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American Writers: a journey through history is a permanent archive for educators, researchers and every one interested in the writers featured in the  C‑SPAN series.


V






F. Scott Fitzgerald
Born: September 24, 1896 - St. Paul, Minnesota
Died: Dec. 21, 1940 - Hollywood, California

Fitzgerald attended Princeton University but was forced to withdraw in 1917 because of poor grades, and later that year joined the army. In 1918 he met Zelda Sayre, daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. To prove
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F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
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himself and win her, he rewrote the novel he had begun at Princeton; in 1920 This Side of Paradise was published and the two were married.

Fitzgerald started writing for periodicals, publishing early stories such as "The Diamond as Big as The Ritz," later collected in Tales of The Jazz Age (1922). Fame and prosperity were both welcome and frightening; in The Beautiful and Damned (1922), he describes the life he and Zelda feared, a descent into ennui and dissipation.

The Fitzgeralds moved in 1924 to the French Riviera, where they fell in with a group of American expatriates, described in his last completed novel, Tender Is The Night (1934). Shortly after their arrival, he completed his greatest work, The Great Gatsby (1925), which poignantly expresses his ambivalence about American life, at once vulgar and dazzlingly promising. Some of his finest short stories of this period, particularly "The Rich Boy" and "Absolution," appeared in All the Sad Young Men (1926).

Works by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This Side of Paradise (1920)
Tales of The Jazz Age (1922)
The Great Gatsby (1925)
All the Sad Young Men (1926)
Tender Is The Night (1934)
The Last Tycoon (1941)
The Crack-Up (1945)

The stresses of fame and prosperity led Fitzgerald to drink excessively; Zelda suffered mental breakdowns in 1930 and 1932 from which she never fully recovered, and she spent most of her remaining years in a sanitarium. By 1937 Fitzgerald had become a scriptwriter in Hollywood; there he met the gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, with whom he would spend the rest of his life. He told the story of his downward slide in The Crack-Up, published posthumously in 1945. His last work, the Hollywood novel The Last Tycoon (1941), was left unfinished at his death at 44 of alcohol-related causes.

Web sites about F. Scott Fitzgerald
The F. Scott Fitzgerald Society
University of South Carolina, F. Scott Fitzgerald Centenary
Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald Chronology on the Zelda web page


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