Francis Scott Fitzgerald
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Fitzgerald, Francis Scott
Born Sept. 24, 1896, in St. Paul, Minn.; died Dec. 21, 1940, in Hollywood, Calif. American writer.
From 1913 to 1917, Fitzgerald attended Princeton University. His novel This Side of Paradise (1920) was the first depiction in American literature of the “lost generation”—American youth of the 1920’s, the era he called the jazz age. The youth of this period constitute one of the main themes of Fitzgerald’s work and are the focus for most of his short stories written in the 1920’s and the novel The Beautiful and the Damned (1922).
Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby (1925; Russian translation, 1965) is a classic of 20th-century American literature; it combines Fitzgerald’s romantic vision of life with sharp social criticism. Gatsby is nouveau riche and outwardly vulgar but at the same time is a romantic dreamer, tragically alone among the mercenary and amoral people who surround him, including his beloved, Daisy. Gatsby’s tragedy is that his romantic illusions are tied to the “American dream,” an ideal subordinated to material prosperity. The novel Tender Is the Night (1934; Russian translation, 1971) related the gradual degradation of a talented psychiatrist, the beautiful-souled idealist Dick Diver. Unlike the more principled Gatsby, Diver sets out on a course of compromise—he marries the daughter of a millionaire and squanders his abilities as he accepts the moral norms and life-style of her milieu. For Fitzgerald, the tragedy of Diver, like the tragedy of Gatsby, is also linked with the pernicious power of the false values of American civilization. The satirical tendency evident in The Great Gatsby is even stronger in this work.
In the late 1930’s, Fitzgerald experienced a spiritual crisis, which he analyzed with merciless precision in the confessional piece The Crack-up (published 1946). For several years he worked as a scriptwriter in Hollywood, and only a little while before his death did he resolve his dilemma. After his death, chapters were published from his unfinished novel The Last Tycoon (1941; Russian translation, 1977), which describes the life and mores of Hollywood in the 1930’s. Fitzgerald was a penetrating psychologist and astute critic of social relations, as well as a master prose stylist. Fitzgerald’s works enjoyed renewed popularity inthemid-1950’s.
WORKSThe Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald, vols. 1–6. London, 1958–63.
The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York, 1963.
In Russian translation:
Vozvrashchenie v Vavilon. Rasskazy. Moscow, 1969.
“Izpisem.” Voprosy literatury, 1971, no. 2.
REFERENCESStartsev, A. “Gor’kaia sud’ba Fitsdzheral’da.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1965, no. 2.
Allen, U. Traditsiia imechta. Moscow, 1970.
Gorbunov, A. N. Romany F. S. Fitsdzheral’da. Moscow, 1974.
Mizener, A. The Far Side of Paradise. Boston, 1965.
Sklar, R. F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Last Laocoon. New York, 1967.
Bruccoli, M. J. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh, 1972.
A. N. GORBUNOV