The classic romantic author Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota, US. Today, fans of the Jazz age writer celebrate his 124th birth anniversary. Author of the cult classic The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald is known for his unique description of the 1920s, which is popularly known as the jazz age. Fitzgerald published 160 short stories in his career which spanned two decades.
Here are some of the prominent works of the American author:
1. This Side of Paradise, 1920: Fitzgerald’s debut novel was an instant success for its depiction of post-World War I era’s newfound prosperity and consumerism in the United States. He wrote the novel when he was 23 and the success of the novel provided him with opportunities at high end literary circles such as Scribner’s, and The Saturday Evening Post magazine.
2. The Beautiful and Damned (1922): In his second novel, Fitzgerald draws inspiration from his married and social life. The book describes the decay of an upper class couple from New York, Anthony and Gloria Patch, as they anticipate an inheritance from the former’s wealthy grandfather. In the meantime, the couple indulges in alcoholism, concupiscence, and adultery. Their degeneration only accelerates after they discover themselves excluded from their patriarch’s will. Some say the novel was a reflection of Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda’s own insecurities about their middle age.
3. The Great Gatsby (1925): He wrote his most famous book after he moved to France with his family. The Parisian life and literary society brought out the best in Fitzgerald who described the American dream in this iconic novel. The romantic protagonist Jay Gatsby’s extravagant parties which also signified his equally lonely life is one of Fitzgerald’s most remembered characters. The novel was also made into a movie starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire
4. Tender Is the Night (1934): Written over the course of a nine year period, this is Fitzgerald’s most mature work. Fitzgerald dealt with his wife Zelda’s road to mental breakdown and his own alcoholism while completing this novel. The story describes the life of a psychiatrist who marries one of his patients, and their degeneration as her mental health exhausts his sanity until he is, in Fitzgerald’s words, un homme épuisé (“a man used up”). The novel is heavily inspired from Zelda’s hospitalization in various Swiss sanatoriums, and explores various themes of mental health and how it affects relationships. It is devoid of heavy romanticism which played major themes in his earlier novels. The novel was not a commercial success at the time of its release, however it has gradually gained prominence among readers now.