Throughout the 1930s, Fitzgerald suffered guilt by association for his early identification with the "flappers and philosophers'' of the so-called Jazz Age. In the years of the Great Depression Fitzgerald's identification with the comparatively carefree 1920s rendered him irrelevant in the opinion of readers who were now enduring rather hardscrabble lives. Moreover, with "The Crack-up," a series of essays published in Esquire magazine in the mid-1930s, readers who were accustomed to seeing Fitzgerald's cleverly phrased romantic entertainments in the "slick" magazines now discovered a writer who bluntly described himself as a "cracked plate," an alcoholic has-been whose best days were behind him. With his move to the glitzy, superficial world of Hollywood in the late 1930s, Fitzgerald's critical reputation reached its low tide, and it was not until the decade after his death that his work was seriously reevaluated. From the beginning of the Fitzgerald "revival" in the 1950s, "Babylon Revisited" was regarded among Fitzgerald's best short stories, and the first critics to analyze it at length focused on the problem of Charlie's character. Some argued that Charlie's failure to regain custody of Honoria was a direct result of his decision to leave the Peters's address with the Ritz bartender. Others maintained that throughout the story, Charlie demonstrated a convincing and even heroic self-mastery and...
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