Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born
on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul,
Minnesota to an Irish Catholic middle
He was a novelist, short story writer
and a poet.
When he was 12 he wrote a detective
story which was published in the
In 1913 he enrolled at Princeton
University where he became friends
with Edmund Wilson John Peale
Bishop who who became future
After graduating in 1917 from
Princeton, Fitzgerald enlisted in the
US navy during WWI, however the war
shortly ended after he enlisted.
He married his “golden girl”, Zelda
Sayre in 1919. In 1921 their daughter
Frances was born.
Fitzgerald’s work is mostly
influenced by the 1920’s or the
“roaring twenties” a time when
Americans enjoyed a period of
Many of his writings include his
wife’s personality, and personal
statements from diaries and
Fitzgerald had a drinking
problem which attributed to his
These financial troubles led
Fitzgerald to Hollywood where
he wrote short commercial
scripts and wrote his fifth and
On December 21, 1940
Fitzgerald died of a heart attack. Hollywood in the 1920’s
While attending Princeton
University, Fitzgerald wrote
scripts for the Princeton Triangle
Club, a theater troupe. He often
abandoned his studies to focus
on writing, his true passion,
which led him to be placed on
academic probation. Because of
this, he decided to join the army.
During his time in war, he wrote
“The Romantic Egotist.” After he
was discharged in 1919, he went
on to write “This Side of
Paradise”, which made him
become known worldwide by
many readers. Fitzgerald wanted
to be considered as a serious
writer, but his “playboy” and
lavish lifestyle prevented critics
from fully lauding his works.
His writings often reflected his autobiographical
experiences in life, including his wife’s mental
breakdowns and their overall turbulent
relationship. In The Great Gatsby, the main
character, Jay Gatsby lives a life analogous to
Fitzgerald’s. They both went to opulent parties and
led greedy and reckless lives. Additionally,
Fitzgerald often wrote of the futility of the lives of
the rich and famous. In The Crack-Up (1936),
Fitzgerald wrote a collection of essays and letters
that mainly described his troubled life at the time.
The Great Gatsby is often
considered "The Great
American Novel.“ Fitzgerald's
masterpiece captures the
essence of the "Jazz Age" and
the "Roaring Twenties", but
also embeds timeless themes
and ideals through brilliant
literary artistry and a
controlled narrative point of
view. He focuses on human
nature, more specifically the
quest for love, the hunger
for wealth, as well as the
infatuation with social
Fitzgerald revealed that he
wanted to "write something
extraordinary and beautiful
and simple and intricately
patterned.“ In the last year
of his life he wrote to his
daughter, "I wish now I'd
never relaxed or looked
back - but said at the end
of 'The Great Gatsby': I've
found my line - from now
on this comes first. This is
my immediate duty -
without this I am nothing.'"
Bryant Mangum, "The Great Gatsby," Encyclopedia of the Novel, ed. Paul
Schellinger, London and Chicago: Fitzroy-Dearborn, 1998, pp. 514-515.
Reprinted with permission of Fitzroy-Dearborn Publishers.
“F. Scott Fitzgerald.” 2006. American Society of Authors and Writers.
< http://amsaw.org/amsaw-ithappenedinhistory-092403-fitzgerald.html >.
“F. Scott Fitzgerald.” 2009. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 15 October 2009
< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F_Scott_Fitzgerald >.
Merriman. “F. Scott Fitzgerald – Biography and Works.” 2007. The Literature Network
< http://www.online-literature.com/fitzgerald/ >.
New York Times, "Gatsby, 35 Years Later" by Arthur Mizener.
The Washington Post, " 'Gatsby': The Greatest of Them All" by Jonathan