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Transcript of https://docs.google.com/a/svvsd.org/forms/d/12G5X-Gvwx2d4WF5
F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel,
This Side of Paradise
, was finally published in 1920, and made Fitzgerald rich within the first year of publication. He enjoyed the extravagant lifestyle that came with his wealth, which caused him to be viewed by many as not a serious writer.
Fitzgerald published his second novel,
The Beautiful and the
, in 1922, which helped to give Fitzgerald a reputation for being one of the most influential writers of the Jazz Age.
He moved to France in 1924, where he wrote his most famous
The Great Gatsby
, which was published in 1925. Although this book was successful during its time, it was not until the 1950s-'60s that it was considered to be an American classic, as well as a perfect representation of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties.
Throughout the rest of his life, Fitzgerald continued to earn money by writing for magazines such as
The Saturday Evening Post
College and the Army
F. Scott Fitzgerald continued his education by attending Princeton University in 1913. He devoted the majority of his time to his writing, and wrote scripts for Princeton's Triangle Club musicals, as well as articles for the
humor magazine and stories for the
Nassau Literary Magazine
. However, Fitzgerald put so much effort into his writing that his academic grades fell, and he was placed on academic probation.
In 1917, Fitzgerald left school to join the U.S. army. Fearing that he may
die in the war, he wrote a book called The Romantic Egotist just weeks before he reported for duty. His hope was that he wouldn't have to die without fulfilling his dreams of being a writer. Although his book was rejected, the publisher asked Fitzgerald to continue to submit writing in the future, because it was apparent that he had talent. Fitzgerald, meanwhile, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry and assigned to Camp Sheridan, just outside of Montgomery, Alabama.
Tragedy and Death
F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Life of the Jazz Age Writer
F. Scott Fitzgerald first met Zelda in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1918, at a country club, when Fitzgerald was stationed in Camp Sheridan and she was just out of high school. At first, Zelda wasn't very impressed with F. Scott Fitzgerald, and definitely wouldn't marry him because he was a poor and struggling writer. However, they continued to write weekly love letters to each other, and were eventually married a week after Fitzgerald's first book,
This Side of
, was published, and later had a baby girl named Scottie.
Zelda was a very ambitious woman with many creative talents. She became a flapper when she married F. Scott Fitzgerald, so that she could escape her stereotypical small-town upbringing and be seen as strong, independent, and successful. In 1928, she decided to pursue her dream of being a ballerina, and took lessons from a famous dancer in Paris for eight hours a day. After three years of working this hard on her dancing, she suffered a mental breakdown, diagnosed as "nervous exhaustion", in 1930. She was later diagnosed with schizophrenia, and would continue to be sent in and out of hospitals for the rest of her life.
Another one of Zelda's talents was writing. In her lifetime, Zelda wrote one novel, 11 short stories, and 12 articles. Her husband often used direct dialogue from her letters to voice the women in his novels. Along with writing, Zelda also enjoyed painting bright and colorful art that depicted scenes from her life in New York. There are not many original Zelda Fitzgerald works of art left, because she donated many of them to the army in World War II to be painted over and used as canvas, and most of the rest were destroyed in a fire in the hospital she was staying at. Zelda tragically died in in a different fire in a different hospital in North Carolina, 1948.
Brackett, Virginia. F. Scott Fitzgerald: Writer of the Jazz Age. Greensboro, NC: Morgan Reynolds, 2002. Print.
"F. Scott Fitzgerald."
. A&E Networks Television. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.
"F. Scott Fitzgerald Biography."
F. Scott Fitzgerald Biography
. Web. 01 Feb. 2015.
"F. Scott Fitzgerald."
. PBS. Web. 01 Feb. 2015.
Fitzgerald, F. S., and James L. West.
F Scott Fitzgerald: A Short Autobiography.
New York: James L. West, 2011. Print.
"The Legend of Zelda (Sayre Fitzgerald)."
. PBS. Web. 31 Jan. 2015.
The Sensible Thing: Biographies.
. PBS. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born on September 4, 1896, in St. Paul, Minnesota,
and named Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, after the man who wrote the "Star- Spangled Banner." His mother's family was Irish-Catholic, and had made quite a bit of money from a grocers business. Fitzgerald's mother absolutely adored him to the point where she spoiled her boy. Whenever they had guests over to their house, Fitzgerald was dressed up in a suit and took applause for singing or reciting literature. Fitzgerald's father, a polite-mannered but unfortunately alcoholic man, had a wicker furniture business in St. Paul, but when the business failed, he worked as a salesman at Proctor and Gamble. His job caused Fitzgerald to have to move back and forth between Buffalo and Syracuse, New York for the first ten years of his life.
Fitzgerald's talent for writing first became apparent when he attended school
at St. Paul Academy. He had a detective story published in the school newspaper and wrote original plays for production. When he was 15, he was transferred a Catholic school called the Newman School in New Jersey, where he met Father Sigourney Fay. Fay noticed Fitzgerald's talent for writing, and encouraged him to follow his love of writing to make himself a career.
Fitzgerald's life began to fall apart after the success of
The Great Gatsby
. He had long periods of writer's block, and his already-heavy drinking progressed to alcoholism. While Fitzgerald was working on
The Great Gatsby
, he frequently ignored his wife. During this time, Zelda had an affair with a French naval aviator, which caused Zelda's influence on his writing to have a negative rather than the previous positive effect. However, when Zelda asked for a divorce, he locked her up in the house. It is likely that Zelda's mental breakdown in 1930 was partially caused by her husband.
He wrote his fourth novel,
Tender is the Night
, in 1934, which was about an American psychiatrist in Paris, France, and his struggling marriage to a rich patient. At the time, this book was received very negatively. However, it is now considered one of the great American novels.
After two more years of alcohol and depression, Fitzgerald
started another novel, called
The Love of the Last Tycoon
. However, it was never finished because he died of a heart attack on December 21, 1940 at the age of 44.
1. What kinds of writing did F. Scott Fitzgerald write while he was attending St. Paul Academy?
2. Why did F. Scott Fitzgerald write and attempt to publish a novel within a few weeks?
3. Which Age and time period did The Great Gatsby excellently represent?
4. How did F. Scott Fitzgerald use his wife, Zelda, for inspiration in his writing?
5. What were two things that caused Fitzgerald's life to fall apart after he published The Great Gatsby?
By: Miriam Kyzer
Today, F. Scott Fitzgerald is considered one of the most influential writers of the Jazz Age. Although his novels weren't seen as particularly extraordinary during his time, they are today regarded as American classics for their wonderful job at depicting the Jazz Age. He was able to write a significant amount of literature, influenced by his own life experiences, before his unfortunate early death.
Zelda FItzgerald, around age 17
F. Scott Fitzgerald as a toddler
F. Scott Fitzgerald as a teenager
F. Scott Fitzgerald as a child
F. Scott Fitzgerald in Uniform
Zelda Fitzgerald in ballet lessons
Above: Paintings by Zelda Fitzgerald