We do not think of Scott Fitzgerald as a tragic novelist, but Fitzgerald’s novels are informed by what he once called “the wise and tragic sense of life.” In his notes and correspondence Fitzgerald refers to The Beautiful and Damned, Tender Is the Night, and The Last Tycoon as formal tragedies (successful or otherwise). “Show me a hero,” he once wrote, “and I will write you a tragedy.” Using Tender Is the Night as my example, I would like to illustrate the difference it makes to approach Fitzgerald’s novels as tragic actions . . .
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