Thursday, September 24, 2009

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940)

Oh, I dearly love this man, this writer. I've spent a fair bit of my life reading his books, reading about him, and reading about his wife, Zelda. Whatever may be told about him, the important thing to me is that at least one of his books was a sublime work of genius. I don't know if there has been anything written to top The Great Gatsby. I've read it several times, and each reading shows me something new. How very few people in the history of the world have done one perfect thing. Well, Mr. F. did with this book. Here is quite an interesting site.

11 comments:

  1. Love Gatsby too! Fitzgerald as a man had his flaws but was a novel (at least) unto himself. Great writer, with much to say, but I would say he was not all that good at life. I love reading about him and Zelda, and their great friends Gerald and Sara Murphy (whose motto was "Living well is the best revenge").

    There is something magical about those people at that particular time. Thanks for reminding me.

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  2. The Great Gatsby has always been a favorite that gets better with each reading. Back in high school, I liked Tender is the Night more... need to reread and see what I think of it now.

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  3. Oh, Mary Lois, I read the BEST book a few years ago about the whole group with the Murphys at the center. It is:

    Everybody Was So Young
    Gerald and Sara Murphy:
    A Lost Generation Love Story 1998
    By Amanda Vaill

    Here is what I jotted down in my book journal:

    'This was an excellent biography of the Murphys, their wide circle of friends, and their times. It has a thorough index, bibliography, and notes. The author did a tremendous amount of work compiling all the information, and presenting it in a very readable book. She did a beautifully creative job of naming each chapter from a quote which illuminates and sums up what it was dealing with. The story of the Murphys is similar to the story of Seabiscuit in one way - if it were told as fiction, the reader would say it wasn't true enough; it wasn't believable. How so much joy and sadness can be part of the life of one couple is astounding. There are wonderful photographs, some of which are talked about by the author so the reader can see exactly what she sees. Honestly, a simply tremendous work.'

    JoAnn, I keep picking up Tender is the Night and thinking it is time to read it again. Same with the short stories - I think I'll start a little thing for myself with FSF, say, the first Monday of the month for Short Story Monday. I wonder if Gatsby is just too adult for teenagers?

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  4. I was in my late 20s when I read Gatsby for the first time. I think that's about right. I had read Tender Is the Night first--and I loved it too. Do you know Michael Arlen's The Green Hat?

    There is a book about the Murphys called Living Well Is the Best Revenge I believe. So much of the literature about those days has Fitzgerald's characters. When I get my books unpacked, I may have time to sit down with some of these again!

    And just predating this period, you never mention Edith Wharton. I would think you'd be a big fan of hers. I love love love her work.

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  5. I need to try Fitzgerald again. I read The Great Gatsby before and it didn't make much of an impression, but then again I was 15 years old. I'm 34 now and I'm sure it will be a much different experience.

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  6. Mary Lois, I don't know The Green Hat. Will look it up. I read Living Well... a long time ago - my first introduction to them - people who had everything but also had such sadness in their lives. (whispering here) I don't care for Edith W or Jane A. I know, it surprises me too. :<)

    Anonymous, I wonder what you'll think now.

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  7. I always found Zelda so fascinating as well.

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  8. Yes, there a many good writers but not many great writers and Fitzgerald is a great writer. I read Everybody Was So Young a few years ago, too. I think Gerald and Sarah were the basis for Dick and Nicole Diver in Tender is the Night. Gerald used to rake seaweed from the beach like Dick Diver does in the novel and Sarah wore her pearls on the beach like Nicole. Tender is the Night is a flawed novel but I love it more as I get older. Gatsby is of course a perfect novel.

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  9. Me, too, Susan. I read the Nancy Milford biography of her when I was in my twenties. Have you read this? It still seems to be the definitive biog. all these years later. I remember it as quite wonderful. If you go here, there are a lot of interesting titles listed:

    http://www.amazon.com/Zelda-Biography-Nancy-Milford/dp/0060910690

    Vintage Reading, I really should pick it up again. It's been a very long time.

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  10. Scott Fitzgerald freely used the Murphys as models for many of his characters. He adored them. In his mind, they were the Divers in Tender Is the Night, with pearls on the beach and the seaweed rake--but he drew much from Zelda for the character of Nicole. The incident of the affair with a French man actually happened to Zelda, and when Milford found the real man many years later he was totally confused about what the big deal was. He thought the Fitzgeralds, like most Americans, made much ado about nothing.

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Now that I am a grandmother, it seems that I am often late in replying to your most-appreciated comments. But I read them as soon as they come in, and I will write as soon as I can. Please do come back and check. I love these blogging conversations. A little addendum - I've just spent quite a long time catching up with dear notes you left me months ago!! I do hope you can get back to read them. And I'm trying to be much more prompt now!

Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.