F. Scott Fitzgerald neglected his studies at school and college because he was occupied with his literary apprenticeship. He was learning his craft by writing, and courses in mathematics or chemistry offered him nothing he needed to become a great writer.
His first appearance in print was "The Mystery of the Raymond Mortgage," published in the St. Paul Academy Now and Then in October 1909 when he was thirteen. His first story in the Newman News was "A Luckless Santa Claus" (Christmas 1912), which introduces the subject of a young man committed to an adventure for the sake of love.
At Princeton he wrote abundantly for The Nassau Literary Magazine and The Princeton Tiger, the humor magazine, as well as providing the lyrics for three Triangle Club shows. His Lit stories improved steadily, with the last two, "Sentiment- -And the Use of Rouge" (June 1917) and "The Pierian Springs and the Last Straw" (October 1917) achieving mature treatment of love and sexual force. Fitzgerald also served a poetic apprenticeship in the Lit; "Princeton--The Last Day" (May 1917) and "Marching Streets" (February 1919) are two of his best. "The Staying Up All Night" (10 November 1917) is a specimen of Fitzgerald's many contributions--credited and uncredited--in The Tiger.
Fitzgerald had seventy-four identified appearances in school and college publications before he turned professional in 1919. He got what he needed and wanted from Princeton; but it happened outside classrooms.
This page updated 9 April 1997.
Copyright 1997, the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.