received invitations to apply from four of the University clubs, and he chose the University Cottage Club (where Fitzgerald”s desk and writing materials are still displayed in the library) the club known for its ideal of the stylish gentleman.”

Fitzgerald”s goals for writing at Princeton put him on the list of those at risk of being expelled, and in 1917 he dropped out of college to enlist. During the winter of 1917, Fitzgerald was stationed at Fort Leavenworth and was a student of future President and Army General Dwight Eisenhower whom he initially disliked. Worried that he might die in the War without fulfilling his literary dreams, Fitzgerald hastily wrote The Romantic Egoist a few weeks before he was ready to leave-and although Scribners rejected it, the reviewer noted the originality and encouraged Fitzgerald to enter more books in the future.

While at Princeton, Fitzgerald met the debonair and famous Ginevra King on her way home to St. Paul. King and Fitzgerald had a romantic relationship between 1915 and 1917. Immediately smitten with her, according to Mizner, Fitzgerald “remained devoted to Ginevra for as long as she would let him,” and wrote to her “daily, expressive and rambling letters, which all young lovers write.” She would become the inspiration for the character Isabelle Borgé, Amory Blaine”s first love in Beyond Paradise, Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, and several other characters in his short stories and novels. After their relationship ended in 1917, Fitzgerald asked Ginevra to destroy the letters he sent her. He never destroyed the letters he received from King. After his death in 1940, his daughter “Scottie” sent the letters back to King, and she kept them until her death and never showed them to anyone.

Fitzgerald was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry and was assigned to Camp Sheridan near Montgomery, Alabama. While at a country club, Fitzgerald met and fell in love with Zelda Sayre, daughter of Alabama Supreme Court Justice Anthony D. Sayre and the “golden girl,” as Fitzgerald called her, of Montgomery society. The war ended in 1918, before Fitzgerald was sent to Europe. Discharged, he moved to New York City, hoping for a career in advertising that would be lucrative enough to make Zelda take him as her husband. He worked for the Barron Collier advertising agency, living in a single room at 200 Claremont Avenue in the Morningside Heights neighborhood on Manhattan”s west side.

Zelda accepted his marriage proposal, but after some time, despite his job at the advertising firm and the stories he wrote, he couldn”t convince her that he would be able to support her financially, causing her to break off the engagement.Fitzgerald returned to his parents” home at 599 Summit Avenue in St. Paul to revise The Romantic Egoist, retitled Beyond Paradise, a semi-autobiographical account of Fitzgerald”s years at Princeton. Fitzgerald was so strapped for cash that he took a job as an automobile ceiling mechanic. His revised novel was accepted at Scribner”s in the fall of 1919 and was published on March 26, 1920, becoming an instant success, selling 41,075 copies in its first year. It launched Fitzgerald”s career as a writer and provided a steady income commensurate with Zelda”s needs. They resumed their engagement and were married at St. Patrick”s Cathedral in New York City. Their daughter and only child, Frances Scott “Scottie” Fitzgerald, was born on October 26, 1921.

Paris in the 1920s proved to be the most influential chapter in Fitzgerald”s development. He undertook several trips to Europe, mostly to Paris and the French Riviera, and became friends with many members of the American expatriate community in Paris, most notably Ernest Hemingway. Fitzgerald”s friendship with Hemingway was a rather exuberant one, like many of Fitzgerald”s relationships. Hemingway did not get on well with Zelda, however, and in addition to describing her as “mad” in his memoir A Moveable Feast, Hemingway also said that Zelda “encouraged her husband to drink to distract Fitzgerald from working on his book” in order to write the short stories for magazines to earn the money to support their expenses. Like most professional writers at the time, Fitzgerald supplemented his income by writing short stories for magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, Collier”s Weekly, and Esquire, and sold his stories and novels to Hollywood studios. This “whoring,” as Fitzgerald and, later, Hemingway called these sales, was a sensitive topic in the discussions of the two writer friends. Fitzgerald said that he initially wrote his stories in an ”authentic” manner, then rewrote them to have ”twists and turns and turn them into saleable stories for magazines”.

Although Fitzgerald”s passion was in writing novels, only his first work sold well enough to support the opulent lifestyle he and Zelda had adopted as New York celebrities. (The Great Gatsby, now considered his masterpiece, didn”t become popular until after Fitzgerald”s death.) Because of this lifestyle, as well as Zelda”s medical bills, Fitzgerald constantly struggled financially and borrowed frequently from his literary agent, Harold Ober, and Scribner”s publisher, Maxwell Perkins. When Ober decided to stop lending Fitzgerald money, the writer cut ties with his agent and lifelong friend. (Fitzgerald offered him a warm and apologetic tribute in this sense in the story “Financing Finnegan.”)

Fitzgerald began work on his fourth novel in the late 1920s, but again ran into financial difficulties, and in 1930 Zelda was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her emotional health remained fragile for the rest of her life. In February 1932, she was hospitalized at the Phipps Clinic in Baltimore, Maryland. During this time, Fitzgerald rented the La Paix residence in suburban Towson, Maryland to work on his book, the story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychiatrist who falls in love and marries Nicole Warren, one of his patients. The book has had several versions, the first of which was a matricide story. Some critics saw the book as a veiled autobiographical novel chronicling Fitzgerald”s problems with his wife, the corrosive effects of wealth and decadent lifestyle, his own selfishness and self-confidence, and his problem with alcohol. Indeed, Fitzgerald was extremely protective of his “material” (n.t., their life together). When Zelda wrote and submitted to Scribner”s his own fictionalized version of their lives in Europe, Save Me the Waltz, Fitzgerald was nervous and managed to make a few changes before the book was published, and convinced the doctors to deprive Zelda from writing more about what he called his “material,” which included their relationship. His book was finally published in 1934 as The Gentle Night. Critics who waited nine years for the sequel to The Great Gatsby had mixed opinions of the novel. Most were surprised by the three-act structure, and many felt Fitzgerald did not live up to his own expectations. The novel did not sell well after publication, but, as with Gatsby, the book”s reputation grew significantly. Fitzgerald”s alcoholism and financial problems, as well as Zelda”s mental illness, led to difficult years in Baltimore. He was hospitalized nine times at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and his friend H. L. Mencken noted in a 1934 letter that “F. Scott Fitzgerald became depressed. He drank in a wild manner and became a nuisance.”

In 1926, Fitzgerald was invited by producer John W. Considine, Jr. to a temporary relocation to Hollywood to write a flapper-style comedy for United Artists. Scott and Zelda moved into a studio-owned bungalow the following January, and Fitzgerald subsequently met Lois Moran, with whom he began an affair. The starlet became a temporary muse for the writer and caused him to rewrite the female character Rosemary Hoyt, one of the main characters in The Night”s Gentle, (who had been male in earlier versions) to almost exactly resemble her. The trip magnified the couple”s marital difficulties, and they left Hollywood after two months. Over the next few years, Zelda became extremely violent and emotionally exhausted, and in 1936, Fitzgerald committed her to Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina.

Although he found film work demeaning, Fitzgerald continued to struggle financially and signed an exclusive contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1937, obligating him to move to Hollywood, where he earned his highest income to that point: $29,757.87. He began a public affair with film columnist Sheilah Graham. Projects Fitzgerald worked on included two weeks of unused dialogue, lent to David O. Selznick for Gone with the Wind, and, for MGM, revisions to Madame Curie, for which he was not mentioned in the film”s box. His only screenplay mention is for Three Comrades (1938 film). All the while, he was also working on his fifth and final novel, The Last Tycoon”s Love, published posthumously as The Last Tycoon, based on executive producer Irving Thalberg. In 1939, MGM terminated his contract, and Fitzgerald became a freelance screenwriter. During his work on Winter Carnival, Fitzgerald became an alcoholic and was treated by New York psychiatrist Richard H. Hoffmann.

From 1939 until his death in 1940, Fitzgerald self-satirized through the character of Pat Hobby, a Hollywood writer, in a collection of 17 short stories, later titled “The Pat Hobby Stories,” which were highly praised by reviewers. The Pat Hobby Stories were originally published in Esquire between January 1940 and July 1941, even after Fitzgerald”s death. U.S. Census records show that his address during that period was the residence of Edward Everett Horton of Encino, California in the San Fernando Valley.

Fitzgerald, an alcoholic since college, became notorious in the 1920s for his extraordinary drinking binges, which would compromise his health in the late 1930s. According to Zelda”s biographer Nancy Milford, Fitzgerald said he contracted tuberculosis, but Milford wrote that this was just a pretext to hide his drinking problems. However, expert on Fitzgerald”s writings Matthew J. Bruccoli claims that Fitzgerald did, in fact, have recurrent tuberculosis, and according to Milford, Fitzgerald”s biographer Arthur Mizener said that Fitzgerald suffered a moderate bout of tuberculosis in 1919, and in 1929 he had “what turned out to be a tubercular hemorrhage.” Some have said the writer”s hemorrhage was caused by bleeding esophageal varices.

Fitzgerald suffered two heart attacks in the late 1930s. After the first, which he had in Schwab”s Grocery, he was ordered by his doctor to avoid strenuous exertion. He moved in with gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, who lived in Hollywood on North Hayworth Avenue, a block away from Fitzgerald”s North Laurel Avenue apartment. Fitzgerald had to climb two flights of stairs to get to his apartment; Graham lived on the ground floor. On the evening of December 20, 1940, Fitzgerald and Graham attended the premiere of This Thing Called Love starring Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas. As the two left the Pantages Cinema, Fitzgerald began to feel dizzy and had difficulty walking; upset, he told Graham, “They think I”m drunk, don”t they?”

The next day, while Fitzgerald was eating a chocolate and writing in his new Princeton Alumni Weekly, Graham saw him jump out of his chair, grab the prickly pear, gasp, and fall to the floor. She ran to her landlord, Harry Culver (founder of Culver City). After entering the apartment to give Fitzgerald first aid, he said, “I”m afraid he”s dead.” Fitzgerald died of a heart attack at the age of 44. Dr. Clarence H. Nelson, Fitzgerald”s doctor, signed the death certificate. Fitzgerald”s body was moved to Pierce Brothers Mortuary.

Among those attending the wake was Dorothy Parker, who allegedly wept and muttered “poor fool,” a line from Jay Gatsby”s funeral in Fitzgerald”s novel The Great Gatsby. His body was taken to Maryland, where about 20-30 people attended the funeral in Bethesda; among those attending were his only child, Frances “Scottie” Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith (then 19), and his publisher, Maxwell Perkins.

At the time of his death, the Roman Catholic Church denied the family”s request to bury Fitzgerald, a lapsed Catholic, in the family vault at St. Mary”s Catholic Cemetery in Rockville, Maryland. Fitzgerald was instead buried in Rockville Union Cemetery. When Zelda Fitzgerald died in 1948 in a fire at Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, she was originally buried also at Rockville Union. Only one photograph of the original grave is known to exist. It was taken in 1970 by Fitzgerald writings expert Richard Anderson, and was first published as part of friend-expert Bryant Mangum”s essay, “An Affair of Youth: in search of flappers, belles, and the first grave of the Fitzgeralds,” in Broad Street Magazine in 2016. In 1975, their daughter Scottie successfully petitioned for a review of the earlier decision, and her parents” remains were moved to the family vault in Saint Mary”s.

Fitzgerald died before he finished The Last Tycoon. His manuscript, which included additional notes for the as yet unwritten part of the novel”s story, was edited by his friend, the literary critic Edmund Wilson, and published in 1941 as The Last Tycoon. In 1994, the book was retitled under the original name The Last Tycoon”s Love, which is now considered Fitzgerald”s preferred title.

In 2015, an editor at The Strand Magazine discovered and published for the first time an 8,000-word manuscript, dated July 1939, of a short story written by Fitzgerald called “Temperature.” Long thought lost, this manuscript was found among the old books and manuscript archives at Princeton University, Fitzgerald”s alma mater. As described by Strand, “Temperature” is set in Los Angeles and follows the story of the failure, illness and decline of a famous former writer and his life among Hollywood idols, while constantly suffering from fever and engaging in brief romantic relationships. The protagonist is a self-destructive 31-year-old alcoholic named Emmet Monsen, whom Fitzgerald describes in his story as “quite photogenic, slim and mysterious”. His personal relationships are shown, while his health is undermined by several doctors, personal assistants, and a Hollywood actress who is also his girlfriend. “I”d like to dodge the ”No resemblance to any living person is intended” – but there”s no point in even trying,” Fitzgerald writes at the beginning of the story. Fitzgerald”s bibliographers have previously listed the story as having the name “Woman of the House”, as “unpublished”, or as “Lost – mentioned in correspondence, but no transcript or manuscript exists”.

Fitzgerald”s work has inspired writers since it was first published. The publication of The Great Gatsby prompted T. S. Eliot to note, in a letter to Fitzgerald, “It seems to me to be the first step taken by American fiction since Henry James …” Don Birnam, the protagonist of The Lost Weekend written by Charles Jackson, says to himself, referring to The Great Gatsby, “There is no such thing … a flawless novel. But if there were, this would be it.” In letters from the 1940s, J. D. Salinger expressed admiration for Fitzgerald”s work, and his biographer Ian Hamilton wrote that Salinger thought of himself, for a time, as “Fitzgerald”s successor.” Richard Yates, a writer often compared to Fitzgerald, called The Great Gatsby “the most flourishing novel he had ever read … a miraculous talent … a triumph of technique”. After his death, it was written in an editorial published in The New York Times that Fitzgerald “was better than he thought he was, for, in a literary sense, he invented a generation … He interpreted and even guided them, for toward the end they saw their noble and different freedom threatened with destruction.”

In the 21st century, millions of copies of The Great Gatsby and his other works have been sold, and Gatsby, a perennial bestseller, is required reading in many high schools and universities.

The Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota, which bears his name, is the home of A Prairie Home Companion radio show.

Cambridge editions

Cambridge University Press has published the complete works of F. Scott Fitzgerald in author-annotated editions. The Cambridge edition contains 15 volumes.

Fitzgerald”s works have been screened several times. One of the first adapted stories was in 1921 in the silent film The Off-Shore Pirate. The short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, was the basis for the 2008 film. The Night”s Gentle was the basis for the 1962 film of the same name, as well as a 1985 TV mini-series. The Beautiful and Damned was filmed in 1922 and 2010. The Great Gatsby has been the inspiration for numerous eponymous films spanning 90 years: 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000, and 2013. In 1976, The Last Tycoon was filmed under the direction of Elia Kazan, with Robert de Niro, Tony Curtis, Robert Mitchum and Jeanne Moreau in the lead roles.

The standard biographies of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are Arthur Mizener”s The Far Side of Paradise (1951, 1965) and Matthew Bruccoli”s Some Sort of Epic Grandeur (1981).

Fitzgerald”s letters have been published in various editions such as Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, ed. Jackson R. Bryer and Cathy W. Banks (Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Matthew Bruccoli and Margaret Duggan (1980), and F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters, ed. Matthew Bruccoli (1994).

A collection of photographs and reviews of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald was compiled by Bruccoli and the couple”s daughter Frances “Scottie” Fitzgerald in the book The Romantic Egoists (1976).

A musical about the life of Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda Fitzgerald was written by Frank Wildhorn and titled Waiting for the Moon, formerly known as Zelda, followed by Scott & Zelda: The Other Side Of Paradise. The musical begins with when the two first met, goes through Fitzgerald”s career, their lives together (the good and bad parts), and ends with their deaths. The musical had its world premiere at the Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center on July 20, 2005 and ran through July 31, 2005. The roles of the two starred veteran Broadway actors Jarrod Emick – Fitzgerald and Lauren Kennedy – Zelda.

A reworked version of Wildhorn”s musical Zelda – An American Love Story, with a script and lyrics written by Jack Murphy and produced by Flat Rock Playhouse, premiered in New York in 2016, and was presented by Marymount Manhattan College at the National Dance Institute.

Japan”s Takarazuka Revue has also created a musical about Fitzgerald”s life. Entitled The Last Party: S. Fitzgerald”s Last Day, it was produced in 2004 and 2006. Yuhi Oozora and Yūga Yamato starred as Fitzgerald, while Zelda was portrayed by Kanami Ayano and Rui Shijou.

Fitzgerald was played by Malcolm Gets in the 1994 film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.

Altele filme includ cele pentru TV Zelda (1993, cu Timothy Hutton), F. Scott Fitzgerald la Hollywood (1976, cu Jason Miller), și F. Scott Fitzgerald și “The Last of the Belles” (1974, cu Richard Chamberlain).

A film based on the relationship between Fitzgerald and Zelda, entitled The Beautiful and the Damned, has been announced for a 2011 release, directed by John Curran.

Fitzgerald”s final years and his affair with Sheilah Graham, the gossip columnist, formed the basis of Beloved Infidel (1959) based on Graham”s 1958 memoir of the same name. The film depicts Fitzgerald (played by Gregory Peck) during his final years as a Hollywood screenwriter and his relationship with Graham (played by Deborah Kerr), with whom he had an affair for many years while Zelda was hospitalized.

Another film, Last Call (2002) (Jeremy Irons as Fitzgerald) depicts Fitzgerald”s relationship with Frances Kroll Ring (played by Neve Campbell) during the last two years of his life. The film was based on Frances Kroll Ring”s memoir Against the Current: As I Remember F. Scott Fitzgerald (1985), which records her experiences as Fitzgerald”s secretary for the last 20 months of his life.

Actors playing Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway appear in British playwright Crispin Whittell”s play Villa America, which premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (2007).

Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill appear briefly as Fitzgerald and Zelda in Woody Allen”s 2011 film Midnight in Paris. Guy Pearce and Vanessa Kirby play the couple in the 2016 film Genius.

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald appear alongside Ernest Hemingway, Hadley Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound in the novel The Paris Wife written by Paula McLain. The novel was adapted by Sheila Yeger in a 2011 episode of BBC Radio 4”s Woman”s Hour Drama.

The 2015 novel West of Sunset by Stewart O”Nan presents a fictionalized account of Fitzgerald”s final years as a Hollywood screenwriter, as well as his affair with tabloid journalist Sheilah Graham.

Z: The Beginning of Everything, a 2015 series produced by Amazon Prime, chronicles Fitzgerald”s relationship with Zelda as well as his life as a writer. David Hoflin stars as Fitzgerald and Christina Ricci plays Zelda.

Sources

  1. F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. F. Scott Fitzgerald