F. Scott Fitzgerald
Leaving a Literary Legacy
In an effort to please his girlfriend, who wanted to be sure that he would have enough money to support them before they tied the knot, Fitzgerald moved to New York, and then back to St. Paul, to continue writing a novel he had started before he joined the military.
His first book, This Side of Paradise, made him a millionare almost overnight. A week later, he married his sweetheart Zelda and later had a child with her, a little girl who shared the name Francis Scott.
The author soon took to embracing his new lifestyle, more of a playboy and less of a serious writer. He wrote a great number of short stories and novellas (see below) to support himself and his family. In 1922, he published The Beautiful and the Damned, which helped secure his place as a serious author during the jazz age.
The Great Gatsby and Later Years
But soon after, Fitzgerald's life started to fall apart. His alcoholism became worse and his wife had to constantly be taken to mental hospitals. To try and relieve his stress, he began work on another novel, Tender is the Night, somewhat based on his own experiences with mental health issues (by way of his wife). It was a relative failure when it was published, yet is recognized as one of the best books of the 20th century.
After two more years of agonizing depression and dependence on alcohol, Fitzgerald moved to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter. Later he began work on yet another novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, or more simply, The Last Tycoon. But before the book was completed, he died of a heart attack at the age of 44 in California
The Great Gatsby and American Culture
“It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess and it was an age of satire.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, on the Jazz Age
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
“Here's to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned
Connections to a Modern Day Writer
- He was a second cousin to Francis Scott Key, who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner
- "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past—is on Fitzgerald's grave in Rockville, Maryland.
- He helped Ernest Hemingway get his first book published
- In 1932, Zelda Fitzgerald wrote an autobiography called Save Me the Waltz. F. Scott FItzgerald thought she was stealing material from his upcoming novel
- Ernest Hemingway had a secret hunch that Fitzgerald was gay