F. Scott Fitzgerald Biography

F. Scott Fitzgerald Biography

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is widely regarded as one of the most influential works of the twentieth century, and if great art is born of great misery, that might help explain Gatsby's success. The novel tells the story of Fitzgerald’s “Lost Generation” during the “Jazz Age.” Both terms describe those young people of the 1920s who, like Fitzgerald, felt purposeless in a world of excess. But Fitzgerald also wrestled with many personal demons, alcoholism in particular and his problematic relationship with his wife, Zelda Sayre. Zelda was from a markedly higher social ranking than himself, so Fitzgerald constantly struggled with feelings of inadequacy. And despite his many publications, Fitzgerald died believing himself a failure as a writer. History has judged otherwise, and today Fitzgerald is considered one of America’s most celebrated authors.

Facts and Trivia

  • Don’t underestimate the influence of Zelda Sayre on Fitzgerald’s work. She was the basis of the characters Judy Jones in “Winter Dreams” and Daisy Fay in The Great Gatsby. Later, Zelda’s mental illness would also influence his novel Tender Is the Night.
  • Hemingway once ridiculed Fitzgerald’s famous line, “The rich are different than you and I,” by quipping, “Yes, they have more money.”
  • Despite his successes, Fitzgerald was continually in debt and often had to write for magazines to support his family.
  • During the last three years of his life, Fitzgerald worked as a scriptwriter in Hollywood.
  • A famous line from The Great Gatsby embodies Fitzgerald’s lifelong philosophy of trying to reclaim youth: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
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