Who Was Francis Scott Fitzgerald?
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896, in Saint-Paul, Minnesota (United States), into a bourgeois class family of Catholic beliefs. His father’s name was Edward Fitzgerald and his mother was Molly McQuillan.
He grew up in a wealthy Irish Catholic family. His father, Edward Fitzgerald, of Irish and English descent, was a quiet and gentlemanly man.
Her mother was Mary McQuillan Fitzgerald, known as Molly, the daughter of an Irish immigrant who inherited a certain fortune from her father’s food business.
Scott spent much of his childhood in Buffalo, New York, because his father worked for Procter & Gamble.
His parents sent Scott to a Catholic school west of Buffalo, first to Holy Angels Convent and then to Nardin Academy, until 1805.
The Smart Kid
In both schools, he was described as a very intelligent child. Scott developed an early interest in literature.
Her mother, who was always very attentive, made sure that her son had a quality education, which is normal for members of the upper-middle class.
His upbringing was unconventional. After his father lost his job at Procter & Gamble, the family returned to Minnesota, and Scott joined St. Paul Academy until 1911.
Later, he was sent by his parents to Newman High School, a prestigious Catholic school in Hackensack, New Jersey. There Scott developed his literary skills and also devoted a lot of time to football.
The chancellor of this institution was instrumental in developing Scott’s literary skills, after graduating from school he decided to stay in New Jersey to pursue a career in the arts at Princeton University.
Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t make the university football team, he didn’t pass the required tests.
Then, he dedicated himself to perfecting his work as a writer, where he met Edmund Wilson and John Peale Bishop, who later became his literary critics and supported him in his literary career. With them I work as a collaborator in the Nassau Lit, and in the Princeton Tiger.
An American writer, Francis Scott Fitzgerald is one of the greatest exponents of 20th century American literature. His novels, set in the 1920s and 1930s, are considered to be true masterpieces.
His prose was especially notable for the sharp X-ray he took of the youth of that time, especially that privileged one, which oscillated between the attraction for jazz and drinking.
The musical genre of jazz was undoubtedly one of his greatest passions and one of the elements most present in his stories.
A Great Novelist
He was an American novelist, reflecting in his work the problems of his country’s youth in the years following the First World War.
In his novels, he deals with the opinions of the young people of his generation who were dragging his lassitude between Jazz and Geneva.
In the 20th century He was considered one of the most important American writers. He was the spokesman for the”Lost Generation”, those Americans born in the last decade of the 19th century.
He wrote five novels and dozens of short stories that deal with issues such as youth and despair with extraordinary honesty in capturing his emotions.
Its heroes, attractive, confident and doomed, glow brilliantly before exploding (“Show me a hero,” Fitzgerald once said,”and I’ll write you a tragedy”), and its heroines are beautiful and complex in personality.
F. Scott Fitzgerald developed his studies at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1908-1911, he began writing at this time.
Later, he continued at Newman School, a private high school in Hackensack, New Jersey, in 1911-12.
He began his university studies at Princeton University in 1913 as part of the class of 1917 and it was there that he befriended future critics and writers such as Edmundo Wilson and John Peale Bishop.
Fitzgerald faced academic difficulties during his three-year college career, leaving her in 1917 to enlist in the U.S. Army when they entered World War I. He was a member of the U.S. Army.
However, the Great War ended soon after, being discharged without ever having embarked for Europe.
Fitzgerald had quickly written a novel entitled The Romantic Egotist when he was at the military training camps at Camp Taylor, Louisville, Kentucky, and Camp Sheridan, Alabama.
Despite being flattered, a publisher of the New York publisher Charles Scribner’s Sons, to whom she presented her novel, rejected it.
The end of the war
When he came out of the war he met Ginevra King, a young woman of high status from Chicago. She would become his inspiration for the character of Isabelle Borgé.
Amory Blaine’s first love in This Side of Paradise was also an inspiration to Daisy in The Great Gatsby and to many other characters in her novels and short stories.
One of the novels that assured his great popularity was This Side of Paradise (1920). This allowed him to publish his stories in prestigious magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post.
He also presented himself as one of the most representative figures of the”American dream” of the 1920s.
Fitzgerald met Zelda Sayre (1900-1948), the”top girl”, according to Fitzgerald himself, from Montgomery, Alabama.
The two became engaged in 1919 and Fitzgerald moved into an apartment on 200 Claremont Avenue in New York to try to lay the foundation for his relationship with Zelda.
Even working for an advertising company and writing short stories, Fitzgerald was unable to convince Zelda that he would give her the support she needed.
Zelda broke off the engagement and Fitzgerald returned to his parents’ home in St. Paul to check out The Romantic Egotist. Under the name This Side of Paradise, Scribner’s accepted it in the fall of 1919, and the relationship between Zelda and Scott resumed.
Big Book Sales
The novel was published on March 26, 1920, and became one of the best-sellers of that year, serving to define the flapper generation.
The following week, Scott and Zelda were married at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. His only daughter, Frances Scott”Scottie” Fitzgerald, was born on October 26, 1921.
Although Fitzgerald had a clear vocation for writing novels, they never brought him enough income to maintain the opulent lifestyle he and Zelda adopted.
So Fitzgerald wrote short stories for magazines such as Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s Magazine and Esquire, and sold Hollywood studios the rights to make films based on his literary production.
The Financial Problems
He was in constant financial trouble and often borrowed money from his literary agent, Harold Ober, and his publisher at Scribner’s, Maxwell Perkins.
The 1920s were the decade of greatest impact of Fitzgerald’s literature. His second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, published in 1922, represents an impressive development compared to the immature Fitzgerald of This Side of Paradise.
The Great Gatsby, considered by many to be his masterpiece, was published in 1925.
Fitzgerald traveled several times to Europe, especially to Paris and the French Riviera in the 1920s, where he befriended many expatriate Americans living in Paris, including Ernest Hemingway.
The short story
The author also cultivated short storytelling, and some of his stories are classified in the genre of horror, and in another discharge his sarcastic effectiveness against the class of the powerful.
Later, he gave birth to two important novels: Suave es la noche (1934), and the posthumous and unfinished El último magnate (1941).
This account of Hollywood’s most miserable aspects was written based on his personal experience as an anonymous screenwriter for the film industry.
Among his works is also The Bragger (published in 1945 by Edmund Wilson). From 150 stories he wrote, they were collected in the following books: Young girls and philosophers (1920).
Tales from the Jazz Age (1922), All Sad Men (1926) and Touch of the Bull’s-eye (1935). One of his works The Great Gatsby (1925).
This last one was considered an important masterpiece, although it sold poorly. By this time, his wife was hospitalized for a long time until she died in 1948 from a fire at the clinic where she was confined.
The Fourth Novel
In the late 1920s, Fitzgerald began working on his fourth novel but left it behind because of the schizophrenia Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald suffered in 1930 and his financial difficulties.
So he had to keep writing those short commercial stories. From then on, Zelda’s health remained fragile.
In 1932, she was hospitalized in Baltimore, Maryland. Scott rented the La Paix estate around Towson to work on his book.
It was about the story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising psychoanalyst psychiatrist and his wife, Nicole, who is also one of his patients.
This book was published in 1934 under the title Tender Is the Night. Critics say this is one of his best works.
His works in the cinema
Fitzgerald spent the second half of the 1930s in Hollywood, writing more short stories, scripts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
His fifth and final novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, is based on the life of film executive Irving Thalberg.
He and Zelda moved away from each other; she continued to live in East Coast psychiatric facilities, while he lived with his lover Sheilah Graham in Hollywood.
Fitzgerald had a problem with alcohol and with this hard loss the situation was worse, the important thing is that he didn’t stop writing, especially for magazines.
His emotional crisis was expressed in his essays of The Crack-up (1945). At the end of his life, Fitzgerald sold scripts back to Hollywood.
Alcoholized, in the late 1940s, Fitzgerald suffered two heart attacks. The second caused his death on December 21, 1940, in Sheilah Graham’s apartment in Hollywood.
His body was moved by rail and buried in Saint Mary’s, but as he was not a Catholic, he had to be transferred to the Rockville civil cemetery.
Fitzgerald didn’t have time to finish The Love of the Last Tycoon. The notes he had for the novel were corrected by his friend Edmund Wilson and published in 1941 under the title The Last Tycoon.
The Last Novel
There is controversy among literary critics about whether it was really Fitzgerald’s intention to title his latest novel The Love of the Last Tycoon, as reflected in a new 1994 edition, edited by University of South Carolina specialist Matthew Bruccoli.
The curious case of Benjamin Button was a short novel published in 1921, first in Colliers magazine and then as part of his book Tales of the Jazz Age.
The rights were purchased and the story adapted for the shooting of the film of the same name, directed in 2008 by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt.
Curiosities you may not have known about F. Scott Fitzgerald
He wrote his first writing when he was only 13 years old. It was a detective story.
In 1917, he joined the army, leaving the university behind.
The great love of his life was Zelda, whom he married and had a daughter.
Throughout his career he had serious financial problems.
The Great Gatsby’ was written by a fictional poet inspired by another Fitzgerald book:’The Side of Paradise’. Partly inspired by the French novel’Le Grand Meaulnes’ of 1913.
What were the Novels written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald
- This Side of Paradise (1922)
- The Beautiful and Damned (1922)
- The Great Gatsby (1925)
- Soft is the Night, (Tender Is the Night) (1934)
- The Last Tycoon (originally The Love of the Last Tycoon) -(published posthumously, 1942)
The Tales and Short Stories of Francis Scott Fitzgerald
- Flappers and Philosophers (1920)
- Bernice a lo garçon o Berenice cuts her hair (Bernice Bobs Her Hair) (1920)
- Head and Shoulders (1920)
- The Ice Palace (1920)
- May Day (1920)
- The Pirate of the Coast, The Offshore Pirate (1920)
- The Curious Case de Benjamin Button (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) (1921)
- The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz (Short Novel, 1922)
- Tales of the Jazz Age (1922)
- Winter Dreams (1922)
- Dice, iron knuckles and guitar (Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar) (1923)
- All the Sad Young Men (1926)
- The Freshest Boy (1928)
- Crazy Sunday (1932)
- A New Leaf (1931)
- The Fiend (1935)
- Touch of Diana, Taps at Reveille (1935)
- Regreso a Babilonia (Babylon Revisited and Other Stories) (1931)
- The Pat Hobby Stories (1962)
- The Basil and Josephine Stories (1973)
- The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald (1989)
- The Bridal Party
- The Baby Party