In other articles I have written regarding the Lost Generation, I have given a brief history of the era that characterized the generation, first named as such by Gertrude Stein, the leader of American ex-pats in Paris, France during the 1920’s and 30’s. The generation was born around the turn of the nineteenth century and was characterized by a time of American liberalism, two world wars, conspicuous consumption and the Great Depression.
Now that this introduction to the generation has been made, I will take a deeper look at some of the authors that emboldened and solidified this generation. F. Scott Fitzgerald is tied together with the generation for several reasons, but chiefly among them, the things that made up the generation during that time made up virtually all of his writing; he seldom veered off of the subject.
His books and short stories, whether he liked it or not, were autobiographical in a metaphorical way. Though the names were changed in his books, they often closely followed the lines of his own life. Whether it be his own upbringing as being poor and always wanting more, finally gaining more and gaining the love of his life, or enjoying the excesses of life too much, and having trouble maintaining the relationship, his spectacular writing closely followed his own life.
His own life, the ups and downs, were much like the ups and downs of the generation. When he was poor, the world was poor. When he was rich, the world was doing better. When the world was upside down, on the brink of war, so was his life. Finally, in his last effort, he gave up the facade for a work of pure nonfiction, in a piece I consider to be the best ever written.
Here are some highlights of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his incredible career of writing.
A lot of people know of "The Great Gatsby" when they consider F. Scott Fitzgerald, but have no idea he was actually the storywriter behind The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. If you cried while watching the multi-Oscar winning movie, get ready with a box of facial tissue for this beautiful, timeless novella.
"Tender is the Night" was originally met with bad reviews, but has gained esteem since. Fitzgerald considered it to be his greatest work, and for the remaining decade of his life, these facts haunted him and his work. Autobiographical in terms of his growing alcoholism and his estranged wife, Zelda.
Babylon Revisited is a profound short story by Fitzgerald, mostly because it details a part of the stock market crash that few other writers discussed. People were, of course, devastated by the ramifications of the crash, but there was also a sense of guilt over how money was wasted prior to it.
The Last Tycoon sees Fitzgerald veer away from his normal rags-to-riches narratives in his full-length novels, and he writes of a movie mogul instead. The novel has surprising relevance in light of the #metoo movement, with a character who moves between women, at times making unwanted advances.
People who like F. Scott Fitzgerald tend to like either his books or his short stories. I’m one who prefers his short stories, but he is one of my favorite authors, so I enjoy it all.
Join me next time as I look at some of the works of Ernest Hemingway.
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