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Modernism and Fitzgerald
Transcript of Modernism and Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896, in St. Paul,
Distantly related to Francis Scott Key, who wrote "The Star Spangled Banner"
Mother's family had a small fortune from a grocery business in Minnesota. Fitzgerald's father bounced back and forth between jobs, causing the family to move several times. They eventually returned to St. Paul to live off his mother's money.
When he was 13, he had his first piece of
writing published: a detective story in his
The Middle Years
While at Princeton, his writing began to interfere with his schooling and he dropped out.
Fitzgerald joined the army, and became a second lieutenant based in Alabama. He was not a war hero, but was a respected soldier.
While stationed there, he met Zelda, his future wife. She was the daughter of an Alabama judge, and accustomed to well-off life in the midst of high society.
Zelda said that she would not marry Fitzgerald if she was not confident that he could support her financially; therefore, after already becoming engaged, Zelda broke off their arrangement.
Writing Career and Early Successes
This Side of Paradise
Due to the commercial success of his first novel, Zelda agreed to marry him again.
They had one daughter: Frances Scott Fitzgerald.
His friendship with great American writers grew, most notably with Ernest Hemingway and other writers of "The Lost Generation."
Hemingway did not approve of Zelda,
claiming that she distracted him from
his writing, caused him to drink
too much, and said that she was
Later Years and Controversy
Fitzgerald was known to be an alcoholic for most of his life, something that only worsened with time and with financial stresses
Zelda required a lavish lifestyle, and Fitzgerald became used to the glitz and glamor of society and fame. He became perpetually in debt, and therefore needed to write for "hack" magazines and journals
Zelda became schizophrenic, and required care in several different mental hospital facilities
Tender Is The Night
, and other followups to
, were not received as well, though they grew more popular with time.
Zelda and Fitzgerald became estranged; she stayed in the east while he moved out to Hollywood to work on scripts.
His last novel,
The Last Tycoon
, elaborates on the story of producers, writers, etc. in Hollywood.
Fitzgerald was living with a lover at the time of his death.
He died of a heart attack at age 44.
Zelda died 8 years after in a fire at her mental hospital
One of the best known American writers
Inspired future poets and writers such as T.S. Eliot and J. D. Salinger
Things to Remember
His life often mirrored his work.
-Zelda's desire for a comfortable lifestyle
-Fitzgerald's disillusionment with high society shown in his novels as he is living in the excesses of high society
The Last Tycoon
about Hollywood, written while he was in Hollywood
-Wrote a short story about a mental patient and her lover while his wife was in a mental institution
-Fitzgerald does not write about himself necessarily, but incorporates many instances from his life in his work. It is helpful to look for these connections, but don't assume.
-For example, the "golden girl" that Fitzgerald seems to incorporate into many of his stories is based upon an early love of his--not Zelda.
The Great Gatsby
~Although it did have some critical acclaim, it was not really an instant bestseller
~Fitzgerald had a growing reputation as a promising
writer, but was not identified as one of the "American Greats" until after his death.
Modernist Era of Literature
-T.S. Eliot -Ernest Hemingway
-Ezra Pound -F. Scott Fitzgerald
1917: United States enters WWI
1920: 19th Amendment is passed, giving women the right to vote
1920-1933: Prohibition makes the sale and consumption of alcohol illegal
-Novels, Plays, Poetry
-Experiments in writing styles: interior monologue and stream of consciousness
-Instability, Futility, Pessimism, Chaos, Loss of Faith, Collapse of “Morality”, Disillusionment
-Writers reflect the ideas of Darwin and Karl Marx during WWI and WWII
-Reaction against optimism of 19th century
F. Scott Fitzgerald,
The Great Gatsby