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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald ()
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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald

 

(1896-1940)

 

 

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, one of the most outstanding

 

American writers of the lost generation, was born in St. Paul,

 

Minnesota, in the family of unsuccessful businessman. Yet the

 

money, inherited from Fitzgeralds grandfarther, a wealthy gro-

 

cer, enabled him to attend Princeton, a university for well to

 

 

do Americans. The cult of success, popular at Princeton, lies at

 

the basis of Fitzgerald dual attitude to the rich. Influenced by

the spirit of competition ruling at the University, he tried to

join the most fashionable and respectable students clubs, enjoying

their carefree, aristocratic, idle atmosphere. He was fascinated by

the independence, privileges and elegance that money gave. Money gave

style and ease and beauty. Poverty was mean, gray and narrow. It is much

later that he found out the falseness of his belief.

 

Fitzgerald left Princeton without a degree because of

illness

 

and poor grades. However, his literary career started at the

University. He wrote pieces for the The Tiger, the university

 

magazine, and contributed texts to several campus variety shows.

 

In 1917, he joined the army as a second lieutenant. All

his

 

life he regretted the fact that he spent his time in service

in American training camps and was never sent to the war in

Europe.

 

His major novels appeared from 1920 to 1934: This side of

Paradise (1920) , The Beautiful and Damned (1922) , The

Great Gatsby (1925) and Tender is the Night (1934). Fitzgeralds

best stories have been collected in four volumes:

 

Flappers and Philosophers (1920), Tales of Jazz Age (1922),

 

All the Sad Young Men (1926) and Taps at Reveille (1925).

 

The main theme of almost all Fitzgeralds fiction is the

attraction and the corrupting force of money. Once he said to

 

Hemingway , The very rich are different from you and me. And

when Hemingway made a remark , Yes, they have more money , he

did not understand the joke. He thought that they were a special

glamorous race and only gradually, moving from one painful

revelation to another, as his work progressed, he found out

their corruption, inhumanity, spiritual emptiness and futility. He

found it out together with his heroes who are largely

autobiographical.

 

Fitzgerald is the first American author to portray the

lost generation, a generation, for whom all the battles have

been

 

fought and all the gods were dead. The young generation has

 

no ideals to uphold against the corruption of the rich. They

are empty people afraid of poverty and idolizing richness,

trying to fill their spiritual void with all kinds of wild

entertainments.

 

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