Author Spotlight: F Scott Fitzgerald
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, F. Scott Fitzgerald is popular not only for his poetry and his novels, but also his distinct depictions of the Jazz Age, or the Roaring Twenties.
Fitzgerald’s romantic style comes from childhood, being raised by an aristocratic father and a provincial mother. Fitzgerald viewed the American life as both promising and terrifying. At primary and secondary school, Fitzgerald was not very popular, but during his college years at Princeton, he became prominent in the university’s literary scene. Fitzgerald gave all his focus to his literary pursuits, and was put on probation for not keeping up with course
Though he returned to Princeton, the following fall, he’d lost all his positions by then and he joined the army in 1917. In 1918, he met Zelda Sayre in New York. The first time they were engaged, Sayre broke it off, believing that Fitzgerald won’t be able to support her despite a steady income. In 1920, Fitzgerald published his first novel, This Side of Paradise, and married Sayre. The novel was also a success.
The 1920’s would prove to be a formational decade for Fitzgerald, who travelled to Europe and became friends with Ernest Hemingway. For a while he and his family lived in the French Riviera, which he wrote about in his novel, Tender is the Night. While in Europe, Fitzgerald wrote what would be his most popular work, The Great Gatsby. Here, Fitzgerald talked about the American Dream. At the time, the novel was not too successful. Other than royalties from his novel, Fitzgerald made money by contributing publications such as the Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s Weekly and Esquire. Some stories he also sold to Hollywood.
While the Fitzgeralds were considered part of New York high society for their celebrity, finances slowly became a problem as time passed. In 1930, Zelda was diagnosed with schizophrenia and they had a hard time catching up with medical bills.
Around this time, Fitzgerald was already an alcoholic, and his fourth and most moving novel, Tender is the Night, was not published until 1934. In 1937, Fitzgerald recovered from alcoholism enough to become a scriptwriter. In 1939, he started a novel about Hollywood, The Last Tycoon. Unfortunately, he suffered from a fatal heart attack when the novel was only half-finished. The novel was released in 1941 after being completed and edited by his contemporary from Princeton, Edmund Wilson.
Many writers have claimed to have been inspired by the work of Fitzgerald, including TS Eliot and JD Salinger. To this day, The Great Gatsby is being studied in many schools across the world. Fitzgerald is being credited with the invention of the 20’s culture, as it is portrayed today.
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