Saturday, November 22, 2014

F. Scott FitzGerald Biography

F. Scott FitzGerald (1896-1940)

v     F Scott FitzGerald is considered one of America's greatest writers, and was a part of the "lost generation" of 1920s intellectuals.

v     He wrote ten short story collections, and four finished novels: The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, and Tender is the Night (Nežná je noc).

v     A fifth novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, is unfinished, and was published posthumously.

v     FitzGerald is credited as an inspiration to many other great writers, including TS Eliot, and JD Salinger.

v     Many of his stories have been made into films:
            The Beautiful and the Damned, 1922, and 2010
            The Great Gatsby, 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000, and 2013
            Tender is the Night, 1962   
            The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 2008

v     A biographical play of Fitzgerald, titled Beloved Infidel, was made in 1958.

v     Surprisingly, FitzGerald never won any awards.

Personal Life:

Francis Scott Key FitzGerald was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He was named after Francis Scott Key, a famous figure in American history, who wrote the lyrics to America's national anthem. His childhood was complicated by the deaths of his two sisters, merely three months before he was born. His mother became overprotective.

Scott FitzGerald attended Princeton University, where he joined the Princeton Triangle Club (a drama club) and the Princeton Tiger (a humour magazine). Spending all his time writing, he neglected his studies and was almost expelled, so he decided to join the army in 1917, during World War I. Fearing he would die before publishing a novel, he quickly wrote The Romantic Egotist - which publishers rejected.

Luckily, he never saw combat, the war ending before he was deployed. While a soldier, he fell in love with Zelda Sayre, a beautiful socialite (prominentný človek), and they got engaged. She broke it off when she saw he was broke (poor), and Scott went back to his parents' house to revise his novel, now changing the name to This Side of Paradise, an instant bestseller. Zelda changed her mind and they soon were wed. A daughter, named Scottie after her father, soon followed.

The two often travelled to Paris, meeting Hemingway and others (Hemingway hated Zelda, who later developed schizophrenia). Scott joined the "lost generation" there, meaning he was also an alcoholic. FitzGerald often complained about "whoring" himself as a writer, changing his stories to make them more sellable to magazines and Hollywood. But, he had to, as bills mounted, and none of his works were ever as popular as his first novel.

Scott's stories were often autobiographical, at least partially, and he even competed with his wife, getting angry when she wrote and published her own novel, Save Me the Waltz. Scott felt she was stealing his "material", by writing her own version of their life together. Alcoholism combined with tuberculosis led to his rapid decline in health.

In 1937, Scott moved to Hollywood, working on films such as Madame Curie. Scott and Zelda split up, with her moving to a mental institution on the East Coast. Scott then started an affair with a newspaper reporter. The last stories he wrote, before dying of a heart attack, were the Pat Hobby series, about a "hack" writer who sells out, working for Hollywood - FitzGerald was making fun of himself.

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