The Cambridge Introduction to F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The Cambridge Introduction to

F. Scott Fitzgerald
Although F. Scott Fitzgerald remains one of the most recognizable literary figures of the twentieth century, his legendary life – including his tempestuous romance with his wife and muse Zelda – continues to overshadow his art. However glamorous his image as the poet laureate of the 1920s, he was first and foremost a great writer with a gift for fluid, elegant prose. This introduction reminds readers why Fitzgerald deserves his preeminent place in literary history. It discusses not only his best-known works, The Great Gatsby (1925) and Tender Is the Night (1934), but the full scope of his output, including his other novels and his short stories. This book introduces new readers and students of Fitzgerald to his trademark themes, his memorable characters, his significant plots, the literary modes and genres from which he borrowed, and his inimitable style. k i r k c u r n u t t is Professor of English at Troy UniversityMontgomery. He is vice president of the International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, managing editor of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Review and a board member of the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.

Cambridge Introductions to Literature
This series is designed to introduce students to key topics and authors. Accessible and lively, these introductions will also appeal to readers who want to broaden their understanding of the books and authors they enjoy.

r Ideal for students, teachers, and lecturers r Concise, yet packed with essential information r Key suggestions for further reading Titles in this series: Eric Bulson The Cambridge Introduction to James Joyce John Xiros Cooper The Cambridge Introduction to T. S. Eliot Kirk Curnutt The Cambridge Introduction to F. Scott Fitzgerald Janette Dillon Kevin J. Hayes The Cambridge Introduction to Early English Theatre The Cambridge Introduction to Herman Melville The Cambridge Introduction to Walt Whitman Jane Goldman The Cambridge Introduction to Virginia Woolf David Holdeman The Cambridge Introduction to W. B. Yeats M. Jimmie Killingsworth Wendy Martin John Peters Ronan McDonald The Cambridge Introduction to Samuel Beckett The Cambridge Introduction to Emily Dickinson Peter Messent The Cambridge Introduction to Mark Twain The Cambridge Introduction to Joseph Conrad The Cambridge Introduction to the American Short Story The Cambridge Introduction to English Theatre, 1660–1900 Sarah Robbins The Cambridge Introduction to Harriet Beecher Stowe Martin Scofield Peter Thomson

Janet Todd The Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen

The Cambridge Introduction to

F. Scott Fitzgerald


Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo Cambridge University Press The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York Information on this title: © Kirk Curnutt 2007 This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published in print format 2007 ISBN-13 ISBN-10 ISBN-13 ISBN-10 ISBN-13 ISBN-10 978-0-511-27393-3 eBook (EBL) 0-511-27393-2 eBook (EBL) 978-0-521-85909-7 hardback 0-521-85909-3 hardback 978-0-521-67600-7 paperback 0-521-67600-2 paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


Preface Introduction Chapter 1 Life
Childhood and literary apprenticeship (1896–1917) Zelda and early success (1918–1924) Artistic maturity and personal...
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