The Life of Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896-1940) American novelist, essayist, screenwriter and short-story writer was #BOTD. He is best known for his novels depicting the flamboyance and excess of the Jazz Age (the 1920s) in America. During his lifetime, he published four novels, four collections of short stories, and 164 short stories.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was born into an upper-middle-class family in St. Paul, Minnesota, but grew up in New York. He attended Princeton University but dropped out in 1917 to join the army. While stationed in Alabama, he fell in love with rich socialite Zelda Sayre. Although she initially rejected him due to his financial situation, Zelda agreed to marry Fitzgerald after he published his commercially successful novel This Side of Paradise (1920).

During the 1920s, Fitzgerald frequented Europe, where he was influenced by the modernist writers and artists of the expatriate community, including Ernest Hemingway. His second novel, The Beautiful and Damned (1922), propelled him into the New York elite. To maintain his lifestyle during this time, he wrote several stories for magazines. One of these was “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, first published in 1922.  This story is a satire about aging, the strange and haunting story of Benjamin Button who is born as an old man and ages backwards so that at the end of his life he is a baby. The story was later adapted for film (2008) and a stage musical 2019.

Fitzgerald’s third novel, The Great Gatsby (1925), was inspired by his rise to fame and relationship with Zelda. Although it received mixed reviews when published, The Great Gatsby is now widely praised and has been adapted for film and television several times.

The next decade of the Fitzgerald’s life was disorderly and unhappy, and his private life was almost as celebrated as his novels. But when Zelda was placed at a mental institute for her schizophrenia, Fitzgerald managed to complete his final novel, Tender Is the Night (1934).

Faced with financial difficulties due to the declining popularity of his works, Fitzgerald turned to Hollywood, writing and revising screenplays. He died in 1940, at the age of 44 after a long struggle with alcoholism. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon (1941), was published after Fitzgerald’s death.

Although he temporarily achieved popular success and fortune in the 1920s, Fitzgerald only received wide critical and popular acclaim after his death and is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.

Find out about F. Scott Fitzgerald and his life
Trace F. Scott Fitzgerald’s roots in Minnesota
Explore places in New York where you can live like it’s still the roaring 20s
Discover eight hotels on the French Riviera where F. Scott Fitzgerald and his family took vacation:
View manuscripts and scrapbooks by F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald held by the Princeton University Digital Library:

Our eBook and eAudiobook platforms are perfect avenues to explore those classic books by F. Scott Fitzgerald and other authors that you may not have had the opportunity to read:

Bolinda BorrowBox

Post author: Rhonda Brooks

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