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Tales of the Jazz Age: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Dayne Persson

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, better known as F. Scott Fitzgerald, was born on September 24, 1896, in St Paul, Minnesota. Scott is mainly remembered for his literary hit The Great Gatsby along with his other works such as The Diamond as Big as the Ritz and Tender is the Night. His private life with his wife Zelda Fitzgerald has been a subject of frequent study, being the theme of several books and documentaries. Yes, Fitzgerald was an interesting person in all aspects of life, good and bad, but he will always be remembered as one of the greatest novelists of the Jazz Age.

When he was young, Fitzgerald was said to have a very romantic imagination. He showed promise in academics but flunked out of two schools before finding himself at Princeton University. He flunked out yet again, and although he made it back in, he damaged his reputation. So, he left school to join the U.S. Army.

While stationed near Montgomery, Alabama, he met Zelda Sayre. It was love at first sight. Fitzgerald promptly went to New York, got a job and proposed to Zelda. Sadly, Zelda broke their engagement. But Fitzgerald had a plan, and although he did not know it at the time, writing would make him famous.

His first novel was titled This Side of Paradise and it was a smash hit. After seeing his rise to stardom, Zelda reconsidered their engagement and they were married in 1920. says: "This Side of Paradise was a revelation of the new morality of the young; it made Fitzgerald famous." He wrote two novels before finishing his masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby, a twisted tale of betrayal, is about Jay Gatsby’s rise and fall. Along with just being an all-around great book, The Great Gatsby painted an exquisite picture of The Great Depression and the U.S. in the 1920s. Despite this, The Great Gatsby was not a success upon its release, and it would continue to be relatively unsuccessful until after his death in 1940. Fitzgerald was gaining lots of fame and recognition but, sadly, back at the ranch, things were not going so well with his wife Zelda.

The Fitzgeralds' marriage had been a somewhat shaky one, and in the words of, "By the end of the decade, the Fitzgeralds' already quarrelsome marriage had grown more agitated." In 1930, a mere 5 years after her husband had published The Great Gatsby, Zelda suffered a mental breakdown. She was placed in different clinics throughout Europe for the next year. After Zelda left the clinic and the Fitzgeralds were just starting to get back on their feet, Zelda suffered yet another breakdown and was admitted to a clinic in Baltimore, Maryland. There she would write her first full-length novel, Save Me the Waltz, a fictional account of her life told through the characters Alabama Beggs and her husband David Knight. After being released, Zelda pursued other hobbies from playwriting to painting, receiving mixed reviews.

In 1940, F. Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack at age 44, and Zelda perished in a fire 4 years later. Although F. Scott Fitzgerald did not publish many books, the ones he did publish are cherished throughout the world. F. Scott Fitzgerald was named after his distant relative Francis Scott Key, who wrote "The Star Spangled Banner," and although they were only cousins 3 times removed, F. Scott Fitzgerald continued the American dream through his books.

Source: Mizener, A. (2018, September 20). F. Scott Fitzgerald. Retrieved from

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