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Great Gatsby

Uploaded by MichaelA31 on Mar 19, 2006

Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald

About F. Scott Fitzgerald

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896, the only son of an aristocratic father and a provincial, working-class mother. He was therefore the product of two divergent traditions: while his father's family included the author of "The Star-Spangled Banner" (after whom Fitzgerald was named), his mother's family was, in Fitzgerald's own words, "straight 1850 potato-famine Irish." As a result of this contrast, he was exceedingly ambivalent about the notion of the American dream: for him, it was at once vulgar and dazzlingly promising. It need scarcely be noted that such fascinated ambivalence is itself typically American.
Like the central character of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald had an intensely romantic imagination; he once called it "a heightened sensitivity to the promises of life." The events of Fitzgerald's own life can be seen as a struggle to realize those promises.
He attended both St. Paul Academy (1908-10) and Newman School (1911-13), where his intensity and outsize enthusiasms made him extremely unpopular with the other students. Later, at Princeton University, he came close to the brilliant success of which he dreamed. He became part of the influential Triangle Club, a dramatic organization whose members were taken from the cream of high society. He also became a prominent figure in the literary life of the university and made lifelong friendships with Edmund Wilson and John Peale Bishop. Despite these social coups, Fitzgerald struggled academically, and eventually flunked out of Princeton.
Though he was able to return to university the following fall, Fitzgerald could not overcome the crushing humiliation he felt at the loss of all of his hard-won positions. In November 1917, he left Princeton in order to join the army.
While stationed near Montgomery, Alabama, he met Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge, and the two fell deeply in love. Fitzgerald needed to improve his dismal financial circumstances, however, before he and Zelda could marry. At the first opportunity, he left for New York, determined to make his fortune in the great city. Instead, he was forced to take a menial advertising job at $90 a month. Zelda broke their engagement, and Fitzgerald retreated to St. Paul, Minnesota. There, he rewrote a novel he had begun at Princeton; in the spring of 1920, the novel, entitled This Side of Paradise, was published.
Though today's readers will find its ideas...

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Uploaded by:   MichaelA31

Date:   03/19/2006

Category:   Literature

Length:   49 pages (10,938 words)

Views:   11497

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