How did events in Fitzgerald's life help to shape "Babylon Revisted"?

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There are several parallels in the narrative of "Babylon Revisited" and F. Scott Fitzgerald's life. In fact, "Babylon Revisited" is an intensely personal story.

  • Like Charlie and Helen, Fitzgerald and Zelda lived in Paris as expatriates in the 1920s. He and his wife had friends who were expatriates, as well, and they frequented the spots on the Left Bank. Charlie reflects on his life then, a life much like that of the Fitzgeralds and the Hemingways:

"We were a sort of royalty, almost infallible, with a sort of magic around us."

  • Like Charlie, Fitzgerald was an alcoholic and lived a dissolute life in Paris. When Charlie returns, he is curious to see Paris at night "with clearer and more judicious eyes than those of other days."
  • Both Helen and Charlie and Fitzgerald and Zelda have just one daughter.
  • Both Charlie and Fitzgerald suffered the corrosive effects of a decadent lifestyle. 
  • Both Charlie's and Fitzgerald's wives went out of their lives: Charlie loses Helen after she contracts pneumonia; later, she dies of a heart attack. Fitzgerald lost his wife Zelda to schizophrenia. 
  • Both Charlie and Fitzgerald have undergone financial troubles. Charlie lost his money during the crash of 1929, while Fitzgerald wrote short stories for magazines in order earn enough to maintain the high life style which Zelda wanted.
  • Both Charlie and Fitzgerald are haunted by their earlier happiness and affluence. Charlie enters the Ritz bar as this was a place once frequented by him and his old friends. He has wealth, but he wants to reclaim his daughter Honoria.

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