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F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and was named after Francis Scott Key, the man who composed The Star-Spangled Banner. The majority of records of his early life are found in his diaries as a young child. He had always shown a talent and fondness for writing, plays, and poetry. In his college days, he dropped out of Princeton so that he could join the army and focus more on his literary career.

Introduction to F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald was an American writer of novels and short stories during the Jazz Age and if often thought of as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.  He is best for writing The Great Gatsby, universally acknowledged as a classic Great American Novel. Fitzgerald is sometimes compared against Ernest Hemingway: the two of them were friends, and both were expatriates in France as part of the Lost Generation. But whereas Hemingway's style is quite sparse, Fitzgerald's style is known for its lush lyricism. 

Literary Works

F. Scott Fitzgerald has a long bibliography of work that includes novels, novellas, and short stories. His five novels are entitled:

  • The Beautiful and the Damned
  • The Great Gatsby
  • This Side of Paradise
  • Tender Is the Night
  • The Love of the Last Tycoon

Fitzgerald was also known for his short stories and novellas, though lesser so. Some of the most notable titles include:

  • The Diamond as Big as the Ritz
  • All the Sad Young Men
  • The Basil and Josephine Stories
  • Flappers and Philosophers
  • The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Writing Style and Inspiration

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing style was largely inspired by the writing of Joseph Conrad, whose writing style was very dense and intricate while maintaining a sense of the exotic and mysterious. Fitzgerald’s style may be a little but lighter than Conrad’s, but the key characteristic that connects the two writers it the complicated layering with which they lay out their stories. The style lends itself well to Fitzgerald’s ability to write a story that appears whimsical and romantic while also containing a certain sense of tragedy and doom. Many of Fitzgerald’s stories contain elements of his own life- many deal with alcoholism, marital discourse, and mental illness. 

Film Adaptations and Legacy of Fitzgerald's Work

Fitzgerald's final novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was unfinished and went unpublished until after his death. Fitzgerald also wrote numerous short stories that often dealt in the themes of youth and promise met with despair and age. His work has been adapted for the screen a number of times. In 2008, his short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was adapted into a motion picture starring Brad Pitt. His novel Tender Is the Night was turned into a film in 1962 and a miniseries in 1985. As for The Great Gatsby, the book inspired films debuted in 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000, and 2013. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald has inspired countless writers since his time. T. S. Eliot penned a letter to Fitzgerald, thanking him for helping the medium of literature progress and develop. J. D. Salinger often expressed admiration and reverence for Fitzgerald’s work and writer Richard Yates, who is oftentimes compared to Fitzgerald, said that The Great Gatsby was a literary triumph, a miracle expression of art, and the most nourishing and impactful novel he had ever read. The Great Gatsby continues to sell millions of copies across the world, maintains a spot on the all-time best-seller list, and remains on the list of required reading for countless high school and college literature courses.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was a prolific author of the twentieth century and is most notably tied to the roaring 20s. Many decades after his active literary career, his work continues to be vital and influential to the advancement of literature and the education of those who study it. His work has effected and inspired many other important writers. Without him, the world of literature would little resemble the state in which we know it today. 

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