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"I look out at it and I think it is the most beautiful history in the world. . . . It is the history of all aspiration not just the American dream but the human dream and if I came at the end of it that too is a place in the line of the pioneers."
- The Notebooks of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich/Bruccoli Clark, 1978. p. 332
Despite the time he spent in Europe, Fitzgerald remained an intensely American author. He keenly felt his connection to (and place in) American history. This feeling is evident in stories such as "The Swimmers," and in the character of Dick Diver in Tender Is the Night.
Submitted by: Tracy Simmons Bitonti
Although he disparaged his magazine fiction to other writers, Fitzgerald shared perhaps his most revealing evaluation of his stories with only himself:
"The price was high, right up with Kipling, because there was one little drop of something not blood, not a tear, not my seed, but me more intimately than these, in every story, it was the extra I had. Now it has gone and I am just like you now."
- from "Our April Letter," The Notebooks of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald's magazine fiction represented the author's major source of income for most of his career. He published over 160 stories in his lifetime. But he viewed his commercial stories as a drain on the creative energy he required for his novels.
Submitted by Park Bucker
" . . All fine prose is based on the verbs carrying the sentences. A line like "The hare limped trembling through the frozen grass," is so alive that you race through it, scarcely noticing it, yet it has colored the whole poem with its movement — the limping, trembling and freezing is going on before your eyes."
- FSF to Frances Scott Fitzgerald, 1938; qtd. in F. Scott Fitzgerald On Writing, New York: Scribners, 1985, 53.
Fitzgerald used this line from John Keats's "Eve of Saint Agnes" to point out to his daughter Scottie how verbs "make sentences move." Keats had an enduring influence on Fitzgerald's creative sensibility. In a story for The Saturday Evening Post, "Love in the Night" (14 March 1925), Fitzgerald imitated the Keats line: "The limousine crawled crackling down the pebbled drive."
Submitted by: Michael Cody
"For a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate [with] his capacity for wonder."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1925.
Part of what F. Scott Fitzgerald is known for is his love of America. This quotation reflects that love and his strong sense of national pride.
Submitted by: Catherine Lewis
"This somewhat unpleasant tale . . . relates a series of event which took place during the spring of the previous year. Each of these three events made a great impression upon me. In life they were unrelated, except by the general hysteria of that spring, which inaugurated the Age of Jazz, but in my story I have tried, unsuccessfully I fear, to weave them into a pattern — a pattern which would give the effect of those months in New York as they appeared to at least one member of what was then the younger generation"
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tales of the Jazz Age. New York: Scribners, 1922.
When Fitzgerald prepared Tales of the Jazz Age, his second short story collection, he added an annotated table of contents in which he commented on each story. His remarks on "May Day" not only discuss what he was trying to do in the story but also are instructive of Fitzgerald's method of writing social realism.
Submitted by: Robert F. Moss
"It's odd that my old talent for the short story vanished. It was partly that times changed, editors changed, but part of it was tied up somehow with you and me--the happy ending...."
- to Zelda Fitzgerald, October 23, 1940, The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ed. Andrew Turnbull. New York: Scribners, 1963. p. 128.
Submitted by: Mary Sidney Watson
This page updated 28 January 1997.
Copyright 1997, the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.