F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Fiction Analysis
F. Scott Fitzgerald was a professional writer who was also a literary artist. In practical terms this meant that he had to support himself by writing short stories for popular magazines in order to get sufficient income, according to him, to write decent books. Indeed, most of the money that Fitzgerald earned by writing before he went to Hollywood in 1937 was earned by selling stories to magazines. In his twenty-year career as a writer, he published 164 magazine stories; other stories were never published. All but eight of the stories that originally appeared in magazines became available in hardcover editions.
As one would expect of a body of 164 stories written in a twenty-year period mainly for popular consumption, the quality of the stories is uneven. At the bottom of this collection are at least a dozen stories, most of them written for Esquire during the last years of his life, which have few redeeming qualities; at the top of the list are at least a dozen stories which rank among the best of American short stories. One should not, however, be led to believe that these, as well as the hundred or more “potboilers” in the middle, do not serve a useful role in his development as an artist. Fitzgerald in the 1920’s was considered the best writer of quality magazine fiction in America, and his stories brought the highest prices paid by slick magazines; the Saturday Evening Post, for example, paid him four thousand dollars per...
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