Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Contrast plays a major part in Fitzgerald’s technique as he presents both Charlie and Paris as they were before the crash of 1929 and as they are at the time of the story. The language of the stock market adds a note of irony as Charlie applies it to the rise and fall of his fortune—both his monetary fortune and his fate in general.

On his return, the reformed Charlie sees Paris through new eyes. With the majority of the wealthy Americans gone, Paris is indeed a changed city, but even what remains unchanged looks different to Charlie when seen with the clarity of sobriety rather than through a drunken haze. He sees his former outlandish behavior from a more serious point of view and shies away from contact with his friends, who seem never to have changed. He can even see his old self as he must have appeared to the Peters, who did not share in the wealth that seemed to come to him so easily. Helen’s death is presented from two different perspectives—Charlie’s and Marion’s. Her obvious jealousy and his remorse shift the balance in favor of support for Charlie and belief in his version of the story.

Charlie sees the error of his former ways and the ephemeral nature of his life prior to 1929. He recalls the snowstorm that almost caused Helen’s death and the fantasy world that surrounded the incident: “The snow of twenty-nine wasn’t real snow. If you didn’t want it to be snow, you just paid some money.” Money was not a problem during two dazzling, extravagant years in Paris: “He remembered thousand-franc notes given to an orchestra for playing a single number, hundred-franc notes tossed to a doorman for calling a cab.” Having too much money, ironically, was the source of Charlie’s greatest losses. As he sits in a bar realizing that he has once again lost Honoria, at least for a time, the bartender offers his regrets for a different loss: “I heard you lost a lot in the crash.” Charlie responds, “I did” and adds, “but I lost everything I wanted in the boom.”

Historical Context

(Short Stories for Students)

The Modern Era Arrives
In 1930, the year Fitzgerald wrote "Babylon Revisited,'' the world was in the midst of profound...

(The entire section is 732 words.)

Literary Style

(Short Stories for Students)

Patrons of the Paris nightclub Club Zellie, circa 1929. Published by Gale Cengage

Setting and Symbolism
The setting of "Babylon Revisited'' is Paris France circa 1930, a year after the U.S. stock...

(The entire section is 2290 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Short Stories for Students)

1930s: On October 28, 1929, the stock market loses 12.8 percent of its value. The event, dubbed "Black Thursday'' results in...

(The entire section is 267 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

Research the lives of the American expatriate literary community in Europe in the 1920s, focusing on such figures as

(The entire section is 239 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Short Stories for Students)

Donna Reed and Van Johnson in a still from “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” a 1954 MGM film based on “Babylon Revisited.” Published by Gale Cengage

"Babylon Revisited" was adapted as the film The Last Time I Saw Paris by director Richard Brooks, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Van...

(The entire section is 59 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Short Stories for Students)

Among the many Fitzgerald biographies, Matthew J. Bruccoli's Some Sort of Epic Grandeur (1981) remains the definitive treatment of the author's life. Bruccoli argues that it was Fitzgerald's conflicted attitudes, most notably his love/ hate relationship with the rich, as much as his heavy drinking and marriage troubles that prevented him from devoting more of his creative energies to his work.

The Great Gatsby (1925) has proved to be Fitzgerald's most popular novel, and some critics have claimed that it may well be the finest American novel ever written. In it, Fitzgerald lyrically recounts the story of bootlegger and idealist Jay Gatsby's dream of rekindling his relationship...

(The entire section is 315 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Short Stories for Students)

Baker, Carlos. "When the Story Ends: 'Babylon Revisited.'" In The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald:...

(The entire section is 483 words.)


(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Berman, Ronald. Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and the Twenties. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2001.

Berman, Ronald. “The Great Gatsby” and Fitzgerald’s World of Ideas. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Jay Gatsby. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2004.

Bruccoli, Matthew J., ed. New Essays on “The Great Gatsby.” Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Bruccoli, Matthew J., ed. Some Sort of Epic Grandeur. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981.

Curnutt, Kirk, ed. A Historical Guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Eble, Kenneth. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Rev. ed. Boston: Twayne, 1977.

Gale, Robert L. An F. Scott Fitzgerald Encyclopedia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.

Gross, Dalton, and MaryJean Gross. Understanding “The Great Gatsby”: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.

Kuehl, John. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1991.

Lee, A. Robert, ed. Scott Fitzgerald: The Promises of Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989.

Meyers, Jeffrey. Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.

Miller, James E., Jr. F. Scott Fitzgerald: His Art and His Technique. New York: New York University Press, 1964.

Stanley, Linda C. The Foreign Critical Reputation of F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1980-2000: An Analysis and Annotated Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004.

Tate, Mary Jo. F. Scott Fitzgerald A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.

Taylor, Kendall. Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, A Marriage. New York: Ballantine, 2001.